For our fortieth anniversary, the editors of Rolling Stone have interviewed twenty artists and leaders who helped shape our time. Over the next four weeks, every day, we'll be debuting exclusive audio clips from the Q&As, giving you unparalleled access to some of the most important personalities in history.
Today we present the most polarizing liberal presence of the last two decades, Michael Moore. Depending on who you talk to, Moore is either the most loved or reviled man in America, a distinction he shares with only one person: his arch-nemesis, George W. Bush. Moore, whose plea for gun control, Bowling for Columbine, now seems more relevant than ever in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, sat down with our Eric Bates to discuss the aftermath of the 2004 election and eight years of Republican steering, the big problem we face forty years from now and why Al Gore might be the messiah. Here are four audio excerpts, and for the magazine's definitive profile, pick up your own copy of our Fortieth Anniversary issue, on newsstands now.
Michael Moore forgives the misguided masses of our country for voting for Bush in 2004...sort of: "My feeling toward John Edwards and John Kerry and those who now say that they are sorry for supporting the war is the same feeling I would have if you were drunk behind the wheel of a car and killed my child and came to me later and said, 'I'm sorry."
Moore argues we as citizens shouldn't blame the government for all the injustices, we should blame ourselves for putting them in office: Nixon, Reagan, Bush I, Bush II -- combined, they've committed an assault on the working people of this country, virtually destroyed the middle class and taken a dump on this planet.
Moore discusses at length the ongoing metamorphosis of Al Gore, from the boring winner that lost to today's political rock star: He's sort of a modern-day Moses in the sense that he wasn't allowed to cross into the Promised Land, even though he won...and I have a feeling that millions of Americans would like to rectify that wrong.
Moore believes there is a balance of world power on the verge of being tipped once we run out of gas: Forty years from now, America may not be the world's only superpower. And once the oil that's under the earth stops flowing, the whole dynamic is going to change. We can start to deal with that now, or we can ignore it.
Check back tomorrow for the next installment of our twenty-part audio interviews, featuring some of the most iconic and influential pop culture figures of the last 40 years. Want a hint at tomorrow's interviewee? He told us this:
"Even if somebody doesn't like what you do and they're booing, and they're giving you the finger and jumping up and down and yelling, 'fuck you' -- that means you're communicating. You're getting through. A direct bull's-eye.