Michael Moore on UM-Flint Campus via Skype

Uploaded by umflint1 on 28.03.2012

John Girdwood: This is my first semester teaching at U of M-Flint and the class is SOC 354 Family
Sociology or Family and Society. We have a special guest uh, Skype in, Michael Moore,
a friend of mine only via Twitter, so I've never actually had a discourse with him. We're
gonna put him up on the big screen and the students are going to be able to ask questions
to him throughout the class about his upbringing and his new book "Here Comes Trouble" about
his childhood in Davison. Alright, cool, technology worked. Okay, so, I did want to give a brief
introduction about why I thought it was appropriate to get Mr. Moore in to today to speak with
us. Number 1, he has written a new book called "Here Comes Trouble". "Here Comes Trouble"
talks about his childhood in Davison, mentions his parents and family, his grandparents,
some racial interactions, talks about his father and his father's political influence
on him, that I have a quote in your handout, his father's occupational background and how
that may have influenced Mr. Moore's development into what he is today, influence also on education
through both his father, his mother, his grandparents, his friends, any siblings, we'll talk about
that. I also want to tell a very small story about myself, a little antecode about why
I think this is important for you to absorb here in an academic setting. When I was nine
years old, my grandma and grandpa brought home a VHS videotape and we had to find somebody
with a player. I think my uncle who was an attorney was the only one with a VHS back
then. We pop in the tape because they were on it. We watch about 45 minutes of this video.
Remember I'm nine years old. And there for one and a half seconds is a newspaper clipping
with my grandma and grandpa in it, at a church, shaking the hand of Pat Boone. I had no idea
who that was. I watched the movie. And then it sat on our shelf until I had nothing better
to do when I was nine besides play baseball, basketball. I watched this movie. I watched
it over and over. Well this movie turned out to be "Roger and Me". And as a nine year old,
really absorbent sponge you know, watching that material, I was in Lansing, it was about
Flint and GM. There were GM factories in Lansing. It really had an impact on me, so much so
that 23 years later in a sociology professor and I'm showing that video and other Mike
Moore videos in my classes cause they're very relevant. The hold relevance today. And when
I was an undergrad at Western Michigan my professor in a, I believe it was a religion
class, showed "Roger and Me". So I got to relive that experience again. The material
that Mr. Moore presents is very sociological, whether it's his film or his new book. Because
his new book was related so closely to family and influence and our local community, Davison
and Flint, I thought what better and what more exciting than having me lecture again
to you but to throw him up on the screen and see what he has to say. We'll get it first
hand. So without futher ado, Michael Moore's new book "Here Comes Trouble" and here comes
Michael Moore. Michael Moore: So I guess I'll just, I'll
give you a little bit about my background and growing up in Flint and Davison and then
I'm really happy to open up for questions, sooner rather than later even if that's what
you'd like to do. Shelby Yeary: My name is Shelby Yeary and
first of all I just want to thank you for actually coming and talking to us. But to
sort of go a little bit of a tangent, sort of going back to your childhood. Cause we've
talked a lot in this class about the American dream and the concept of that and everything.
And I was just wondering if growing up you were given any sort of concept of the American
dream that you should aspire to and also if you think if that's something that is attainable
for people or if that's really an existing concept now a days.
Michael Moore: That's a good question. Um, yeah, when I grew up, it was very clear that
if you worked hard and the company prospered as a result of your hard work, you would prosper.
So all of our dads, who none of them had a college education, but were able to work in
a factory that had a union, which meant that they got a good wage. We had health benefits.
A family could be raised on one income. You could buy a house, buy two cars, you could
buy a cabin up north, you could send your kids to college. All of this on one income.
So I was raised with the belief that if you just go out and work hard, you could do well
in this country. Clearly, that's not that case anymore and I think that has really changed.
And you know, I'm curious how that has affected your generation. Because, because when I was
sitting in those desks when I went to Flint U of M and I only went for a year and a half
there. But um, you know, none of us had any question that we would have a really good
job when we got out. That we wouldn't even have to look for one cause there were so many
to be had and it would pay really well. So you don't have that. And I've often thought
about how you guys must feel that my generation, your parents generation, the 60s and 70s generation,
that we're gonna change the world and we were gonna make the world a better place and had
you this wonderful world. We actually handed you a worse world with a lot of insecurity
and anxiety and not the American dream that's so easily attainable anymore.
Tiyanna MacNear: My name is Tiyanna MacNear. I'd like to add that I live in Davison, Michigan.
But I wanted to know what is your take on the Trayvon Martin story?
Michael Moore: My take on it is that the man who shot him should have been arrested. And
um, I think it's a very sad situation. Uh, that you know, I think you know, if you're
an African American man in this country, you still have to walk and talk and be a certain
way so that certain people are not afraid of you or so that the cops don't stop you
and it's I think the Trayvon Martin thing just shows us that we really still have some
ways to go with this. It also shows, regarding guns, that they have really stupid law in
Florida. We have a version of it in Michigan too where you can shot first and ask questions
later and that's really sick. So as much as I am upset that the man who killed him has
not been arrested, I'm probably more upset that the National Rifle Association and the
former governor, Jeff Bush, who passed this law, who got this law passed that allows people
like George Zimmerman to just shoot somebody like he did Trayvon Martin. Let me ask you
this. Do you think, do you think, a similar thing could happen in Davison that happened
there in Florida if a young black kid with a hoodie on at night was in a neighborhood.
Do you think it would be just as likely to happen in Davison as it did in Florida?
Tiyanna MacNear: Actually, I don't think so because like you said, it used to be like
really racist in Davison. I mean where I stay, it is like 99% white people and I probably
make up the 1% black people, but um, they're real friendly and nice and welcoming and they
don't make me feel like they look at skin color if they do. And it's kind of crazy because
they actually like give us more privileges so it seem like they feel like they have to
show us extra tender love and care or whatever. Michael Moore: Yeah, that was that way when
I was in high, when I went to Davison High School. There were like 5 or 6 black kids
and they were the most popular kids in school. Everybody loved them. It's easy not be afraid
when you're only 1% of the population. I don't know what it would be like if Davison was
1/3 black. It might be different. But I think Davison has changed though. As the older generations
die off and the younger generations grow up, they grow up less racist. So I think that,
I think things are better. I noticed just the voting patterns in Davison, Davison usually
votes for the democrat who's running. That was not the case when I grew up. Davison always
voted for the republican. So I do think that demographic has changed.
John Girdwood: On behalf of myself and hopefully the rest of the class, I'd just like to give
you a round of applause and thank you for coming. All right, thanks very much and now
I'm gonna leave the computer up and if you want to give him some parting shots or words.
Thanks Mr. Moore!