Michael Moore and the DIY Spirit

  • Michael Moore and the DIY Spirit
    Michael Moore was in town last night on his DIY-ish book tour for Stupid White Men and, of course, talked about how much trouble it was to get the book published in the first place, and how, then, his publisher refused to fund a real book tour (I believe the tour he’s on now is self-financed, someone correct me if I’m wrong). He was also up on some of the local scene here, like the debate over the U of I’s racist mascot and the fact that the local Dem’s aren’t even running a candidate against our slimy Republican representative Tim Johnson — so our local Greens are running a candidate instead. Moore talked up the local Greens and urged them to circulate the auditorium for petition signatures.

    I mention Moore’s visit here because I think he serves as a good example of how DIY-media might be done. While now he certainly plays in the arena of corporate media — he relies in them to publish his books, distribute his films and broadcast his TV shows — he still carries that DIY ethic with him in those endeavors. His first film, Roger and Me, was certainly not a studio venture (even if it did eventually get studio distribution). His advice to the audience — mostly college students — was to be active and stick by your guns, telling us “I don’t give a shit, I never have.”

    It’s not that he doesn’t give a shit about anything at all. It’s that he hasn’t given a shit about other people’s expectations of him and what he does, which has helped him succeed at doing things his way. I think that’s a crucial thing to keep in mind when doing your media. The opinions and advice of other people whom you trust can be useful and helpful in finding your way, but they shouldn’t take the place of your own ideas and path. The opinions of people you don’t like and/or don’t trust should just be ignored, because you can be damn sure they don’t give a shit about you.

    A short video excerpt from Moore’s talk is up at the Urbana IMC site. There’s also a short article. I understand that more audio is forthcoming.

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