19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It would be even funnier if it weren't so tragic
You might think this book is funny. Yes, Michael Moore does his best, but the subject is too serious, the stories too unbelievable to make you laugh.
Here's an example. There are two pictures on the first page. The first is the federal building in Oklahoma City destroyed by Timothy McVeigh's bomb in 1995. The second is an extremely similar picture, in fact it could be...
Published on 25 Feb 2003 by Norberto Amaral
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a fan
I was a Michael Moore fan for a while. Bowling for Columbine was an interesting documentary, amongst others. Overall though I find him irritating. His self richeous indignation against the American government is tiresome. This book is once again a recycling of the same left wing whingy opinions as his other works.
Published on 31 Mar 2010 by Ms. G. L. Richards
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It would be even funnier if it weren't so tragic,
Here's an example. There are two pictures on the first page. The first is the federal building in Oklahoma City destroyed by Timothy McVeigh's bomb in 1995. The second is an extremely similar picture, in fact it could be the same building a few moments later, what used to be a General Motors office building in Flint, Michigan. A single question above the pictures: "What is terrorism?".
Many of us have been asking ourselves this question lately. As Moore points out, terrorism can be of a corporate nature. When corporations across the US were making record profits they were downsizing millions of people, effectively moving their jobs elsewhere, usually to either Mexico (courtesy of NAFTA) or the Far East, where labour is much cheaper. However, this policy causes many problems to the society, much more than 'simple' unemployment.
These days corporations merrily take all public subsidies they are offered and don't give a flying rat about giving anything back to the community. In fact, many make a point of not minding that at all. Moore names many companies that keep the money and still leave the place where they had promised to stay. Others get so much money that the overall cost of each direct job is a small fortune. That's the case of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, where each job was subsidised by about US$175,000. I could understand such a level of subsidies to a company making small and environmentally friendly cars, for poorer people. What I can't understand is how such a poor state (in comparison with others) is paying for people to have their luxury cars, that pollute like there's no tomorrow. This smells bad - literally.
Another example. In the following two pages Moore compiled a list of 17 steps of an "Etiquette of Downsizing". "Have kleenex ready" and "remain calm and try not to display any emotion" are only two of the most hypocritical ones.
The rest of the book follows only too easily. From making you feel like you wanna blow up something (I resisted!), to exposing how stupid some obscure congressmen are, to direct attacks on Orange County (yes, all of the Republican voters there), Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole, the US two-party (two twins) political system, bigots (read Pat Buchanan and Newt Gringrich), zealots, you name it.
Two low points on this book. First, Michael Moore said it was great having Madeleine Albright, a citizen from former Czechoslovakia, in the US. She was the same person who said 500.000 dead Iraqi children were 'worth it'. Beast of a woman, she would have made a wonderful toilet attendant, if her colleagues could tolerate her. Second, Mikhail Gorbachev did NOT pull down the Berlin wall. If anything, he was overtaken by events.
Still, this book is a breath of fresh air, mixing humour and american politics. It's only a shame he is not as mainstream as he deserves.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Moore Polemics,
I'm not sure that even Moore believes everything he writes but he always has a point. The result is an enjoyable, interesting, often stimulating but most importantly funny book.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moore does attempt to be humorous with his staple subjects,
Moore does attempt to be humorous with his staple subjects: corporate greed and accountability, right to freedom/life and social and environmental responsibility. Like Stupid White Men the book makes subjects accessible that are often not covered by mainstream media.
If Stupid White Men has made you think about reading more then this is a good start if you're happy to have many more American examples as the main topic. If you're looking for something a little more British then this is not the book for you.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moore At His Best,
It can be seen from this mighty tome that Moore's main strength is being the new, less funny and far more wealthy Bill Hicks. The really sad thing is that what Bill saw fit to comment on hasn't changed much with Moore. A chapter stating comedically that the Democrats are no different to the Republicans still rings true today nearly a decade after it was written.
Sometimes, though, Moore's humour adds little genuine weight to his arguments. His ironic defence of abortion, A Sperm's Right To Life, attempts to make light out of a serious subject and falls short of its target.
This is a minor problem and I feel that a book with thirty-five chapters of American satirical content has much to offer all readers, not just us evil lefties.
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but lets itself down in places,
By A Customer
39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAKE UP BRITAIN,
Michael Moore must be the only American who stands up for the working man back in his homeland.
The book's opening page shows the destruction cause by terrorism.
Now you would think these would be done by overseas terrorists - but you'd be wrong these acts were done by Americans one by Timothy McVeigh and the other by the General Motors Corporation in his hometown of Flint Michigan.
Moore argues the actions are both the same as well as the consequences.
The running theme throughout the book is the effect of Corporations have on American society - from massive redundancies dressed up in corporate speak as 'Downsizing', welfare recieved by these corporations, huge salaries paid to CEO's without justification.
Exporting of factories and jobs to the Far East and Mexico under NAFTA.
Moore describes the effects these factors have on communities. Increase in unemployment,physical and mental health problems, bankrupticies and increases in alcoholisim.
Towns and cities broken all in the name of captialism. After a few chapters the feeling of nausea came over me. Captialisim has no morals.
Moore as always is a born fighter so what does he do he exposing these 'Corporate Crooks' by seeting up a trading card game ( brilliant!)for who they are uncaring and yes crooks many of their companies have been fined heavily by the US government for deaths, lying about tests, false claims etc.
The book has it's lighter chapters e.g. Moore delights in telling the reader his fantasy woman Hilary Clinton.
He doesn't understand why she suffers attacks from the liberal media especially a New York Times columnist.
How the Republicans are literally foaming at the mouth in condemming her. All crazy you might say but Moore quotes these guys and it makes for sickening reading. Hilary Clinton is a stunning woman and very intelligent and has supported her husband through some tough times and doesn't deserve the vile and spite aimed at her.
Ohter chapters include showing how OJ Simpson was stiched up by the LA police. Dumping on Orange County etc.]
Some of the chapters do lack substance and seem to be written without much research or thought e.g. Germany should pay it's dues - criticises Germany for rebuilding into a economic powerhouse equalling that of the USA, Moore gets angry about this but forgets that America invested heavily after the 2nd World War in rebuilding Germany.
The best of Moore is the Cuban chapter. describing the laughable attempts of coups by Miami Cubans desperatley trying and failing spectacularly to overthrow Castro.
The book shows we all need to get a grip of these corporations and make them accountable to their local communities.
Making them pay big time if they shut factories.
WAKE UP BRITAIN THIS IS HAPPENING HERE !!!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you work hard and the company prospers, you lose your job,
This review is from: Downsize This (Paperback)Of course, this book is partly out-of-date. It covers mainly the Clinton years. But the issues it tackles are still very actual.
- the unemployment issue: Manpower is still the number one US employer and corporate downsizing continues unabatingly
- the salary issue: worker's salaries are still less today in real dollar terms than in 1979
- the CEO salary issue: a CEO earns 212 times more than an average worker
- the healthcare issue: more than 40 million US citizens cannot afford healthcare insurance
- the voting issue: why is only a small part of the US population voting?
- the abortion issue: 'outlawing abortion would mean a return to the good old dirty, unsafe days of illegal abortion'
- the corporate representation issue: few blacks or workers
- the race and affirmative action issue: still necessary
- the immigration issue: all US citizens are descendants of immigrants
- the corporate fraud issue: Enron and Co
- the welfare v. Aid to Dependent Corporations issue
and most amazing of all, 'the balanced budget issue', proposed by the Reps. But once in office, the Reps digged enormous holes in the budget by offering heavy tax cuts to the super-wealthy!
However, Michael Moore committed also a colossal blunder: 'Democrat? Republican? Can you tell the Difference?'
That Michael Moore's voice is terribly feared by the wealthy, the powerful, the conservatives and the religious right, is mercilessly exposed in the excellent movie 'This divided State' by Steven Greenstreet.
We need his vitriolic voice.
16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious,
By A Customer
This review is from: Downsize This (Paperback)Moore attacks everything going and does it in such a way it still brings a smile to my face years after I first read it. We owe him a great deal of thanks that he puts pen to paper because without him the world would not be nearly so funny a place to live.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleaving his way through Mega Corps Marketing,
By A Customer
This review is from: Downsize This (Paperback)Michael Moore has produced a great book... from the humble beginnings of his unemploy from his empolyer GM in Flint Michigan, Michael continues his rather loose satirical theme from Screen to Print.
I kind of anti Tom Peters, he exposes rarities such as prisoners working on AT&Ts customer care help lines, sweat shops working children so that we can wear expensive Nike's.
Time to open you eyes and see some of the horrible truths behind the brands!
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mike takes Corporate Ameirca head on!,
The book is immensely insightful and indicting, capturing the leaders of the U.S., literally, with their pants down.
Corporate politics, two-way conducts to cooperatives and struggling citizens, behind-the-scenes segregation and other wrong doings of Corporate America are only few of the issues Mike takes head on in his hysterically funny, diverse and immensely outspoken first book.
A must read and a true insight.
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Downsize This by Michael Moore (Paperback - 1 Jun 1998)
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