January 24th, 2006

Joan Baez: Michael Moore groupie

You may think them an odd couple. But Joan Baez seems quite taken with Michael Moore.

Clive Davis led me to this recent Guardian interview with Baez, in which she mentions how the existence of Moore somehow keeps her from losing faith (I have to say it doesn’t quite do the same for me):

People say, ‘Oh, Miss Baez, how do you keep up your optimism?’ And I say, ‘I never had any. I was way too smart. I’m a realist.’ And they look shocked and hurt, because they’re depending on me to say something that’ll make them feel better.” She giggles again. “I have hope in people, in individuals. Because you don’t know what’s going to rise from the ruins. I mean, Michael Moore – where did he come from? This big, floppy, fat, strange man, who makes these unbelievable films saying exactly how it is. You think when you see that, how can anyone possibly vote for Bush? After seeing what a hypocritical, lying bastard he is?”

It seems odd to me (no doubt that’s my optimism and naivete showing) that so many are still taken in by Moore’s lies. And I’m a bit puzzled as to why Baez thinks Moore’s emergence such a mystery. It’s relatively easy to know where Moore comes from—just read up on him at the many websites devoted to the pursuit of Moore lore. If Baez did, maybe even she would come to the conclusion that Moore is less.

But I sometimes underestimate the force of propaganda, of which Moore is a master. It leads to the quoted Orwellian utterance by Ms. Baez, who does not see that “hypocritical, lying bastard” would be an excellent descriptor of her “big, floppy, fat, strange” (her words, not mine) hero.

To be kind to Ms. Baez, I was impressed by the photo accompanying the Guardian article. Unless it’s been airbrushed to the hilt, I have to say the lady looks good, especially considering her stated age: 65.

Baez, sixty-five. It’s sobering–to her, too, apparently. The article quotes Baez during a recent Somerville, Massachusetts performance:

“When did we get so old?” she cried, to huge cheers.

Well, speak for yourself, Joan, I’m nowhere near as old as you. So there!

But on a more serious note, my answer to Joan might be: when we stopped changing and learning. When we got stuck in a 60s mentality that didn’t take into account new information. When we placed on our cars bumper stickers such as yours, reading (according to the Guardian article): Iraq is the Arabic for Vietnam

Ah, Vietnam! Those were the days, my friend, we are determined that they’ll never end. Here’s Joan again:

If they’re honest with themselves, says Baez, veterans of the peace movement, of the war itself or of any great struggle for social change must admit that for all the woes they suffered, there is a terrible anticlimax when it ends. “Afterwards looking back, it is inevitably the high point of your life. You know that from soldiers, who tell their story over and over. I’ve heard that even the Vietnamese were depressed.”

Even the Vietnamese were depressed. But maybe, just maybe, they—unlike you, Joan—were/are depressed not because the glory days are over, but because the Communists won.

39 Responses to “Joan Baez: Michael Moore groupie”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    You used to call yourself a liberal. But things changed after 9/11…

    God help us! Another “enlightened” soul!

    I mourned for the losses of 9/11..

    But for us people who have been living in the middle east for the past 20 years…Your numbers were not impressive at all..its so common here in this part of the world, thousands dying…boooring!

    Excuse me if I sound ignorant to suffering, its just that we got numb a bit, see?

    Before you were “enlightened”…I wish you would just lift your head, open your eyes and try to understand what your governments have been doing for the past couple of decades…

    Yeah, it was Iraq who attacked the WTC!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Most people, when they encounter 9/11 skeptics for the first time, assume that most members of the 911 truth movement would be drawn from the left of center politically. In fact, most of the strongest and most respected voices speaking about 911 truth are conservatives– old-school republicans who speak out of a profound respect for the truth, the constitution and the rule of law. For example:

    Paul Craig Roberts

    Paul Craig Roberts was the assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury under Ronald Reagan where he developed the theory of economics that came to be called “Reaganomics.”. Dr. Roberts is Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review.

    Here is what Paul Craig Robert has to say about 9/11:

    “I haven’t looked at it very close, but I did go to Georgia Tech and I did learn some physics and I know enough physics to know that it is strictly impossible for those buildings to collapse in their own footprint, at free-fall speed except under controlled demolition. Those buildings did not come down the way the 9-11 report says. It is strictly impossible, in fact, it’s a total, the account in the 911 report is a total contradiction to the laws of physics”.

    Listen to the entire interview at ElectricPolitics .com (here)

    http://www.electricpolitics.com/podcast/2006/02/post.html

    Morgan Reynolds

    Morgan Reynolds, Ph.D., is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University and former director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis headquartered in Dallas, TX. He served as chief economist for the US Department of Labor during George W. Bush’s first term.

    Here is what Morgan Reynolds has to say about 9/11:

    “There is special import in the fact of free-fall collapse…, if only because everyone agrees that the towers fell at free-fall speed. This makes pancake collapse with one floor progressively falling onto the floor below an unattractive explanation. Progressive pancaking cannot happen at free-fall speed (“g” or 9.8 m/s2). Free-fall would require “pulling” or removing obstacles below before they could impede (slow) the acceleration of falling objects from above. Sequenced explosions, on the other hand, explain why the lower floors did not interfere with the progress of the falling objects above. The pancake theory fails this test.
    If we put the murder of 2,749 innocent victims momentarily aside, the only unusual technical feature of the collapses of the twin towers was that the explosions began at the top, immediately followed by explosions from below. WTC-7, by contrast, was entirely conventional, imploding from bottom up.” (read his paper)

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/reynolds/reynolds12.html

    Ray McGovern

    Ray McGovern had a 27-year career with the CIA as an analyst, spanning the administrations of JFK to GHW Bush. His duties included chairing National Intelligence Estimates and preparing the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). During the mid-eighties, Ray was one of the senior analysts conducting early morning briefings of the PDB one-on-one with the Vice President, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

    Here is what Ray McGovern has to say about 9/11:

    “There are real doubts in my mind whether they [Cheney and Rumsfield] clue the president in on some very serious things, 9/11 for example… a lot of bizarre stuff going on there… very troubling. What can be more telling than the fact that the president was unwilling to see the commissioners alone, he had to have Cheney with him… that’s not symbiosis, that’s making sure we’ve got our stories straight.”

    Listen to the entire interview at ElectricPolitics .com (here)

    http://www.electricpolitics.com/podcast/2006/01/interview_with_ray_mcgovern.html

    Prof. Steven E. Jones

    Steven E. Jones is a professor of physics at Brigham Young University who conducts research in nuclear fusion and solar energy. Jones has also investigated the hypothesis that the World Trade Center Twin Towers and WTC 7, which all collapsed nearly symmetrically on September 11, 2001, were brought down by pre-positioned explosives. Professor Jones describes himself as a life-long Republican who voted for President Bush in 2000.

    Here is what Professor Jones has to say about 9/11:

    “I have called attention to glaring inadequacies in the “final” reports funded by the US government. I have also presented multiple evidences for an alternative hypothesis. In particular, the official theory lacks repeatability in that no actual models or buildings (before or since 9-11-01) have been observed to completely collapse due to the proposed fire-based mechanisms. On the other hand, dozens of buildings have been completely and symmetrically demolished through the use of pre-positioned explosives. And high-temperature chemical reactions can account for the observed large pools of molten metal, under both Towers and WTC 7, and the sulfidation of structural steel. The controlled- demolition hypothesis cannot be dismissed as “junk science” because it better satisfies tests of repeatability and parsimony. It ought to be seriously (scientifically) investigated and debated”. (read his paper)

    http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html

    Stanley Hilton

    The following lawsuit was filed by Bob Dole’s Chief of Staff, Stanley Hilton, against the Bush Administration for crimes against the American people by orchestrating 9/11.

    A former theoretical and nuclear physicist, Dr. Hilton wrote his thesis at University of Chicago on how the government could use terrorist attacks to set up martial law, entitled How to create a Presidential Dictatorship under Pretense of National Emergency. Hilton has personally known top Bush administration officials for decades, including Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. He graduated Chicago Magna Cum Laude in 1971. he attend a year of graduate school in Poliitical Science at University of Chicago (1971-72) in the PhD Program, and published a thesis entitled, “The Case for Atomic War as a Vehicle to World Domination.”

    The Lawsuit:

    http://www.911review.org/Wiki/StanleyHiltonLawsuit.shtml

    The Complaint:

    http://www.911review.org/Wiki/StanleyHiltonComplaint.shtml

    David Ray Griffin

    David Ray Griffin is professor emeritus at the Claremont School of Theology, where he taught for over 30 years (retiring in 2004). He has authored or edited over two dozen books, including “God and Religion in the Postmodern World,” “Religion and Scientific Naturalism,” recently he has written several papers and two books about 9/11; “The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11.” And “The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions”

    Here is what David Ray Griffin has to say about 9/11:

    “It is, in any case, already possible to know, beyond a reasonable doubt, one very important thing: the destruction of the World Trade Center was an inside job, orchestrated by domestic terrorists. Foreign terrorists could not have gotten access to the buildings to plant the explosives. They probably would not have had the courtesy to make sure that the buildings collapsed straight down, rather than falling over onto surrounding buildings. And they could not have orchestrated a cover-up, from the quick disposal of the steel to the FEMA Report to The 9/11 Commission Report to the NIST Report. All of these things could have been orchestrated only by forces within our own government”. (read his paper)

    http://911review.com/articles/griffin/nyc1.html

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I know I am coming to this very late, but I just couldn’t not say SOMETHING here. For all her many, many flaws, at least Joan Baez is consistent and sincere in her belief in human rights. She has put her money, her effort, and her time where her mouth is. She has been equally willing to criticize left AND right-wing regimes who have violated human rights, and, in fact, that got her in hot water with a lot of leftist 70′s moonbats. They refused to see the evil in communist regimes. Joan Baez not only acknowledged it, she actively confronted it(see her humanitas organization and her letter to North Vietnam).

    How many of you can say that? Most people talk about their convictions, but do nothing about them.

    I am probably wasting my breath here. You people (boomers) need to get over the 60′s and the 70′s. Whole generations of people have grown up with a very different world view. Yet, so many of you are still clinging to that era, one way or another, either by staying in the hippie mindset or revolting completely against it. So, basically, anger at her for being an old fart who is still obsessed with the 60s is pretty hypocritical coming from other old farts who are obsessed with the 60s.

    Z

  4. Bezuhov Says:

    “People say, ‘Oh, Miss Baez, how do you keep up your optimism?’ And I say, ‘I never had any. I was way too smart. I’m a realist.’

    How arrogant.”

    It’s that, but in an interesting and pervasive way. Its interesting, because, historically, it would be considered a very “right-wing” sentiment, but has somehow become “left-wing” today. How did that happen?

    Why would so many rather be wrong than naive? And how did this very reactionary attitude come to be considered at all progressive?

    I’m very curious about this question.

  5. forgetfulmuse Says:

    People say, ‘Oh, Miss Baez, how do you keep up your optimism?’ And I say, ‘I never had any. I was way too smart. I’m a realist.’

    How arrogant.

  6. Roy Lofquist Says:

    Lighten up! Listen to her a capella rendition of “Tears of Rage”. Brilliant! You folks are like those who won’t listen to Wagner because of politics. Or listen to Garrison Keillor, the wittiest guy since Bennett Cerf. Take your political blinders off and realize that you are depriving yourself of the ecstacy of listening to great talent.

    p.s., My first vote was for Goldwater. My heroes are Eisenhower, Reagan and Bush 43.

  7. chuck Says:

    Give me a good photog, a makeup artist, a hair person, control of the lighting, and somebody who poses the way I tell them to pose and I can take twenty or more years off of anyone.

    I think the Guardian photo is actually a bit overdone. On close inspection it looks masklike and the eyes peeking out are on the creepy side. Better, I think, to have had Joan look closer to her age and softened enough to look like a benevolent grandmother. It would have lent her greater authority.

  8. Van der Leun Says:

    On the Guardian photo of Joan Baez:

    Here’s how you learn to look good in a photo of you in your later years.

    Wrinkles will abound as will the effects of gravity on the face in general. You will tend to be wizened and have, even if ever so slightly, more than one chin.

    A good makeup artist can handle the wrinkles, as can, as we see in Baez’s portrait, a slight softening of the focus from the photographer or in photoshop. You also learn, as we see in the photo, not to pose head on into the camera but to give the camera your best side — and, yes, you learn which side that is.

    You handle gravity with the hands and press them to your face in such a way that it appears you are either pondering or being wistful. This both pulls up and masks the secondary chins at the same time.

    Do all this and have the confidence that the photo editor at the paper loves you (If you are liberal he will) and you get nice photos in the press that make people remark, “Hey, she doesn’t look so bad. In fact she looks pretty good.”

    Give me a good photog, a makeup artist, a hair person, control of the lighting, and somebody who poses the way I tell them to pose and I can take twenty or more years off of anyone.

    I’ve done it.

    (And now I will shut up.)

  9. Van der Leun Says:

    Whoa, I just checked the more unforgiving picture at the Tookie Williams picture site and the Joan picture there is scary. Of course, flash photography doesn’t make anyone look their best.

    As to the Guardian photo, keep in mind that photoeditors are given many rolls or exposures of their subjects to choose from. And choose they do depending, invariably, on their own personal predilictions.

    If you like a person and their politics, you will choose a flattering photo. If you dislike them, you will choose an unflattering photo.

    Happens like the law of gravity. I’ve done it myself. Why not? It’s my choice.

  10. Van der Leun Says:

    “It seems odd to me (no doubt that’s my optimism and naivete showing) that so many are still taken in by Moore’s lies.”

    If your deepest, most cherished belief is that the Earth moves about the universe on the back of a gigantic turtle, and if everything you believe is based on that, then any person who tells you and shows you the Earth riding on a turtle becomes your hero. It’s called enabling and Moore has made millions from it. He may even believe it himself. As they say in Hollywood, “Once you’ve learned how to fake sincerity, the rest is easy.”

    In my Zeliglike life I once spent a couple of days at Joan and Mimi Baez’ “Peace School” down in Carmel Valley during the late 60s. They ran it in accordance with a gent named Ira Sandpearl (I think) and it was a small circle of people gathered together because, well, Joan and Mimi were so cool and Richard Farina drove a motorcycle that killed him.

    It was, as I recall, a mushy sort of place with a lot of mush dealt out that you had to regurgitate it you had any hope of getting a smile from the Baez babes and some deeper attention from the other women attending. Since women outnumbered men here by about 3 to 1 you had a good shot at this.

    Joan doesn’t change because being Joan works for her and works well. No chance at ever changing. It would cost her far too much.

    As for how she looks now… well, given the cheekbone structure that’s a given, but I’m here to tell you beyond a shred of a scintilla of a doubt that she’s looked better.

    But then, we’ve all looked better.

  11. Motor 1560 Says:

    People, she is a Red Diaper baby. Born and raised in the Old Left. Dipped like a tea bag in the hot sludge of Marx.

    Back in the 60′s everyone sort of expected a “folksinger” to be a ditzy leftist. Later it became a marketing tool to pry the mass market open.

    Joaney Phoney was a character that Al Capp created, along with S.W.I.N.E, Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything. Joan did not take the lampoon well. Capp pointed out that Baez couldn’t have been the model since the cartoon Joan had boobs. It is reported that this led to an almost epileptic fit of rage in chez Baez.

    See this for Capp’s absolutely pitch perfect critique of why he abandoned liberalism. It’s down the page a piece. For that matter read the whole piece about comics and politics. These days, Capp would have been led off in handcuffs for “Hate Speech”.

    Joan’s intransigent Infantile Leftism and complete lack of a sense of humor led to her having a rather bleak personal life. She is to be pitied before she is scorned.

  12. hikingguy Says:

    Gee, anonymous, did you really expect to come herre and post your drivel and not get a response? And “shut your pie hole”? Clever. And typical of the left. “We don’t like what you say, so shut up.” And yes, Mimi Farina could sing rings around Sister Joan. Still like Joan on the old English folk songs, though.

  13. Goesh Says:

    I’m still too hung-up on Janis Joplin and Tina Turner to even consider Joan of Bolshevik. Actually I was never all the impressed with her voice either.

  14. Nikolaides Says:

    Politics aside, I never liked her voice. There’s no musical nuance in it at all: she just blares out whatever song she’s singing, with no indication that she feels any emotional connection with either the words or the music. On the other hand, I heard her sister Mimi Farina in concert, once. Now THERE was a voice worth listening to.

  15. mizpants Says:

    Yes, Richard Aubrey 9:28 PM, you;re so right. She’s dumb as a box of rocks. The disjunction between that ethereal singing voice (at least when she was young and gave voice to longings that eventually hardened into dogma) and the source of it! She is shockingly crass and vulgar, as well as stupid.

  16. John Salmon Says:

    Ahh, Joan Baez…reminds of a girlfriend I had who listened to Joan, became a radical lefty lesbian (the gf)-I have that effect on women. I always loved Baez’ voice even if her singing style was really awfully stiff. “Diamonds and Rust”-takes me back to going to school in Amherst, MA in the 80′s, and that girl.

  17. Anonymous Says:

    hikingguy:

    Do I know you? Lets say no.
    lets say you need to shut your pie hole before you meddle in affairs of others. Its that simple.

  18. chuck Says:

    Unless it’s been airbrushed to the hilt, I have to say the lady looks good, especially considering her stated age: 65.

    I think it is a very flattering photo, we should all be so blessed. Zombie has posted a photo taken at the Tookie Willams vigil at San Quentin, go here and scroll down if it makes you feel any better.

    I saw Joan Baez once at club 47 on Mt Auburn street, around 1963 I believe. It’s a shame, but I can’t remember anything more about that evening. I don’t think it is worth flogging the woman any more, her time is past. I remember Richard Farina’s “Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me” as a fun read and Richard married Mimi Baez, so there must have been *something* good about the family ;)

  19. hikingguy Says:

    Dylan dropped her like a hot rock. Smart man, Bob. Dylan, I mean. Not Bob the Simpleminded who posted above, nor his buddy Anonymous 1 and 3. But Philosopher King…please. Learn to (A) spell and (B) quit drooling on your keyboard. “Iron fist” indeed.

  20. Grackle Says:

    Joanie is a total ideologue who happens to be blessed with a good voice. I saw her on TV recently & she reminded me of an ugly nun out of habit. I don’t find her attractive at all. During the 60’s & 70’s Joanie & her ilk would take over the microphone at concerts with heavy leftwing sloganeering & whip the audience into a political frenzy. Some performers didn’t like it but were afraid to object – except for Dylan. Dylan was & is about the music & wasn’t about to let Joanie & her bunch take over his stage, even for only a few minutes, & forbade her little sessions with his audience. Joanie claimed this display of principle “broke her heart.”

    Along the same vein: Abbie Hoffman made the mistake of trying to take over the stage during a Who concert & received a guitar hatband as a reward for his trouble.

    Three cheers for principled musicians.

  21. Harry Mallory Says:

    Joan Baez: Another reminder of the those of us out of the ’60′s that tuned in, turned on, dropped out, and never came back.

  22. Philosopher King Says:

    Anonymous:
    This is a war between convensional liberal and unconvensional liberals. Both are as dangerous as they can get.

    The unconvensional being the neocon movement in the GOP.

    The convensioanl liberal are the Bush bashing yellow belly cry babies who have no vision and just want power.

    No wonder the GOP will rule for 16 years with an iron fist.

  23. Brad Says:

    Moore is another topic on which Camile Paglia was ahead of the curve (BTW it may not have been clear in my last comment on previous post, but I think she is brilliant and her books were scathing and accurate in her critique of Foucault, Dworkin, et al). On a C-span interview many years ago, she was asked about Moore; she said that he was a scam artist and that his movies were propaganda pretending to be documentary (way ahead of the general disgust with him).

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    Or one party is on the moral high ground and the other isn’t. But, that would be heresy.

  25. Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) Says:

    Bob: Point. It’s interesting to watch the mirror-image phenominon of the Republicans and Democrats. Both carry more or less the exact same views of the other side: they’re either dangerously naive, too unintelligent to comprehend reality, too infatuated with their party to think logically, or just plain evil.

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    If Baez did, maybe even she would come to the conclusion that Moore is less.

    More is less, might that be a stealth pun?

    I think the reason why all the soldiers kept telling their stories over and over, was because they were young, lonely, and in need of free female companionship.

    Anon with the list did a pretty good shaping painting the Democrats’ talking points.

    1980s–GOOD. Soviet Union Rocks.

    Selfishness–GOOD. Abortion, plastic surgery, smoking dope, drug rehab.

    Rich people — GOOD. George Soros, Moore.

    What I don’t get is why he then goes and reverses strategy and says that the Democrats are corrupt for real and the Republicans honest for real. Didn’t quite fit with the previous analogies.

    Oh well. Can’t expect perfection from everyone.

  27. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I’ve heard Baez live. She has a tremendous voice, both in quality–which is obvious in recordings–and in sheer power.

    However, in order to make room for all that resonance, something had to give.

    She’s dumb as a post.

    Shortly after the fall of Viet Nam, she asked, publicly, where was all that prosperity and non-oppression and so forth for which she’d been fighting. She was pilloried, including a nasty snark from Jane Fonda. From which we can deduce that she actually believed all the lefty BS of the time. That made her a minority of one. Dumb as a post.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    “veterans of the peace movement” Ha! “That time when we got high and waved Che t-shirts at a cop was my vietnam.”

  29. camojack Says:

    Some people just never grow up…

  30. Anonymous Says:

    Philosopher King:
    1. Who are these (sic) “convensional liberals?” I bet they’re dangerous.
    2. Enjoy the “discipline” meted out by Cheney, DeLay, the Fourth Amendment hating NSA, and the Abramoff way of public service. Oops, public service is a bad phrase. Private greed. Ahhh.

  31. Anonymous Says:

    The GOP will remain in power until such time as the democrats can convince the majority of voters that either (a) there is no threat to the security of the country, or (b) they can do a better job at keeping the country safe than the GOP. Since they have no hope/no interest in proving (b), they must chose (a). Hence, they must resort to the crudest forms of propaganda in order to achieve their ends.

  32. Philosopher King Says:

    To Neo-neocon:

    I can see some people dont even bother reading your posts when they make a comment. Cause Clearly they are off target.

    The Republian Armada will rule over the convensional liberals for the next 16 years due to a lack of structure and discipline. Case in point about the last two comments.

  33. Anonymous Says:

    Bob_

    You forgot:

    1960s–BAD.
    1980s–GOOD.

    Social conscience–BAD.
    Selfishness–GOOD.

    Poor people — BAD.
    Rich people — GOOD.

    Democrats — CORRUPT.
    Republicans — HONEST.

  34. Knucklehead Says:

    Good summary, Bob. To answer your question, just go here.

  35. Bob Says:

    Liberals wrong. Conservatives right. Liberals dumb. Conservatives smart. Liberals naive, Consevatives wise. Oh yes, the world is so simple. Thanks for clarifying it for me.

    Now, where can I get my GOP card?

  36. Papa Georgio Says:

    Keep in mind that every propaganda contains a bid of truth no matter who says it. (Including Neocons)

    As for Michael Moore he had his run and you wont see him again.

    Moore has made his millions and now he can pull strings from the behind the scenes.

  37. eddie t Says:

    The completion of my evolution from standard leftist moonbat to conservative took until age 43. But I am the world’s slowest learner! I don’t know how people much more intelligent (that’s almost everyone) and experienced than I am can still be stuck in 1968 LSDforever mode.

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