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This Divided State: Michael Moore at Utah Valley State College

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posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 12:17 PM
When liberal filmmaker Michael Moore was invited to speak at Utah Valley State College, it created a firestorm not usually seen in the heart of conservative Mormon country. Would conservative activists prevent Michael Moore from speaking? Would Utah liberals win their fight for freedom of speech? The answer lies somewhere within This Divided State.

83% @ Rotten Tomatoes
In a conflict that epitomized the battle between red versus blue states in the days leading up to the 2005 election, Michael Moore's invitation to speak at Utah Valley State College created a controversy previously unheard-of in the quiet community. Nestled within a deeply conservative state, the university is located in the heart of Mormon country, and when the invitation to Moore was issued, complete chaos broke out, with vitriol being spewed by proponents of both the right and the left. Petitions were launched, forums and protests held, while Moore supporters were accused of demeaning their religion, the apotheosis of offense. Prominent local businessman Kay Anderson offered a bribe to prevent Moore's engagement, while the UVSC student body president feared for his safety. Fox's Sean Hannity was eventually invited to speak as a counter-balance to Moore, and both speeches are included with with illuminating results. Documentarian Steven Greenstreet was there to document the entire process, after dropping out of college when he heard what was going on. The result is a non-judgmental presentation of the facts that, miraculously, avoids caricature and manages to capture the many shades of gray that are so often eclipsed in the deep divide between the right and the left.

TV Guide 4.5 Star Review
If you thought the ugly, partisan battle that led up to the 2004 presidential election was the most depressing thing since the Civil War, Steven Greenstreet's excellent documentary about the grand mal kerfuffle that ensued when members of the Utah Valley State College student council invited filmmaker Michael Moore to speak at their school will offer little comfort. Home to a whopping 25,000 students, UVSC is located in Orem, Utah, a town that has dubbed itself, "Family City, USA." Like most places in Utah, Orem and UVSC are overwhelmingly Mormon and, by extension, politically and socially conservative. When word got out that the student council was going to be spending $40,000 to bring Moore, a man who prides himself on being a liberal gadfly, to this picturesque corner of Bush country (Orem boasts a 12-to-1 Republican to Democrat ratio), you'd think Hitler was on his way...

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posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 02:28 PM
Cleanflicks lol

M&M Day lol

Ken Brown lol

Ending: Ouch... ouch

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 06:59 PM
Yeah, the ending reminded me that it wasn't a fictional Hollywood film I'd just watched. Real life.

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 07:05 PM
I am somewhat mixed up about the ending. Why did he resign exactly? What did he do? Why did his friend ask him to resign?

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 09:08 PM
Wow. A truly stirring documentary.

Like the above poster I am also in the dark as regards to the abrupt
ending which would certainly bring out the conspiracist in you,
my first thoughts were, well they obviously got to the guy in some way,
his way of life and indeed his future at the college could well have been put under threat and without the resources or indeed the support to stand up for himself he was reluctantly forced into turning against his friend
and resigning from his position, that is of course just a theory to put out there, if it was really a piece of cinematic fiction I am sure the resulting discussions of the viewers would centre around such a possibility given the material.

I was left a little confused as to the director's stance on the matter as it appears
it was simply a balanced report on goings on more so than any kind of political statement which is of course refreshing and something which should not be discouraged at all but there were certainly some mixed messages in there.

I look forward to hearing other's views on this as this film certainly seems to have slipped under the radar as it were given the fact that it was produced in 2004 during the elections, it certainly deserves a wider audience and I am grateful to ATS for putting it on the front page. Thanks guys.

[edit on 17-1-2008 by pmexplorer]

posted on Jan, 17 2008 @ 10:55 PM
Has anybody viewed any of alex jones' material? Hes quite the interesting individual, I've heard mixed opinions on both of these individuals. That they are simply there to spread misinformation. I havent heard Micheal Moore ever put down Alex Jones publicly, but Alex jones did publicly approach Micheal Moore and call him a charleton i think it was. I'm just curious how everyone feels on this topic. I myself am not quite sure where to stand, but both of there work sort of borders on the same information. So is it just a grudge match between the two to see whos more "knowledgeable" or is it really something else? A conspiracy perhaps?

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 01:27 AM
Wow first off Mr Anderson's horrible tactics to derail freedom of speech was completely tasteless to me.

Then there was the Fox news reporter that spent some of his time pointing out liberal students and publicly humiliating them.

Then these guys even filed a lawsuit to stop freedom of speech? FILED A LAWSUIT?!? Why?

I mean I don't agree with some of the things that Michael Moore does. Some of his shenanigans are rather in poor taste and pretty tacky but I think that he deserves the right to express those views.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 02:06 AM
What occurred to me over and over in this film is how many time have I been interrupted by Mormon missionaries spreading their religion? I always am polite and listen to what they have to say. I then decline any further discussion of my conversion, and wish them well on their mission.

If this is how intolerant Mormons are to others with an opposing point of view... then I feel sorry for the next set of Mormons who come knocking on my door. I am going to bring this topic up, and let them know how lucky they are that they are not treated as harshly as Mormons treated Michael Moore and the kids who wanted to hear him speak.

This film opened my eyes about just who and what Mormoms really are! They have become the very people they moved to Utah to avoid. Shame on them and their leaders for allowing this controversy to harm so many kids who just wanted to hear a different point of view.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 04:41 AM
reply to post by yankeerose

Do not lump an entire group of people.... Or something like that. This same thing can happen in any small community that closes itself off from outside influence.

I'm sure we have all known Mormons who are pretty cool people. It is the Utah ones I have seen/met, and in this video, I haven't much respect for. Many preach loving their country and values until they are blue in the face. Will be happy to tell you where you have gone wrong in your life any day of the week... but that coming weekend they are very likely to run off to Ogden, drink and enjoy prostitutes, and make sure they are home in time to accompany their wife and many children in church on Sunday.

I understand the setting in which this took place. We are talking little communities where everyone knows everyone, and attends the same churches. I think they keep so closed off from the rest of the world so they can continue to brainwash their children and keep them from finding out about life "outside the valley". Mormonism I have seen is very disrespectful to women and non-Mormons.

I like the controversy Michael Moore's arrival in little Orem caused.

I was disappointed in the show and agreed with the first angry message left at the end, to be honest. Over $1,000 for that show?!?! Disappointing, for sure.

[edit on 18-1-2008 by LostNemesis]

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 06:31 AM
This movie makes me sick. It's like people are just... stupid.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 07:26 AM
reply to post by

Ah... ATS endorsing Michael Moore.... interesting.

isn't suppressing someones "disruption" of someones speech also a disruption of someones right to speech? ..

Or are Republicans just supposed to roll over let Moore do as he wishes without even the slightest argument?

I didn't watch past chapter 2 as michael moore makes me sick.

And ATS endorsing this fat political pig makes me sick as well.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 07:36 AM
reply to post by LostNemesis

Oh I know Lost,

I am actually more upset at the political prejudice than anything. The rich neighbor guy was a total butt-in-ske... but obviously he was speaking for the majority of the population as evident at the Hannity Rally.

But once those nice, squeaky clean kids show up at my door.. I will be as kind and nice to them as I always am. Good Karma... don't cha

I just meant that I will now be more apt to think of Morman/LDS as rich Republicans instead of an oppressed religion.


posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 07:40 AM
reply to post by Rockpuck

It's all about Michael Moore and ATS are endorsing him, Republicans supposed to...

Perhaps you should have watched the whole thing (not a snide comment but an honest suggestion in reference to your Chapter 2 remark.) If you think the big issue is Michael Moore and are presuming that through this offering this ATS is endorsing him you stopped watching too early.


[edit on 18/1/08 by JAK]

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 08:54 AM
I'm never going to Utah, that's for sure. I've never seen so much ad hoc, hyperbole, ignorance, and hypocritical nonsense in my entire life. Wait, I have, in Jesus Camp. It's interesting that this is the first time I've seen this documentary.

I kept on running through my head what would happen if one of those folks would come up here to M.A to give a speech at any single one of our universities. Then I remembered, it has happened before and there wasn't any movement to suppress ideology in the student body. How many times have I had to listen to Mormon missionaries spew their "truth" and was scoffed at when I told them I had no religious subscription. I'm not singling them out, though, as far as my experience goes almost all missionaries act the same.

I'm sure there are folks in Utah that completely upset the stereotype. Some of the students struck me as being highly conservative but someone you wouldn't mind debating with (Joseph, for example) and that's what this country is all about. Hearing all sides of the story and making your own choice as to subscribing to whichever side, some, like myself, stay away from political affiliation because of the sheer stupidity involved in the process.

I'll vote for who deserves it, not if they're red or blue.

Awesome idea though,

Really appreciate it.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 09:33 AM
The thing that kept being mentioned by those from Orem, Utah was that it is supposed to be cut off from the rest of the world. That they preferred it that way. Still, the way that Orem was portrayed as, "the most conservative town, in the most conservative state in America", goes a long way in explaining the town's reaction to the arrival of someone like Michael Moore. Moore makes people think. He is an agent provocateur. I don't mean that in the criminal sense, but in the sense that he gets people to think about things that are normally outside of their comfortable, normal, and acceptable confines of thought. He provides people the opportunity to betray their own sensibilities of what's right and wrong with other plausible and just as comfortable ideas of what's right and wrong. He also inspires some people to action. Action that is not necessarily in coherence with his own disposition. What Moore's visit highlights is that the United States of America is neither a closed system nor an isolated system. Ideas continually flow into and out of the country regardless of wherever nook and cranny one may choose to live. This free flow of ideas is what make America what it is, it's what makes a place like Orem, Utah possible; a point that a few Mormons in the film also made.

The thrust of the film was not so much about Michael Moore as it was about the effects that the introduction of different people and different ideas, to what would otherwise be a closed society, can have on that society. To freedom loving Americans a closed society is that last thing on the list wanted. In fact, it's not even on the list. Yet because America is what it is, it is possible for a place like Orem, Utah to exist. It's possible for Mormonism and the Mormons to exist. Therefore, by default, it is possible for other religions and people and ideas that are unlike those found in Orem, Utah to exist as well. And just as it is possible for Mormons to spread their message into many communities, towns and cities throughout the US, and around the globe, it is also possible for bearers of a different sort of message to visit Orem, Utah. Whether the community of Orem likes it or not.

It was very interesting to see one friend force the resignation of another friend. The reason(s) remains unknown. And it was also interesting to see that $200,000 in donations to Utah Valley State College were lost. All related to the appearance of Michael Moore at the college. Very strange how folks who are supposed to love one another and respect one another, in the name of God, would turn on one another in an effort to destroy one another. Apparently there's a difference between tolerance being taught and tolerance being practiced. Why should the students and the college, valuable assets to the community of Orem, Utah, be made to suffer because they both represent the best of all sides of America? Divided state, indeed. Too bad.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 10:38 AM
First off, let me just say that I love the way both sides were presented in a fair and balanced manner. It definitely allows us to experience the very thing the students were fighting for in the video, namely, different viewpoints. We can take in everything and then make a decision to either change our beliefs or strengthen them.

I have to admit that I was angered and saddened at how people treated each other over differing viewpoints. I don't understand how you can have so much in common with another person and truly care for them, but if the issue of religion or politics comes up, you can instantly wish death upon them. And threatening to break a young man's other arm because he is holding a sign that you disagree with...well played. Seeing all the hate in the film made me finally understand how someone can show up to school with an automatic rifle, ready to mow down everyone in their path.

It made me sick the way Hannity treated the college professors and "the liberal" at the rally. I feel that the professors were made to look like fringe nutjobs throughout the film. These people are suppose to be the most educated in the community. Doesn't it make sense to listen to their point of view? They were all saying the same thing with such passion, yet they were mocked.

I don't understand why the community was so afraid of free speech? After all, thats what allowed them to picket, petition, and act the way they did during the whole event.'

Oh well, I guess Kay Anderson and Orem succeeded because this video will never increase tourism, nor will it encourage people with different viewpoints to move to their community. If anything it will keep things just the way they like it out there, cut off from reality in their brainwashed bubble.

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 11:03 AM
reply to post by midniteracerx

I agree with you, I was also disgusted with the sheer lack of respect to the professors. I felt really bad for what they went through at the Hannity show. For a student to have so much disrespect for a professor at their school kinda makes ya sick

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 12:43 PM
Hi Folks...

I knew this title would spark an excellent discussion.

Stay tuned as the production team will soon be on an ATS MIX show, as well as participating here in the discussions to answer your questions and provide some additional context. They also have another project in the works that touches on a few themes here on ATS, and a surprise.

More coming soon. (no pun intended)

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 12:51 PM
Just a quick question. What's with the attacks on Mormonism?

posted on Jan, 18 2008 @ 12:55 PM
$40,000 to hear Moore speak? I think the community had a right to say they didn't want their money spent for such an endeavor

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