Adoring fans in Berlin hung on every word the best-selling author had to say as he promoted the German-language version of Dude, Where’s My Country.
Speaking at a packed-out Columbiahalle on Monday, Moore expressed his appreciation to the 3000 crowd for such a warm welcome.
He immediately referred to an unpopular term coined by the US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying: “Thank God for old Europe.”
“I live in a country in which it is almost a matter of national policy to keep people stupid. I am almost embarrassed to talk about it but I feel you are owed an explanation.”
But the best-selling author was far from embarrassed to tell a full-house some unpleasant truths concerning the war in Iraq, poverty and violence in America and the 2000 presidential election.
He urged Germans not to let their country become “like the US” and said Americans were waking up to the “lies” of the Republican administration.
A million copies of his latest book already sold, the author could barely utter a sentence without clapping, whistles of approval and applause.
More talks planned
Moore began his European tour in England this month, “as an advance man” for Bush’s visit to Britain.
After Berlin, he plans to visit Hamburg, Cologne and Munich before heading to two more sold-out shows in Austria.
“I live in a country in which it is almost a matter of national policy to keep people stupid. I am almost embarrassed to talk about it but I feel you are owed an explanation”
While his documentaries are popular in the US and he makes the bestseller lists with his books, he is still sometimes seen by the press and public there as a mild irritation.
But in Europe, he is a phenomenon.
His book Stupid White Men sold 1.1 million copies in Germany, almost double sales in the US, according to US magazine Publishers Weekly.
The English version was only one of two English books to ever make the German bestseller lists – the other was Harry Potter.
The new book is already 18th in advanced sales on the Internet site Amazon.de.
Germans attribute Moore’s popularity to his mirroring of what is popular thinking in Europe, particularly after opposition grew in France and Germany to the US-led war in Iraq.
“He hits a nerve with what he says and people agree with him,” said Ursula Haberl, who attended the show. “He is a star here.”
Another fan said he gave legitimacy to negative images of the United States and an outlet for frustration with Washington’s policies.
“He reinforces all the stereotypes we have of America,” said Stefan Baumann. “We can point to him and say, see, even Americans are saying that about themselves.”
Moore, for his part, says he believes Europeans truly like Americans.
He claims they just do not like the government and so does not see himself as promoting anti-Americanism.
“You like us, our charming simpleness,” he said. “We’re a happy people, we don’t have to think too much. We don’t have to know what is going on in Nairobi.”
And he is thrilled with his warm welcome in Europe. “I am overwhelmed with the support my work has received here,” he said. “Thank you, people of Germany, for being a good friend.”