MOOREWATCH
When Moore Is Less
Author: Lee
The following article originally appeared in The Guardian.
When Moore is less
by David Aaronovitch

Wednesday November 19, 2003

Here's a paradox. In the Independent last Friday, Paul Taylor was writing about a recent renaissance in political theatre, both here and in America. He had recently been on Broadway for a performance of Arthur Miller's witch-hunt play, The Crucible. Many present, Taylor said, had watched through tears because the play "had clearly spoken with a piercing directness to that audience as the United Sates enters yet another period where dissent is seen as synonymous with 'unpatriotic' ".

At the same time, the writer and TV personality Michael Moore was celebrating yet another tremendous success. Whereas his previous book, Stupid White Men, had taken a year to sell a million copies in the US, his new offering, Dude, Where's My Country?, had, he told his fans, sold the same number in just three weeks.

It just showed, said Moore, "the level of concern/frustration/anger in the country right now over what the Bush administration is up to". What it did not, however, seem to show was an America "where dissent is seen as synonymous with 'unpatriotic' ". Far from it.

But this idea of being under siege is an important part of the radical's self-image in 2003. And Moore knows how to work the image, even claiming recently that the new book was strictly embargoed by his publisher because it was going "to upset" so many people. My guess is that it was done in order to maximise impact and sales.

Impact and sales there have been, despite the fact that Moore is surely one of the most overrated writers in the world. His early anti-corporate stuff was fun and fresh, but as he has become more famous so his writing has become sloppy, tired and conventional. Essentially, he has transformed into a leftwing version of loud-mouthed ultra-conservative shock-jocks such as Rush Limbaugh or Anne Coulter.

And he sells despite the fact that much of what is in his latest book was in his previous book. Despite sentences like this, concerning the Maginot line: "The only problem was, they built the bunkers facing the wrong way and the Germans were deep into France before you could say, 'Garçon, more stinky cheese please!'" That manages to be both factually wrong and unfunny. Yet it tops the charts.

Why? Someone has described it as "political comfort food", where you get served up your own opinions and prejudices in a way that makes you feel better about yourself. It's fine to hate Bush, to loathe Tony Blair and to feel yourself to be - uncomplicatedly - vindicated. Moore routinely uses the word "lie" to cover real lies, genuine mistakes, wrong predictions and - worst of all - straightforward disagreements. No need for thought.

The trouble is that Moore is as ripe for satire in many ways as are his targets. Stupid White Men, for instance, castigates Moore's fellow Americans for their timidity and ignorance. Then it serves up this on Northern Ireland in 2001: "No one is left out of the political discourse in the United Kingdom. Except the Catholics of Northern Ireland. [They] are second-class citizens whose rights are continually violated, who are kept at the lowest tier economically and who live under the thumb of an occupational force of British soldiers." Comic Strip, whose Hollywood version of Arthur Scargill and the miners' strike was a genuine satire, couldn't have done it better.

When Moore does present anything like a thesis, it is confused and contradictory. In Bowling for Columbine, for which our under-fire hero won an Oscar, he seemed to be arguing that the essence of the gun problem was availability - hence the sequences about the bank that gave its customers free guns and the stunt of taking a shooting victim to confront a bullet retailer. But Moore also contrasted the US with Canada, which, per capita, has as many guns and many fewer slayings. It was the aggressive, paranoid culture itself - Moore suggested - that was the problem. But in that case the bank, the bullet seller and even the reviled National Rifle Association were innocent and irrelevant; no more culpable than their Canadian counterparts. Moore didn't even nod at the contradiction.

Arguably worse, Moore has been accused of serious inaccuracies of fact, which you can find detailed on a liberal website called Spinsanity. I won't go into them here but I was interested in Moore's response when he was tackled on CNN not so long ago about these errors. The presenter Lou Dobbs asked him about the accusations. Part of the transcript goes like this:

Moore: I think they found some guy named Dan was named Dave, and there was another thing. But you know, look, this is a book of political humour. So, I mean, I don't respond to that sort of stuff, you know.

Dobbs: Glaring inaccuracies?

Moore: No, I don't. Why should I? How can there be inaccuracy in comedy? You know.

Dobbs: That does give one licence. I think you may have given all of us a loophole.

Moore: When Jonathan Swift said that what the Irish do is eat their young - in other words, that's what the British were proposing during the famine - I think that, you know, you have to understand satire.

You certainly do.


Posted by: Lee on Nov 19, 03 | 11:38 pm (profile) | Permalink
COMMENTS
Posted by: Cigarskunk on Nov 20, 03 | 6:59 am
It just showed, said Moore, "the level of concern/frustration/anger in the country right now over what the Bush administration is up to". What it did not, however, seem to show was an America "where dissent is seen as synonymous with 'unpatriotic' ". Far from it.


So by Mike's reasoning, the fact that Harry Potter has sold 250 million copies must mean that the bulk of the people in the western hemisphere are turning to witch craft.

Moore: When Jonathan Swift said that what the Irish do is eat their young - in other words, that's what the British were proposing during the famine - I think that, you know, you have to understand satire.


Sigh - this statement is such a glareing display of Mike's stupidity that I barely even know how to respond - I think the best response is to simply let folks read Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" and see how idiotic Mike's statement is on thier own.

Posted by: juandos on Nov 20, 03 | 7:03 am
The Politburo is back


MOORE TWISTS THE TRUTH...AGAIN by Michael Moynihan 11/18/2003 at 17:23
During a recent whistle-stop promo tour of England, Michael Moore was asked by a sympathetic Daily Mirror columnist to meditate on that favorite subject of anti-Americans the world over, America’s supposed “intelligence problem”—not, of course, the CIA, NSA kind of intelligence. To the apparent delight of his interlocutor, Moore answered with Il Duce-like subtlety, claiming that “they are possibly the dumbest people on the planet” (note the careful pronoun selection), citing a recent National Geographic world geography survey as irrefutable evidence of our “ignorance” and "embarrassing stupidity." While the condescending ferocity of Moore’s hatred might mark a new low for Moore(he previously cloaked his contempt for Americans in flaccid humor, like when he told a Canadian audience there is something “charming about our simpleness.”), disparaging the intelligence of his constituents is old hat for the tactically disheveled “populist.” His bestselling anti-Bush philippic Stupid White Men devoted an entire chapter to “proving” that America was indeed an “Idiot Nation.”

(Note: Moore even contradicts himself when calling Americans “the dumbest people on the planet.” In a 1996 interview with World Socialist Web, >Moore uses his fellow citizens as a convenient cudgel with which to beat corporate America: “I’ve always felt that the American people are not as stupid as Hollywood thinks they are.”)

Moore understands that the American-as-imbecile shtick is far more effective when performed on foreign soil, where, according to press reports, it typically generates fanatic applause. During his engagement at London’s Roundhouse Theater, Moore, in the role of Amerikanshe Kapo, delighted the crowd when he proclaimed that "the dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American,” prompting Variety Magazine’s reviewer to comment that it was “the most egregious sucking up to a British public that I have ever seen.” On his North American tour in support of Dude, Where’s My Country, Moore substituted Canadians for Britons, telling audiences that the “dumbest Canadian” in attendance could surely outwit “the smartest American.


Posted by: jamesthemongrel on Nov 20, 03 | 7:14 am
Oh I'm sorry, didn't you understand the statistics in Bowling For Columbine,
over ten thousand of your citizens die every year through the fact guns are freely available and your gun control policies seem that they are lacking in the control department, in my home, England it is under one hundred.

Like you Yanks say, "Do the math"

PS Michael Moore is a hero to many in America and outside of it, including myself, give him the respect he deserves for standing up to corporate crooks and ficticious presidents.....

James Vince, Suffolk, england

Posted by: Craig on Nov 20, 03 | 7:56 am
mongrel,
You are ignoring the lack of a cause-and-effect relationship. The statistic is rendered meaningless, when you note that Switzerland has a high rate of firearms ownership and their crime rate is even lower than Britain's.
Brazil has very restrictive laws concerning private firearms ownership and their violent crime rate is much higher than the rate in the U.S.
Your country had even less violent crime back before gun control laws were enacted. The rate of violent crime in the United States was much lower BEFORE there were any laws regulating private firearms ownership. The rate of violent crime in the U.S. exceeded that of Great Britain even BEFORE either country had enacted any types of restrictive firearms laws. America's criminal class has always been much more cruel, ruthless, and violent than their counterparts in Europe. This has not been a secret to anyone. British Bobbies have seldom had to carry firearms when on patrol, even before gun controls were enacted.
The statistic which you quote only proves that an English Population of approx 60 million had much fewer murders than an American population of approx 285 million. Is this really a surprise to you? I can also prove that an apple tastes different than an orange. Would that be a surprise?
Considering that a significant amount of the U.S. population resides in crime-infested urban areas and most of those murders are related to the rampant illegal narcotics trade, it shouldn't be a surprise.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 8:13 am
Yes it is ignorant to assume that Guns lead to murder... Bowling for Collumbine made that very clear.... for a fan of Mike Moore you dont understand his material well.

Posted by: Craig on Nov 20, 03 | 8:48 am
Access,
Good point.
In BFC, Moore describes Canada as "Gun loving, gun toting, gun crazy" but observes that their murder rate is much lower than in the U.S.
He then diverges into anecdotal observations about people leaving their doors unlocked in Canada versus people in the U.S. owning security alarms and bolting their doors. He purposely fails to notice that he could cross the border into many areas of upstate New York and find plenty of unlocked doors. They do not fear crime, because it is not a common occurrence. People who live in crime-ridden urban centers are fearful of crime for good reason: It occurrs...even in large Canadian cities.
If Moore really believes that gun ownership does not cause crime, why did he devote such a large portion of the film to unfairly slandering the NRA and purposely ridiculing Charleton Heston?
Moore's self-professed beliefs sound consistent with most NRA policies. In fact, he even voiced agreement with some of what Heston said, and identified himself as an NRA member prior to the interview.
If he was really interested in truthfully exaiming the NRA, why didn't he interview Wayne LaPierre, who is their primary spokesman?
Instead of untruthfully linking the NRA with the KKK, via a cartoon, why didn't he examine the fact that 8 of the 10 first NRA presidents were former Union Army Officers and Veterans of the Civil War? He also missed the fact that Ulysis S. Grant and Philip Sheridan were the 8th and 9th Presidents of the NRA.
He also missed the fact that Charleton Heston was a friend and associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. and led King's Hollywood/entertainment industry supporters during civil rights marches in the south. Heston has also recieved awards for his support of civil rights. Yet, Moore unfairly portrays Heston as a racist-nutjob, by means of fraudulent editing techniques.
If he was really doing a documentary on crime and violence, why didn't Moore interview any convicted criminals?
75% of murders in the U.S. are committed by repeat felons, yet Moore interviewed no actual criminals. Wouldn't it make sense to examine their reasoning, when making a documentary?

Posted by: calloffthedogs on Nov 20, 03 | 9:28 am
hey james,

it's already been proven that the murder statistics are lower in the U.S. than Moore claimed. yes, it's true that Britain has a lower murder rate. by contrast, i've been told that the number 1 selling sports item in britain is baseball bats. sounds great, until you realized that no one plays baseball in england.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 11:04 am
"Access,
Good point"
Hey thanx.

"He then diverges into anecdotal observations about people leaving their doors unlocked in Canada versus people in the U.S. owning security alarms and bolting their doors."
Well this is actually a lot more complex an issue then it first seems, and their have been countless studies done on this, in fact a friend of mine did their Masters in Anthropology reguarding this issue. It is not solely a US problem. I live in Australia and you will find more and more people are putting Bars on their Windows, even though the crime rate is going down. As soon as one person starts to put bars on their windows, the rest of the neighbourhood begin to think that it could be a good idea. Personal contact with a friend who has been subject of crime can be the last push to putting up bars, or perhaps stories from older neighbours about crimes in the past years... like chinese whispers. (its a really detailed issue and wont go into it to much).

Australian news hasnt even remotely reached the hyped up violent nature of what US television has reached, so the increase of security and bars on windows and the like is increasing at a generally slow rate. I cant speak personally about Britain, but their television upon my last visit was similar to Australian (but with more DIY and gossip).

The USA has the bane of the news constantly hyping up the dangers of life outside of a citizens home and outside of the interntional borders. Taking into consideration the anthrocentric nature of the Government, plus the standard factors mentioned at the top, leads to a huge increase of security installations and bars on windows etc.

"It occurrs...even in large Canadian cities."
Yes it occurs everywhere, especially in White controlled contries and especially in America due to the government and the media.

Sorry I will give my answers to some of your questions in a different order.
"If he was really interested in truthfully exaiming the NRA, why didn't he interview Wayne LaPierre, who is their primary spokesman?"
WHy do you think he was interested in examin the NRA anways? What brings on that assumption. However, as an Australian I have no idea who Wayne LaPierre is, I have never heard of the person. I asked several of my friends on ICQ from Britain and none of them had heard of him either. As far as the most of the world is concerned Charleton Heston runs the NRA. Another example is Microsoft, Steve Barmer is the CEO of Microsoft however you only see people slander Bill Gates even thouse Steve makes the decisions.


"Why did he devote such a large portion of the film to unfairly slandering the NRA and purposely ridiculing Charleton Heston?"
I believe he saterised Charleton Heston not because he owns Guns or runs the NRA, but because he felt it wasnt insensitive to lead the NRA to that town where the murders took place. Admittedly Charleton said they probably couldnt of changed their destination (which the audience is skeptical of anways), however refused to admit to any remorse in the decision. Whether you or I agree with Charleton's decision not to appologise for visiting that town is irrelevant, the point however is that he saterised Charleton for visiting the town.


"Instead of untruthfully linking the NRA with the KKK, via a cartoon, why didn't he examine the fact that 8 of the 10 first NRA presidents were former Union Army Officers and Veterans of the Civil War? He also missed the fact that Ulysis S. Grant and Philip Sheridan were the 8th and 9th Presidents of the NRA."

Well the first thing, is the film can only be so long, and the majority of the information listed above doesnt add or subtract anything away from his arguement. My oppinion of what Moore was trying to do was give insight into what causes Children to shoot up their schools... more specficially, the Collumbine Incident. (hence the title.. :P).

The theme of the documentory was showing the different violent parts of the US, it showed (whether true or false) getting guns from a bank, loading guns at the hair dresser, being able to buy amunition at a shopping centre, a group of dedicated gun enthusiasts (that malitia group), and a nationwide organisation dedication to the promotion of guns (NRA). All of these thigs are demonstrated as a "little overboard". If these things are not a littler overboard for you, then the ammunition used to push the arguements along is obviously dubious. Any I can very well see if you have an affiliation with either the NRA or the Maltia group how one could be offended. However similar groups do not exist in Australia or the UK, and many USA citizens also the presence of such organisations as rather odd.

Despite this though the film was taking the piss out of all these things, but it wasnt attacking them, it wasnt commenting whether it was right or wrong, it just was a film about sociology. Looking at the intricute parts of a single society to formulate the mentalities of the populance.

The Cartoon section in "Bowling for Collumbine" aim wasnt to attack the NRA my interpretation is that the connection between the KKK and the NRA was made only in jest, and ends up being incidental to the message of the short film, resulting in a brief overview of one approach of why serial killers and school masacres are generally done by white anglo saxons. However I can see how if you are affiliated with the NRA and are personnaly invested in the organisation you can be quite offended by the implication that the KKK is linked to the NRA.

Bowling demonstrates one possible reason why White Anglo Saxon people locked away in suburbs end up causing incidents like the Collumbine one. I feel he never set out to disrespect the NRA, however did so to high light that Heston felt no remorse for visiting towns with recent mascres. (Whether that is right or wrong is up to YOUR interpretation).

I would just like to say an organisation totally dedicated to guns with such passion as the NRA amazes me and many other countries and I am sure many people in America. I am amazed at the NRA as much as I am about the Bank with the Free Gun. I have no disrespect for the NRA just the fact its very existance fits well with all the other examples presented which are all equally saterised to demonstate some possible socilogical causes of the mentality of the white youth shooting up schools.

Showing possitives qualities of the NRA would not help highlight why White kids go on masacres nor would it weaken it, the NRA was not the focus of Bowling for Collumbine, but I can certainly see how people can be personally offended by what Moore implied.

"He also missed the fact that Charleton Heston was a friend and associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. and led King's Hollywood/entertainment industry supporters during civil rights marches in the south. Heston has also recieved awards for his support of civil rights. "
Once again, your belief of the focus of Bowling for Collumbine is different to mine. I dont believe Charleton Heston or the NRA played large parts in the film, I believe they were used as examples of a socialogical study.

"If he was really doing a documentary on crime and violence, why didn't Moore interview any convicted criminals?"
Because he wasnt doing a film about crime, or criminals but about why white anglo saxons shoot up schools.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 11:06 am
People generally see what they want see in a film, some American liberals see it as "proof" of the badness of guns, some American conservatives see it as an attack upon the NRA... and some extreme Conservatives see it as an example of "anti-American filth".

All your interpretations are valid, I just dont believe those. I believe that the film "Bowling for Collumbine" was about why white Kids in America seem to be doing a lot of masacres in their schools lately. Nothing more nothing less.

What do you think?

- Access

Posted by: barry on Nov 20, 03 | 11:40 am
Craig,

I bet you have never been to Brazil, where ,on the streets, if you LOOK like a fish outta water you WILL be. You would probably shit yourself and scream "BUT I'M AN AMERICAN CITIZEN" and it's all downhill from there. he he.
If you were a nice guy you could pretend that you really got lost and give some reais as a gesture. Or some cigarettes.

Preach on softer turf, man.


Posted by: barry on Nov 20, 03 | 11:51 am
Access,

grow up

Posted by: barry on Nov 20, 03 | 12:15 pm
M.M. is a writer?

Observer I would have thought.

Or a commentator.

Gets you in a knot, though.

"Freedom of speech"

?

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 12:38 pm
Excuse me, I made a serious post? Just because it doesnt fit in with what you believe is no reason to pass it off? I am seriously interested in a discussion.

Yes, Mike Micheal edited footage, manipulated statistics to suit his purpose probbaly worships the devil as well... but all I said in this entire post was that I believe the NRA wasnt the focus of his Film, and I gave my reasoning, it was extensive reasoning. I was was after an intelligent discussion, and all I get is;

"Access,

grow up"
This does not contribute to the discussion?

"Preach on softer turf, man"
Im not preaching, the only point I made within the entire post was that I feel the film "Bowling for Collumbine" was about what motivated the kids who committed the masacre at Collumbine... I didnt comment on whether I liked the film, whether it was even a good film..... all I posted was what I thought it was about..

You can believe what you want about it, I just wanted some honest feedback.

Posted by: barry on Nov 20, 03 | 12:55 pm
Some kids went mad for a day...end of story

to use fer political excuses is up ta yous

knock yer hedz together

you get the same result

against a brick wall
it's called the human condition

Posted by: BrockStar on Nov 20, 03 | 1:58 pm
Yes, despite the long montage showing the likenesses of American culture to that of other cultures with the same cultural oddities and the same availability of guns, BFC said guns were the only problem...yeah right

Why do people on this site still say the main emphasis of BFC was anti-gun? It's kind of hard to leave the movie without the idea, but it focused way more on culture.

Seriously, every time you BFC was solely a tirade against gun-ownership, you're making a fool of yourself.

Posted by: Craig on Nov 20, 03 | 4:54 pm
Access,
Don't pay any attention to what barry posts.
He's a troll, who merely posts garbage.
I appreciated your thoughtful post.

I don't have any association with the NRA.
BFC's inference that the NRA and KKK were sister organizations aroused by curiosity, so I examined the foundings of both, via research on the internet.
The KKK was founded by a former Confederate Brigadier General of cavalry and slavemaster, Nathan Bedford Forest, in Tennesee in 1866. Origionally, it was intended to be a secret social order. General Forest later dissavowed his association with the group, because it had become a violent terrorist organization. In 1871, the group's activities were outlawed when President Grant signed the "Klan Act" which outlawed the violent anti-civil rights activities of the group.
Whereas, the NRA was founded by two retired Union Army officers in New York (circa 1871), for the purpose of teaching young men marksmenship. These founders had been discouraged by the lack of shooting skills possessed by young recruits entering the Army of the Potomac during the war, and intended to promote rifle/pistol practice among citizens. This evolved into the Target matches which are annually held at Creedmore, NY. (to this day) and National Rifle matches at Camp Perry, Ohio.
I found that these verifiable facts were contrary to what Moore presented in his film. The KKK and NRA were NEVER associated in ANY way. Not only THAT, but the men who founded the NRA and their leadership were diametrically opposed to EVERYTHING which the Klan stood for. They were the polar opposites of what Moore insinuated in BFC.
If I (a little nobody) could find out these facts; why couldn't an award-winning documentary film producer, like Michael Moore?
(Because he is a liar...that's why.)
Isn't a documentary supposed to present/examine facts, rather than spread lies?

You are mistaken when you assume that Moore's film was intended to examine why white middle class teenagers shoot their classmates. He merely exploited the Columbine victims for the purpose of cheap laughs and to reinforce his preconceived notions about the "evil American industrial-military complex."
Moore pursues some idiotic notion that Lockheed's manufacture of Rockets in Littleton or U.S. foreign poilicy descisions had some bearing on Harris and Kliebold's violent actions. Facts contradict Moore's central thesis.
Neither Harris or Kliebold had ever voiced any concern about the bombing of Kosovo or Lockheed's activities.
However...They had;
-Been under treatment by mental health professionals and been prescribed anti-depressant drugs,
-Made previous violent/suidical threats
-Were obsessed with violent video games and music with violent lyrics
-Admired Adolf Hitler (the columbine massacre occured on the 110th anniversary of Hitler's birth)
-Had a club called the 'Trenchcoat Mafia'
-Posted violent/threatening messages on websites/emails
-Made violent home movies and recordings; where they discussed getting-even with Jocks and popular kids who teased them.
Moore discusses none of this; but makes his inane leap in logic to blame Lockheed's lawful activities as possible motiavation for this incident.
By the way, during World War II...Lockheed manufactured thousands of combat aircraft which were used by the allies to defeat Hitler's Reich (Harris and Kliebold's hero). Why would these two punks want to emulate the activities of a company whose products were used to defeat their big hero?
Moore owes the employees, owners, and management of Lockheed-Martin a great big apology.
True satire should be based on some element of truth, and not a pack of fucking lies.

Why are you amazed by a bank offering a sporting rifle or shotgun for opening a CD account?
It's not as if a bank robber is going to bring in $5,000., open an account, pose for the security cameras, fill-out federal firearms paperwork, recieve his "free" gun, load it and then use it to rob the very same bank.
For Chrissakes, they are bolt action deer rifles and shotguns...they aren't even suitable for a bank robbery. Besides, that same crook could take $150 and buy a cheap stolen pistol to use in a bank heist, why would he go to the trouble of obtaining the expensive gun from the bank's offering?
The North Country bank has had this offer for years and there have been no violent incidents recorded.
In reality; 50 to 55% of violent crimes in the U.S. are related to the illegal narcotics trade. Moore spends all that time and energy examining the activities of North Country Bank (where no crimes have occurred) and never mentions illegal drugs. Don't you see where his priorities are sort of misplaced?

Posted by: Craig on Nov 20, 03 | 5:05 pm
Access,
Your last sentence:
"because he wasn't doing a film about crime or criminals but about why white anglo saxons shoot up schools."

Those are incidents which rarely occurr. More teenagers are killed by lighning strikes than in school massacres. They are anomolies. During the film; Moore interviews Barry Glassner, who wrote the book "The Culture of Fear", where this observation is made. Yet, Moore contradicts the very points which Glassner makes. Moore's movie contributes to the very irrational culture of fear which is described in Glassner's book.

Posted by: Toastrider on Nov 20, 03 | 6:51 pm
What I'd like to see is a study or documentary examining how the media obsession with violence affects our daily lives and behavior.

We know -why- they push it; 'if it bleeds, it leads', and all that. I just wonder how it might affect us as a culture.

Then again, this line of reasoning might be too complex for Mr. Moore.

--Toasty

Posted by: Darkwing Dork on Nov 20, 03 | 6:58 pm
I also suggest reading "Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them" by James Garbarino which ignores the overhyped school shootings and focuses on the real tragedy in America, that of underpriviledged teenagers and why they turn to crime. Garbarino arrives at the conclusion that violence in America does not result from fear, it comes from deep psychological feelings of hopelessness as well as a build up of rage from years of parental neglect, abandonment and just poor parenting in general that does not teach children to repect others or life in general. Teens kill not out of fear, but apathy.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 7:16 pm
"Whereas, the NRA was founded by two retired Union Army officers in New York (circa 1871),...............The KKK and NRA were NEVER associated in ANY way. Not only THAT, but the men who founded the NRA and their leadership were diametrically opposed to EVERYTHING which the Klan stood for. They were the polar opposites of what Moore insinuated in BFC"
Well as I said, I believe Mike never insuinated the NRA was really linked with the KKK. I got the impression that since Moore had saterised all his examples (NRA, militia group etc), I believe it was said purely said for humours reasons. I was laughing my arse off, but never actually believed their was a connection, it was just ironic. I can definelty see that some gullible people would sit their take it on face value and BELIEVE what Moore said. My personal oppinion is that Moore never believed their was a connection, but said it for humurous reasons while still maintaining within the themes of his overal project. Whether this is appropriate in a documentory is up to speculation, but I never got the impression that he was saying their WAS a connection...

"rather than spread lies?"
I feel spreading lies is a little harsh in reguards to this topic, I feel he was making a joke. I can possible see how some people can have misinterpreted what he said, perhaps it was a problem in the exercution of the joke? That short animated film, had a "tounge-in-cheek" feel to the entire thing. I dont believe that the US history was quite that simplistic, nor do I think Americans solely got slaves because they were scared. However it was a nice overview which I felt was quite amusing, indeed I was LMAO. It is scary to think however that groups of people, take this (or indeed anything) on face value and believe that it is an accurate snippet of American History. Of course this is only my interpretation of the short film....

"You are mistaken when you assume that Moore's film was intended to examine why white middle class teenagers shoot their classmates. He merely exploited the Columbine victims for the purpose of cheap laughs and to reinforce his preconceived notions about the "evil American industrial-military complex.""
Well im not mistaken as such, I have a differing oppinion. I do feel Moore's film was only about addressing the boys motives.

"Moore pursues some idiotic notion that Lockheed's manufacture of Rockets in Littleton or U.S. foreign poilicy descisions had some bearing on Harris and Kliebold's violent actions"
Well once again I dont believe Moore was directly insinuating that it was Foreign Policy or the plant were directly blamed for the boys motivations.

I dont know how to word this next part, so bare with me, try to see that I am not assuming anything here, just the words arent flowing. All throughout the film, Moore gives examples of "commonly accepted violent entities". I feel he doesnt blame them as such, but just notifies the auidence of certain areas of US culture. Once again, I will use Australia as another example. Australia doesnt (whether USA have them is also up to speculation) have hairdressers where you can load guns, or banks that offer guns, or organisations like the NRA, or a history of chaotic foreign policy, or factories down the road that make equipment that guides missiles. And it is quite odd for a proportion of the audience that most of these examples are a little odd. (not right or wrong, just odd).

My interpretation of Bowling for Collumbine was that he wasnt blaming any of these examples as such, nor was it even a joint blame shared by each. I feel he was just taking small slices of US culture and blames a "culture of fear" for the boys actions, which he also insinuates (but never directly says) is the root cause of all the previous issues. However he doesnt as such, state the NRA or all the above is wrong or right, but implies (not says) the orgins of all these things can all be connected again to a "culture of fear". But whether you or I agree with his point is irrelevant. My interpretation throughout the entire film was that Moore didnt blame a single group entity or anything except a "culture of fear".

And I am sure this is where we differ. I feel the majority of the film was spent removing myths and getting the auidence used to the concept of a "culture of fear", my interpretation involves that he didnt blame anything or anyone else.

"They had;
-Been under treatment by mental health professionals and been prescribed anti-depressant drugs,
-Made previous violent/suidical threats
-Were obsessed with violent video games and music with violent lyrics
-Admired Adolf Hitler (the columbine massacre occured on the 110th anniversary of Hitler's birth)
-Had a club called the 'Trenchcoat Mafia'
-Posted violent/threatening messages on websites/emails
-Made violent home movies and recordings; where they discussed getting-even with Jocks and popular kids who teased them.
Moore discusses none of this; but makes his inane leap in logic to blame Lockheed's lawful activities as possible motiavation for this incident."
Once again, I feel he doesnt blame Lockheed. Nor does anything listed really lead to the cause of the boys actions, they are just description of what the boys do. If anything I feel Moore blames the majority of the above list on a "culture of fear", except the Video games and music, which he stresses exist in all countries and are not the cause. (whether you or I agree, is not important).

I believe Moore does insinuate (not says) that all the boys dark actions have roots in a "culture of fear" and to sit their and address all the boys dark actions and anti-social behaviours is outside the scope of his film. The list you presented are all charactestics of the boys, Moore only felt the need to analyse the motivation of the boys Murders not their other similar dark anti-social behavious. Personally I feel anlysing all the issues on your list would be redundant when we are already analysing the boys motivations for the Collumbine incident.

"By the way, during World War II...Lockheed manufactured thousands of combat aircraft which were used by the allies to defeat Hitler's Reich (Harris and Kliebold's hero). Why would these two punks want to emulate the activities of a company whose products were used to defeat their big hero?"
I am gonna take a stab in the dark, but because they A) Dont know, B) Dont care. I did a study a few years ago in psychology about people idolising Criminals and Murderes. You will find many people openly admit to an affiliation or a "kin-ship" with figures of power. Hitler, Ned Kelly (he was idolised before the world started believing he was a repressed Irishman), Jack the Ripper, Martin Brian. The aproach I took with the study was that the majority of people who have "kin-ship" with these entities generally know nothing about them, and only feel the kin-ship because it is "cool" to be alternative and like the bad guy and it is "cool" to BE the bad guy.

My Interpretation of Moores work is that he points the finger at a "culture of fear" for the reason so many more people in the US feel a "kin-ship" with such individuals. No one (including Moore) is argueing it doesnt happen outside of the US. (argueable) It does, just not as ofen, or at least not at the extremes of actually acting on murdeous urges.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 7:20 pm
"Moore owes the employees, owners, and management of Lockheed-Martin a great big apology. True satire should be based on some element of truth, and not a pack of fucking lies."
Once again that is your oppinion, and of course if you take my approach then Moore doesnt blame Lockheed which obviously results in no need for an appology. However if I shared your oppinion then I can see why you would feel he does.
Also even IF Moore blamed Lockheed in his film (which I dont believe he did), that still doesnt equate to lying in refference to this single event.

"Those are incidents which rarely occurr. More teenagers are killed by lighning strikes than in school massacres."
Why dos it matter whether an incident occurs rarely? Someone who does a study about serial killers for example should be criticised that "Serial Killers are rare". I believe an incident still should be investigated even if it occurs rarely or is as you say an "anomolies".

"Moore's movie contributes to the very irrational culture of fear which is described in Glassner's book."
Well that is your oppinion, but I feel investigating the boys motivations doesnt spread fear. (but once again that is really irrelevant to the discussion).

"Why are you amazed by a bank offering a sporting rifle or shotgun for opening a CD account?
It's not as if a bank robber is going to bring in $5,000., open an account, pose for the security cameras, fill-out federal firearms paperwork, recieve his "free" gun, load it and then use it to rob the very same bank."
The main reason is because I have never actually seen a gun nor do I know anyone who owns one, except a few police man whom I assume carry weapons, however have never seen one. So the premise that a bank issues guns is quite odd to me and to a large proportion to the auidence.

"The North Country bank has had this offer for years and there have been no violent incidents recorded.
In reality; 50 to 55% of violent crimes in the U.S. are related to the illegal narcotics trade. Moore spends all that time and energy examining the activities of North Country Bank (where no crimes have occurred) and never mentions illegal drugs. Don't you see where his priorities are sort of misplaced?"
The reason it is odd, is not because it leads to violence, it is simply odd for a bank to issue guns. Now I am trying to understand your message. From the looks of things you assume Moore was attacking the bank, and even blaming the bank issueing guns for murders. Both of which I believe involves a huge leap of logic. My interpretation involves Moore not blaming any of these examples he brings up. More only presents snippits of US cultural examples to accomodate for the idea of a "culture of fear". Whether you or I agree with Moores premise is also outside the scope of our discussion.

I believe the North Country Bank is worth bringing up because it it another example of something that is quite odd and violent in nature (i dont mean it leads to violences, just that it involves weapons). I feel he doesnt blame the Bank for anything nor does he blame the narcotics trade nor vidoe games nor the NRA, nor Lockheed, nor race, nor religion nor anything else. I believe he solely blames a "culture of fear", whether you agree with his conclusion is not relevant.
However I can see how approaching Moores film from your angle can offend, and even upset you on certain issues. However I believe Moore never intended the film to be taken the way you have taken it. Now neither you or I have examined whether we like the film or not, (i would assume you didnt like it), however that as you know is irrelevant to our discussion. However what has become blazzingly clear to me is that we have interpreted the film in two completely different ways. Both are valid, and each party believes their oppinion is right. However one thing remains true, if you interpreted the film as I have then many of the "issue" you raise hold no merrit, and if I had interpreted the film the way you have, then many of your complaints would seem resonable.

Thankyou for taking the time to read my long posts, it is always quite an effort. And thankyou for not treating someone with a different oppinion as a negative. Neither of us denies that Moores maniuplates the camera to suit his message, I am not questioning that. Their is great merrit in a Moore Watch. Most entities are self regulated or have coorganisationts to regulate them. Independant organisations that watch the media and high light half truths and lies, generally give Moore a license to bullshit, which of course is not accetpable. So groups getting together to monitor others is not only important but vital!

However I am beginning to understand why you personally can be offended by what you belive Moore implied in "Bowling for Collumbine". The one thing to remember however is that the interpretation of the film is clearly not monolithic with a portion sharing a variation of my interpretation, and another group with a variation of your oppinion.

Be sure to note though, that if everyone shared your interpretation of the film -- it would of flopped, and dispite what you may beieve a large portion of the audience appreicated it, if not liked Moores film. I think you will find that the people who enjoyed the film interpreted the film in a variation of the way I have, and conversely the people who hated the film, most likely shared a variation of your interpretation. Be sure to note that if I and the audience believed your interpretation then we would also want Moores balls on a platter.


- Access

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 7:28 pm
Darkwing,

"Garbarino arrives at the conclusion that violence in America does not result from fear, it comes from deep psychological feelings of hopelessness as well as a build up of rage from years of parental neglect, abandonment and just poor parenting in general that does not teach children to repect others or life in general. Teens kill not out of fear, but apathy."

You may be right, Moore may be right, that is outside the scope of our discussion. I wasnt saying I agree with Moores conclusion, nor do I care. The only thing I am raising is that I felt the film bowling for Collumbine was about the motivations of the children who committed the Collumbine incident. Whether Moore is right in his interpretation is irrelevant. Anyone who believs I am saying anything else is misunderstanding what I was saying and should -reread my post in its entireity. But I am interested in hearing your oppinions? But please no trolling.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 7:30 pm
Oh and incidently, thanks Darkwing I will give that book you suggested a read, sounds good.

Posted by: Darkwing Dork on Nov 20, 03 | 8:41 pm
Possibly. Bowling for Columbine biggest success is in showing wacky people, and how many are not far removed from the rest of us. But in my own opinion it just barely touches on the causes of school shootings and instead focuses on fear itself.

Moore never interviewed the parents of Harris and Klebold, or the mother of the boy who shot the girl in Flint. We don't know why they did it (at least within this film). To his "credit," Moore did talk to two Columbine victims, but we didn't learn much from them personally and instead their whole segment became a personal quest against K-Mart.

Likewise, Moore needed a central villan for his film like Roger Smith in his first movie, and he made Charlton Heston an disproportionate figurehead to the story. Heston's shortcomings aside, it was not a good way to end the movie.

Bowling for Columbine ultimately succeeded in the fact that it has brought the gun issue to the forefront of many issues, but I suppose it should also be pointed out that school shootings remain rare, in fact I don't believe one has occurred in the US for quite some time now. I hate to downplay the tragedy, but let's face it, school shootings are a rare occurance. Really though, Moore's theory about fear is no more valid than any other excuse people cooked up.

Here, I'll make one up myself. The outbreak of school shootings in the late 90s is the result of an entire decade of anti-authority vibes in Hollywood, the music industry and elsewhere. Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, Rage against the Machine and White Zombie are to blame for the loosening of morals in that decade.

Posted by: Darkwing Dork on Nov 20, 03 | 8:45 pm
P.S. You're welcome. A word of warning about the book though: Garbarino, like most psychologists, speaks in that learned psychobabble filled with professional jargon and the like, though he does explain a lot of it. And to his credit, he has actually spent decades talking to teenage and young adult murderers, and it is jarring to here him tell their stories of neglect and rejection they felt at the hands of their parents.

Now this doesn't excuse their killings, it just helps put things in perspective.

Posted by: Theron on Nov 20, 03 | 9:25 pm
Moore pursues some idiotic notion that Lockheed's manufacture of Rockets in Littleton or U.S. foreign poilicy descisions had some bearing on Harris and Kliebold's violent actions.

No, I think that whole segment on Lockheed was more of a bringing to light the irony of the situation that these two kids committed the worst school shooting in American history, and it just so happens to be in the town of the world's largest weapons maker. And yes, I know that they now shoot missiles for other purposes, but they aren't known for that, but rather for the aforementioned.

As for some of the claims concerning the shooters that "they had an obsession with violent video games and music" and were "in a club called the trench coat mafia," all I have to say is, so what? About a million other kids in this country listen to violent music and play violent video games as well. If these really had an effect on children, then those children would also resort to similar behavior. Trench Coat Mafia? They were outcasts, who didn't fit in with any other social group, so they in turn formed their own to have some sense of identity in a place that seemed to isolate them. Who cares if they wore big black trench coats? It's just cloathing. Sure they called it a Mafia, but realize it was most likely their way of expressing their differences between themselves and others. What better way to do it then to form a club that sounds dark and mysterious? It was simply their way of dealing with rejection and loneliness.

No one REALLY knows why they did what they did. Sure we can speculate until our face turns blue, but that doesn't really do much good. In the end it just places the blame on some figure or entity in our society that really had nothing to do with it, we just need a reason to understand why people would do such a thing. Of course, no one can accept the notion that people are people, and they had problems no one else could understand, and that maybe, just maybe, we all need to look at ourselves for once to figure out what the hell is wrong with the world.

Posted by: NukeChild on Nov 20, 03 | 10:46 pm
Who cares if they wore big black trench coats? It's just cloathing.

So your argument is that there was no symbolism behind the clothing?

Sure they called it a Mafia, but realize it was most likely their way of expressing their differences between themselves and others.

You are right, so what that they idolized Hitler or revealed in violence.

It was simply their way of dealing with rejection and loneliness.

So what?


Posted by: Vicelove on Nov 20, 03 | 11:32 pm
Wow, to hear you guys critique BFC, it seems like the movie did nothing but subtely whisper every half scene or so the phrase "culture of fear". Almost like a subliminal message.

Seriously, if his movie had little to do with any of the above subjects except when he wants to infer that we live in a culture of fear (which we don't, the whole concept makes me laugh uncontrollably), then why does the guy deserve an oscar for a documentary that A) was comedic, yet unfunny; B) wasn't about the things he showed all throughout the film except where they might slightly coincide with an overarching theory that apparantly doesn't need direct evidence, only nuance; and C) is filled with complete fabrications, misguided or otherwise made-up statistics that have no basis in fact yet people foolishly believe after watching the film, and doesn't fit the academy's or any accredited associations schematics for a documentary, let alone an oscar award winning documentary? Sorry for the run on.

Posted by: Wheels on Nov 20, 03 | 11:34 pm
I'll invite everyone here to take a look through my CD collection. It starts with Linkin Park, and after progressing through Blood For Blood, Mudvayne, Metallica, Korn, Staind, Smile Empty Soul, E-Town Concrete, Papa Roach and Slipknot, you'll see it's not exactly the world's most positive music. I also mostly play violent games such as GTA3, Unreal Tournament, Rainbow Six etc. I had very few friends at school, received threats and was constantly on the end of bullying. What's more, I know I'm not alone with my experiences, and millions more of us will be put through misery like this - it's an unfortunate aspect of many people. But I didn't shoot up my school, although I often wonder what it would be like if someone did.

I believe that when you push anyone over the edge, and they think they have no hope/future to look forward to, they're going to snap, just like Harris and Klebold. How they snap depends, but if they were even half as angry and fearful of living on as they have been made out to be, I can understand what they did, although it still doesn't make it right.

I just wish people would stop blaming games, movies and music for high school massacres. Obviously it's not the people over at Rockstar Games, Roadrunner Records or New Line Cinema who made the Columbine killers snap. If you really have to point the blame elsewhere, look at the things that go on in schools.

Like this...
What I read in the Orlando Sentinel was a story about a bus driver, Harry Diaz, who was fired for high-fiving kids that rode his bus after he watched them smear dog shit all over a kids clothes and even into the child’s mouth on the way home.

Now I know this doesn't go on everywhere, but when people learn to lay the fuck off people like Eric Harris, maybe he won't go anywhere near as ballistic.

Maybe you could blame his friends who sold him weapons. They probably should have had some idea that they were planning this and this was the reasons for getting weapons like he did. They had an 18 year old friend buy three guns for them, plus bought others illegally off two men, one of whom served 6 months behind bars and another who was only recently paroled.
Source regarding parole, Source for attaining weapons.

Well, that's my two cents. Oh, one more thing... Michael Moore needs to stop extorting victims for some easy money. It's kinda low.

Posted by: Access on Nov 20, 03 | 11:37 pm
Theron, despite being preachy towards the end I agree with you on many points.

NukeChild, your missing the point, Theron was just saying that you cant blame the collumbine masacre on the fact they were in a Trench Coat mafia, or because they played video games or listend to music.

Honestly though, the anti social behaviors these people extrute has a cause, by blaming the Masacre on the fact they joined a Trench Coat mafia, or played video games is simplistic. Sure they were involved in a Trench Coat mafia, but something CAUSED them to join the trench coat mafia, by simply blaming the Trench Coats it doesnt even get to the root of the problem.

Moore had an attempt at explaining what he thought caused these boys to commit the masacre. James Garbarino wrote Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn Violent and How We Can Save Them" with another view. Their are countless oppinions, and honestly throughout Bowling for Collumbine the person who made the most sense to me was Marylin Manson. Moore: "If you could say anything to the Collumbine boys what would you say?" Manson: "I wouldnt say anything, I would just listen... thats the one thing no one did to these boys" (to paraphrase).

Personally I havnt come across an explination of why these boys caused the Collumbine insident that sits well with me, and I feel the problem is much more complex then most approaches I have seen. So NukeChild no need for an attack. Yes these boys idolised Hitler.... but some root problem caused them to idolise Hitler, and worship violence and join a Trench Coat Madia. The real question is what it is? Moore gave an attempt.... he wont be the last to add their theories onto the pile. I have some personal theories myself, however everyone should make up their own mind.

Posted by: NukeChild on Nov 20, 03 | 11:55 pm
I am not missing the point. The problem is that people are examining each issue individually and then discounting it as a reason. I am not so simplistic as to blame trench-coats or video games, however when all the individual issues are combined together, we see a definite problem. So, when I see a kid in a trench-coat, I will take a mental note, but not really act on it. If I later learn that the kid worships Hitler and has violent delusional fantasies, well, I think we can all agree that we might need to tell someone about it.

By itself, videogames are not a problem. By itself, music is not a problem. By itself, bad fashion sense is not a problem. By itself, a lot of things are not a problem, but when you combine everything together, you have a situation that can not be ignored or trivialized.

Posted by: Access on Nov 21, 03 | 12:18 am
Yes good point NukeChild, but what causes a Kid to like all those things..... what causes a child to become fixated with Death... to love music about death... to only like Video games about death... to want to dress all in black... what causes a person to feel the most oppriate next step in their life is to grab a gun and shoot up a school....

Something causes white anglo-saxon 16 - 18 males who live in suburbia to pick up a gun and cause havok...... their habbits dont cause them to kill..... taking a step backwards and looking at it.... something in turn causes children to be fixated with death, leading to hobbies about death... which in extreme cases (very rare) causes some to kill....

Several approaches some just claim they are all mentally disturbed to begin with, some blame no prayer in schools, some blame doom, some blame Manson, some blame drugs, some blame a culture of fear, some blame the parents, same blame the breakdown of the nuclear family, some blame their diets, some blame they were spanked as children.......

However argueing about this will get us no where.... it is a far to complex an issue to bring to fruition in writing and I dont have the time or patience.

The only thing my posts have revolved around was my belief that Micheal Moore for better or for worse made "Bowling for Collumbine" a film about his oppinion that squarely and solely blamed a "Culture of Fear" for the Collumbine incident. This of course its a tad too simplistic for me, but that is outside the scope of my intended discussion.

Posted by: Darkwing Dork on Nov 21, 03 | 6:19 am
If you want to know what causes violence in children, don't watch "Bowling for Columbine," watch "Over the Edge" instead. That movie places the blame squarely where it belongs, on neglectful parenting.

Posted by: Cigarskunk on Nov 21, 03 | 6:50 am
Oh I'm sorry, didn't you understand the statistics in Bowling For Columbine,
over ten thousand of your citizens die every year through the fact guns are freely available and your gun control policies seem that they are lacking in the control department, in my home, England it is under one hundred.

Like you Yanks say, "Do the math"


OH! Lets!

Moore very conviently didn't include this info -

The FBI report in excess of 1 million defensive uses of firearms in the US every year (unlike England, it's legal to defend yourself in America, so these are all legal acts).

The FBI also reports that 5% of all crimes result in the death of the victim.

5% of 1 million crimes prevented = 50,000 lives saved.

10,000 lives lost (mind you, this figure include criminals killed in self defence)
minus 50,000 lives saved
equals a net value of negative 40,000 murders a year in the US

So essentially, the US murder rate is zero - thanks to guns, we save five times more people then we lose.

If Mike could snap his fingers and cause every legally owned and registered gun in the US to poof then he'd cause an additional 1 million crimes and raise our murder rate to 60,000 a year. He must REALLY hate America if he wants that.

I believe he saterised Charleton Heston not because he owns Guns or runs the NRA, but because he felt it wasnt insensitive to lead the NRA to that town where the murders took place. Admittedly Charleton said they probably couldnt of changed their destination (which the audience is skeptical of anways), however refused to admit to any remorse in the decision. Whether you or I agree with Charleton's decision not to appologise for visiting that town is irrelevant, the point however is that he saterised Charleton for visiting the town.


SPUTTER!!!!!!

You @#$% chuckleheaded idiot!!!!!!!! Did you even bother to read the text of the actual speach and see that Mike actually intentionally cut out every part of the speech which you just critisized him for not saying????

That's why we're so mad at Moore - he DELIBERATELY does crap like this so ignoramiouses such as yourself think what he wants you to think!!!!

Well the first thing, is the film can only be so long, and the majority of the information listed above doesnt add or subtract anything away from his arguement. My oppinion of what Moore was trying to do was give insight into what causes Children to shoot up their schools... more specficially, the Collumbine Incident. (hence the title.. :P).


And the fact that the cartoon stopped being the least bit accurate after the first three seconds is totally irrelevent I assume. After all, if you're trying to prove a point and the truth would only contradict said point, you've gotta lie now, right?

being able to buy amunition at a shopping centre


It's getting hard to tell if you're deliberately trolling or just a moron - Mike bought the "violent ammo" in "peaceful Canada" - and just as a side note, him having done so violates numberous Canadian gun control laws - that means that he either faked the scene or committed atleast 3 felonies - even more depending on what he did with the ammo afterwards.

Any I can very well see if you have an affiliation with either the NRA or the Maltia group how one could be offended. However similar groups do not exist in Australia or the UK


That's because your governments don't trust thier subjects with guns.

Bowling demonstrates one possible reason why White Anglo Saxon people locked away in suburbs end up causing incidents like the Collumbine one


Wrong - Bowling demonstrates how to do a propaganda peice in order to distort the truth and further your political beliefs. More people get killed by lightning in the US every year then killed in school shootings. Additionally, what Moore doesn't tell you is that the two kids that did the shootings had a long record of criminal behavior and that if a liberal judge hadn't sent them to "anger management" instead of juvey hall as was recomended, they would have never been around to have stolen the guns and ammo to perform the attrocity.

Showing possitives qualities of the NRA would not help highlight why White kids go on masacres nor would it weaken it,


Correct - because that would demonstrate that the NRA and the 2nd Amendment had nothing to do with the slaughter - very inconvient if one is trying to create an anti gun sentiment.

Because he wasnt doing a film about crime, or criminals but about why white anglo saxons shoot up schools.


Really - it seemed to me that the film started out trying to tell us that "guns are bad, hm-kay" but then drifted towards "Americans are bad."

and some extreme Conservatives see it as an example of "anti-American filth".


And why exactly does one have to be an extreme conservative to feel this way about a film made by a man who constantly slams America? I think any reasonable person can take a look at the America bashing in the film, take a look at Moore's constant American bashing here and overseas and make the conclusion that he's bashing America - only an extremist would think otherwise.

All your interpretations are valid, I just dont believe those. I believe that the film "Bowling for Collumbine" was about why white Kids in America seem to be doing a lot of masacres in their schools lately. Nothing more nothing less.

What do you think?


Invalid - Mike didn't bother covering the destruction of the basic family unit, the liberal refusal to disciplin children, the left's destruction of personal responsibility, morals and ethics, nor the liberal judge that sent these kids to therapy even though they had been deamed a threat to society.

You need to take these things into account - Mike only decided that guns were the problem and that's what he mainly focused on with a few dashes of America bashing to fill in the rest of the time.

Why do people on this site still say the main emphasis of BFC was anti-gun? It's kind of hard to leave the movie without the idea, but it focused way more on culture.


Simple, because America is unique in that guns ARE a part of our culture - yes, the Swiss make it mandatory to own a gun and the Isrealis have to own guns due to a minor problem with being surrounded by people trying to murder them 24/7, but America is a country that grew up with guns as an integral part of our culture.

Ask someone to name you a gun - chances are that they will name an American gun. Think of the revolver - your first thought is probobly of a colt revolver from the American west. Try to name some famous marksmen and you will think of Americans.

Guns were even part of our rights of passage for the longest time - a boy took his first step to being a man when his father gave him his first rifle or took him on his first hunt. When a patriarc passed away, the most precious heirlooms (emotional, not money) where inevitably his guns - many American families have guns that are still in fully functional condition and are anywhere from 50-100+ years old.

So as Americans, we see Mike's attacks upon both America and firearms as both happening at once in BfC.

Posted by: Craig on Nov 21, 03 | 7:59 am
I never assumed a cause-and-effect relationship between violent music lyrics, strange clothes, or violent video games and the actions of Harris and Klebold, but I was merely demonstrating that neither of the perps ever mentioned Lockheed or U.S. foregin policy in any of their internets postings, tape recordings, or home movies.
Yet,
Moore turns Lockheed into the central culprit, even though neither of the killers or their parents had ANY association with Lockheed or expressed any interest in Lockheed's manufacturing activities. In this case, Moore is guilty of the very scapegoating which he accuses other of. His Lockheed premise is just as stupid as the Bowling reasoning which he disparagingly mentioned earlier.
Moore departs on this Lockheed tangent and completely ignores other much more relevant facts;
the two youths had previously committed other crimes,
Both had been under the care of mental health professionals,
Both had previously expressed violent/suicidal tendancies,
Both had expressed admiration for Hitler,
Both had previously threatened other students,
Both had made violence-laced recordings, internet postings, and home movies...
despite ALL THIS, they were allowed to obtain weapons, ammunition, and explosives in large quantities; without either of their parents' knowledge or concern. Moore NEVER attempts to ask the parents even ONE question, because he spent his entire film-time harrassing some Lockheed PR hack, pestering an unfortunate Kmart employee, and ambushing Charleton Heston in his home.
One of the few cogent statements in the entire film is from Marilyn Manson.
When Moore asked Manson what he would say to Klebold and Harris, Manson replies;
"I wouldn't say anything, I would listen to them. That's what nobody did."
That's very profound, but Moore, stupidly, does not even pursue it further.
Why should Moore delve any further? He's already made up his mind about what will be in his movie, and pursuing truth and reason doesn't suit his purposes.


Posted by: Wheels on Nov 21, 03 | 10:38 pm
I'm suprised Moore even put that quote in the film, Craig. I would have thought he wouldn't have included anything that remotely resembled a point of view that wasn't exactly his.

Posted by: Fred Masters on Nov 23, 03 | 4:20 pm
Access: I really enjoy your posts. I think you equivocate sometimes, and perhaps give too little credit to the morality or even just the honesty or logic of either the American people or the government who represent them (and this stings a bit, as an American), I hope you keep posting here. However...

You are buying into the "legit" face of Moore, and BFC. Some other, notable "legit" ideas are:

Guns shouldn't be taken from law-abiding citizens because to do so would only increase violent crime-NRA

Reverse racism, or counter racism, or anything that supposedly helps minorities by targeting whites for discrimination ultimately hurts everyone-KKK

Free Trade is one of the most important, positive things in our world. But the WTO must accept transperancy in their negotiating practices-Anti-WTO organizations.

Many intelligent people could think those things. However...

The reality:

*bang!* *bang!* YEE-HA! Let's kill some rats!-NRA

As above, but replace rats with niggers-KKK

Free trade is evil man, it takes away our humanity, it has to be stopped, it makes people poor, and destroys America man, greed man, it is destroying us all man....may-an....-Anti-WTO organizations.

The fact is that Moore might use statements like yours as examples of what BFC "really" meant, when talking to intelligent people, it doesn't reflect reality. Moore has written before that he wishes to destroy the NRA, and many of the statements on his website seem strongly to go against your intelligent, logical statements, and towards what so many people think BFC was about. Also, look at his statement about 9/11. He was shocked that no amount of gun control laws would have stopped this. Why? Because he thinks gun control laws stop crime. Of course, after this, he switched to paying attention to Bush. But if you look back, at BFC, before this point in the movie (it was made in a very linear fashion), it doesn't hold a hint of the end of the movie (the part in Canada) in it, it never really looks at the idea that guns might -not- be the problem. After this, Moore is sort of making a different movie, about problems in America in general, not -really- guns. Before this, he was making a movie about how guns were the cause of violent crime in America, and afterwards, he was clearly in some kind of shock at the idea that guns might not be the problem. I know many people who looked at the movie and thought Moore wasn't anti-gun because of the end of the movie, but that is realy because Moore made two movies, spliced together roughly, not because he is anti-gun. He talks about how America has more violent crime (both in the movie and on his website) than other nations that, for example, like violent media. But then he only looks at school attacks. And then, he goes to another nation, where school attacks are also common, and points it out as being "fine". The truth is that putting rich kids of any race in a high school ultimately leads to school violence, pretty much period. I still remember the Japanese school knife-attack that killed more people than Columbine.

What I really think you are doing is looking for the logic in the movie, and finding some perfectly intelligent points. The problem is, you assume Moore meant to make those points, and not attack guns. I really think you are giving him far too much credit. From his website and the movie, he has said that getting rid of the NRA would decrease crime, he has said that violent crime among blacks isn't a problem (when it definitely is) in that it is overreported and even lied about (both are blatantly false. On the day the Columbine shootings happened, around 30 black people were killed. None of their deaths were reported nationally, and I'd wage that few were even locally reported). The fact is that he believes the things the dumbest of his supporters and most detractors think. Think also of the fact that he has received significant cash from groups devoted to gun control. Either you must believe he believes that guns are themselves the problem, or your must realize he is a horrible hypocrit with little or no point to be made. Just think about that before the next time you support him or say that BFC wasn't anti-gun, please.

Posted by: dwarfmonkey on Nov 25, 03 | 6:28 pm
Fred, you stated:
Before this, he was making a movie about how guns were the cause of violent crime in America, and afterwards, he was clearly in some kind of shock at the idea that guns might not be the problem.

And stated further:
He talks about how America has more violent crime (both in the movie and on his website) than other nations that, for example, like violent media

I realize that you are writing in reference to what Moore believes and says and not what you are saying, but I wanted to address these two points specifically.

According to the net research that I have been doing America does not have a higher rate of violent crime than other nations, we in fact, have a lower rate of violent crime. What we do have is a greater amount of gun related crime. I do not know that Moore would argue that America has more violent crime than other nations, as this would be, according to all the studies I have found, preposterous.

According to what I have found, Britain, Australia, and several other nations, all have a greater percentage of their citizenry affected by violent crime each year than America does.Interesting Comparisons from '77 to '93, Link for Australian crime rate, as of '99, and finally, Generally interesting ideas and facts on gun control and ownership.

I know one of these comes from a conservative news agency, the second one I'm not sure if there is a political motivation to, and the third one, though I have not found any statement by them, I believe is from a conservative think tank, so yes, they may have some level of bias, but I still found them to be fairly accurate.

Posted by: Fred Masters on Nov 25, 03 | 8:37 pm
Height-challenged monkey: America has more murders, per capita. True, fewer other violent crimes occur in America, per capita, but this is offset wildly by our murder rates. Sorry to say that, but it is true.

Posted by: dwarfmonkey on Nov 25, 03 | 9:14 pm
True we have a higher murder rate, and you cannot simply dismiss that. I grant that. However, even including our murder rate, our national violent crime rate still does not make the top 10 list. I'm not saying, "Go USA lead the murders and down with other violent crime!" I'm simply saying that we cannot say that America has a culture of violence when other nations are more violent than we are. We have a nation that has more murders, so perhaps our violent criminals are more apt to murder, but on average we are less likely to be violent. Which I think is a point worth bringing up.

Thank you for the kindness of recognizing my height-challenged state. Its good to be short, in a coal mine I'm one of the few people who does not have to duck to avoid hitting my head on the overhead lights.

Posted by: Exp on Nov 27, 03 | 3:23 am
monkey says:"I'm simply saying that we cannot say that America has a culture of violence when other nations are more violent than we are. We have a nation that has more murders, so perhaps our violent criminals are more apt to murder, but on average we are less likely to be violent."

do you think this tendency would change if the criminals would have a more difficult access to guns?

Maybe

Posted by: Exp on Nov 27, 03 | 3:28 am
monkey saysç."I'm simply saying that we cannot say that America has a culture of violence when other nations are more violent than we are. We have a nation that has more murders, so perhaps our violent criminals are more apt to murder, but on average we are less likely to be violent."

So there are a lot of people that would not commit a minor crime, but you have more people that commit the capital crime? Why is that? Access to guns have anything to do with it?

Maybe

Posted by: Fred Masters on Dec 05, 03 | 9:58 pm
Exp:
No, legal gun ownership isn't the problem, when you look at how many of the guns that are used by criminals are illegally imported. Also, it seems like the genie and the bottle, -how- do you put it back in? Canada's registration system has actually increased crime, by making it profitable to bring guns into Canada so the government can buy them at above-market values.

And another thing, America leads in non-gun murders as well. Sorry to say this, but our criminals really are just more likely to kill (mostly each other) than rape or assault or steal (compared to others, at the least).



Add your comments

Click to format text (requires Javascript): Bold | Italic | Link


Characters remaining: Notify you when someone replies to this post?