: Thoughts on Bowling for Columbine
Oct 27th, 2002, 02:54 AM
I just saw Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine. The film is sort of a documentary on firearms in the U.S. and the Columbine shooting. Anyway, I wanted to know what people thought of the movie and Moore's hypothesis on guns in the U.S.
My understanding was that the U.S. Media induces fear and fear leads to consumption and paranoia. This all amounts to to over 11,000 gun deaths a year. That's signficantly more than any other industrial nation!
I find a lot of what Moore was suggesting interesting but I don't think his hypothesis was elaborate or sophistocated enough. Also he over-idealizes Canada as a friendly safe-haven (oh yeah! keep stroking our egos!).
Oct 27th, 2002, 04:20 AM
Michael Moore is a very thought-provoking and interesting filmmaker. I thouroughly enjoyed his "Roger and Me".
He is also a VERY strange man.
He is a multi-millionaire who, like most of the socialist elite, lives like a king while making big cash off promoting the ideals of the left. He says we should all be equal...but he, himself, is far from "working class". There is a certain hypocracy at work here, if you choose to look a little bit closer at his life.
He is also a "fact checkers nightmare". He makes wild statements about Canada that are patently untrue. In "Canadian Bacon" he said ...."Canadians get a FREE university education from the government" and in "Bowling for Columbine" he claimed that "there are no ghettos or slums in Canadian cities and no one gets killed by handguns!"
All of these statements are totally false....ask anyone who lives in Vancouver, fer gosh sakes! And he KNOWS they are false.
But the American public....or a certain leftish segment of it...eats this stuff up. And he gets richer every time they do.
There is no question that the US population has a certain fascination with firearms. I can understand this in the more rural areas, but it has no place in the major cities. It is an unfortunate relic of their frontier past....and not entirely a good thing. To say the least.
Interestingly enough, the major cities in the USA have VERY strict gun laws (Almost NOBODY is legally allowed to carry a handgun in Washington D.C. or Chicago or New York City)....and yet, almost all of the violent handgun deaths in the US are committed in these cities that have strict gun laws.
At any rate, I think that Michael Moore is an asset because he exposes some facets of our North American society that we sometimes take for granted. He pokes fun at the basics, he shows us how we really are, and that's ALWAYS worth a watch. Monty Python were great at this in mid-seventies England, and we still enjoy some of it today. Michael Moore has taken this same formula and put a modern twist on it for contemporary America. He holds a mirror up to his own people and says " Look! We're a bunch of friggin IDIOTS!!"
Most of us see something familiar and laugh. It's a pretty good giggle.....as long as you don't take his facts TOO seriously.
I don't, however, consider him to be a pillar of wisdom....more like a distorted and slightly demented clown who, occaisionally, strumbles across a nugget of truth. Despite himself. While trying to make a buck.
(he mostly succeeds at making a buck....and from the very same people that he is pointing and laughing at)
Sounds like a good capitalist to me! tongue.gif
Oct 27th, 2002, 08:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> Most of us see something familiar and laugh. It's a pretty good giggle.....as long as you don't take his facts TOO seriously. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Funny are you talking about Moore or yourself Macnutt?
I am so sick of people making the assumption that just because someone is successful they are automatically a sell out. Moore is one the last TRUE whistle-blowers out there. I recently met him at a local film festival where he spoke before his Columbine film. He is not at all like how he protrays himself on film. He is a deep thinker who has a fire in his belly against corporate America. The man welled up just talking about the injustices that go on daily without check.
He admits his film protrays Canada as a 'false utopia' and says 'this film was made for Americans NOT Canadians". He made it as a wake up call and as a warning of what Americans could have.
Speaking to your ignorant statement,
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> "there are no ghettos or slums in Canadian cities and no one gets killed by handguns!"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
That was NEVER said. He shows us an example of a 'canadian slum' in comparison to a American slum.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I don't, however, consider him to be a pillar of wisdom....more like a distorted and slightly demented clown who, occaisionally, strumbles across a nugget of truth.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Moore uses humor and exageration to hit home the big picture. Have you ever been to large American CIty? Compare it to poor ol' Vancouver or Toronto. I am not saying our 'slums arn't bad but look at the world from his eyes. And look at what he is trying to do.
It's very easy to call him a clown. But if you think about it he is brillaint in the way he sneeks under peoples radar and catches them unawair. HE had Heston fooled.
Moore is far more (no pun intended) than "Roger and Me". He uses his documentary style to show a greater truth and far more than you can absorb or ever understand.This is apparent by your words.
Oct 27th, 2002, 09:28 AM
I find Moore very refreshing. He does play fast and loose with "facts", but as he says, this is "muckracking journalism," intended to make us think / reflect / debate. He is _always_ entertaining.
I loved his "TV Nation" and "The Awful Truth" series, both unfortunately no longer on the air. His solution for New York's homelessness problem (put 'em into self-storage, the daily rate of which for safe secure shelter is lower than the daily amount spent by the state on half-assed programmes to support homeless shelters, etc.).
Haven't had a chance to see "Bowling..." yet, but I'm interested to hear what Heston has to say... a report in the local paper indicates that he makes some rather interesting connections between gun violence and anyone who isn't white....
For those who haven't seen it yet, Moore's website is full of fun / interesting / enraging stuff: http://www.michaelmoore.com
Oct 27th, 2002, 03:24 PM
Heston reveals his racist views during the semi-Socratic dialogue between himself and Moore. Moore asks why the U.S. has a much higher number of gun-related deaths in comparison to other industrialized nations. Heston first chalks it up to America's history and then he lets slip that it's due to the U.S.'s "ethnicity." That is pretty much the end of the conversation for Heston. He gets that look in his eyes like "Oh **** that's going to be bad for the NRA PR. . ." He then begins to walk away.
The beautiful thing is that Heston admits his racist views with little prompting. Moore does not bring the issue up directly but simply keeps asking "Why?"
Oct 28th, 2002, 04:13 AM
Okay, fair enough dibenga....I did make an ignorant statement about Michael Moore's latest movie "Bowling for Columbine".
I have not yet seen the movie. We don't have a lot of movie theatres here on Salt Spring, and I was planning to watch it on video or satellite when it showed up there. I'm actually looking forward to it, and I usually watch all of Michael Moore's movies just as soon as they come out.
The reference I made (no ghettos in Canada) was gleaned from two different newspaper reviews of "Bowling for Columbine" and not from my personal viewing of his latest work. For that, I apologise. I should have waited untill I had seen it for myself.
However....having seen all of his previous works I was already to accept his usual twisting of the true facts (some people have called them outright lies) and so I took it as gospel (from BOTH newspaper reviews) that he was continuing his tradition of misstatements. Especially when he refers to Canada. He is, as you may be already aware, very well known for this behavior.
I can well understand why you would be outraged by my somewhat disparaging observations of what you describe as a "whistleblower". What I am curious about is this.....Why, if there is a REAL problem that needs to be dealt with, does he have to make false statements about it?
Is the problem not really a problem unless he "embellishes" it a bit? If not....then why would we need a "whistleblower" in the first place? (Except for entertainment value) Can these obvious inequities not stand on their own merit, without a public gadfly making up falsehoods in order to bring them to the forefront of our conciousness?
If not...then why not?
There is no debate at all about two simple facts here:
1)Michael Moore, in every single piece of his work has twisted facts, changed timelines, omitted important data, or completely misled the viewing public (lied) in order to generate outrage and gain loyal converts to his way of thinking.
He has never presented any piece of work that didn't contain major errors or complete falsehoods. Not even once. That is why he was fired from "Mother Jones" magazine (a well-known left-oriented monthly)
2)Michael Moore is now a multi-millionaire. He didn't start out that way. He was the son of an assembly-line worker for GM in Flint, Mich....and I honestly think that he started out to "right some wrongs" that he percieved were present in corporate America. His views were quite flawed, and so were his methods of communicating his ideas...but it worked! He stumbled across a few precious nuggets in his search ("pets or food....pets or food?!") and everyone sat up and took notice. And they paid him a lot of CASH! There is no doubt that he struck gold early on with "Roger and Me" and he ran with the same flawed formula, because he saw that it worked. His latest book made him richer than 95% of the people in Canada. Think he's going to change his formula at this point and start telling all of the truth, all of the time?
If he were truly sincere about his battle for the common man, then he would give all of his many millions away to help the plight of those he supposedly is fighting for. He's on a roll. Don't hold your breath waiting for him to divest himself of the millions of dollars he's made. And don't wait for him to drop his style of playing fast and loose with the facts either. It's working WAY too well right now. Brings in a lot of bucks too. And he's not interested in sharing ANY of it.
I would submit to you that the only real "ignorance" here is the ignorance of the people who are misled into believeing that Michael Moore speaks the truth in his documentaries. If he speaks lies in one easily proveable area, then how do we know when he's telling the truth in another?
It's great entertainment and this clown-like figure occaisionally comes across real jewels, for sure....but in the end, it MUST be enjoyed for it's entertainment value only. To treat it as fact is to do a disservice to yourself, and to common sense.
Does he really feel a "fire in the belly" about these issues? Hard to say. I bet he ONCE did. Nowadays?
One thing is for sure, he has SOME people convinced that he is sincere.
To quote the famous showman, P.T. Barnum "There's one born every minute"
Barnum was also famous for showing the general public stuff that seemed to be real....but we knew it was all an illusion. Or rather, most of us did. :eek:
Here is a link that has a review of an earlier work by Michael Moore. It makes for good reading...web page Michael Moore (http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20020403.html)
Oct 28th, 2002, 06:35 AM
I absolutely loved Bowling for Columbine. The wife and I saw it Saturday and although I agree somewhat with the "less is more" approach to the facts, you have to keep one thing in mind: This documentary was meant for the masses -- not as a PBS four-part miniseries. He wants people to be entertained AND open their eyes.
It's entertaining, provacitive and while it does stretch the truth (although I think the Canadian "ghetto" was more tongue-in-cheek). It's no more than any other person(s) or organization has ever done -- especially government (ours OR the US).
One could summise that MacNutt's diatribe against Michael Moore as akin to his own words posted here -- factless, personal opinion. Technically speaking you've lambasted his movie without actually SEEING it (although you read 2 reviews), and made general declarations about his facts without supporting your claims. Gee at least Moore gathered hours of interviews all over the US and Canada.
See? It's easy to diminish a person's message if you generalize. smile.gif
I prefer the lesser of two evils -- the one that's trying to HELP people (although his facts are loose, but have SOME merit) rather than bomb, shoot, kill, exploit, and rape a people into fear.
Michael Moore is rich... yes, he is (his last book made him richer than 95% of the people on the PLANET). But he's rich because he worked for his money which means he's entertained and touched people with his work in some way. What's wrong with that? He's helped people along the way. I'd like to know how much Moore has contributed to charity? Probably more than everyone on ehMac combined would be my guess.
Personally, my favorite interviews were a) Heston (of course) and b) Marylin Manson -- I absolutely do not like Manson, but his interview painted a different picture for me. That doesn't mean I'll buy his CD though.
Anyway, my point is -- just see the movie. I guarantee you will appreciate it in some small way -- regardless if you agree with how Moore makes his point.
You should also check out his website too:
Oct 28th, 2002, 09:16 AM
Check out mike's message today.
Mike's Message (http://www.michaelmoore.com/message/index.php)
Oct 28th, 2002, 02:54 PM
I did not mean to be seen as "lambasting" Michael Moore's latest movie without having seen it. I will DEFINITELY see it. I always watch all of his stuff and enjoy it immensely!
My point was, and still is, this:
Why does he feel the need to misrepresent the truth so often, when he could use his obvious talent as a filmmaker to bring these problems to the forefront without all of the unfortunate errors and untruths?
I've just read the link to his page and, after having done so, I find myself having to check several of the statements he made to see if they are real, or if he just made them up. I think this is rather unfortunate, really. I wish he had not gotten such a reutation for presenting bad data.
THEN, I could just take his message at face value....instead of wondering to myself ..."is that really true, or is he just pulling my leg, or has he got it wrong again?"
That was the point I was trying to make. :rolleyes:
Oct 28th, 2002, 07:27 PM
Despite Moore's good intentions some of his distortions are quite alarming.
Thanks to everyone for posting the various links so far.
Oct 28th, 2002, 10:56 PM
I agree with Cynical Critic. Michael Moore has good intentions and he is one of the few people out there today who are dealing with some of the real issues that other filmmakers shy away from. And he is very entertaining in the way he presents his subject. He has talent, no doubt about it.
But I submit to you all that his subjects should be able to stand on their own merit, without twisting the facts. Or totally misrepresenting them.
Why then, does he insist on doing this?
Not sure. But I do know this...
If Michael Moore tells me, in one of his films, that "the sky is blue!"...then I have to go outside and check for myself before I accept his word on it. Just to make sure. His reputation for bad data ( and outright bullsh*t) demands this from any thinking individual.
And I think that this is a sad thing. Too bad he couldn't just let the facts stand on their own merit. Then we could take him a lot more seriously.
Then we would probably be having a whole different discussion here. We would be saying "how can we FIX this problem?" instead of trying to figure out how much of it is real, and how much of it he made up. :eek:
Oct 29th, 2002, 01:39 AM
I have only seen a few episodes of TV Nation and read a few of his articles, so I cannot claim to be the most knowledgeable person about Mr. Moore and what he does. However, I can say this, which Is what I am about to say.
Yes, he does distort the truth in his writings and documentaries, but on the other hand, does it really matter? Now before you get started on that last statement, yes it does matter to me, but the goal of documentaries like Bowling for Columbine is to get people talking, and to get people questioning what is going on. Look at us, we already have a thread nearing the two page mark about it.
If some of the facts are misrepresented or stretched to add a little shock value or a little entertainment value, while I don't personally appreciate it, I can see how it might go a long way to spur other people to get involved, or to at least find out what is really going on.
When you boil it down, documentaries like this one usually present a question, and for the most part, usually leave it up to the audience to go out and find the answer(s). Those who just sit back and take it as it is given should only be there for the entertainment value. Remember that information is only as good as its source, and usually you have to go through quite a few people to actually get to its source.
So instead of attacking Moore for his stretching the truth and misrepresenting the fact, why not try to work out the problem.
The NRA is very fond of saying that "guns don't kill people, people kill people, and if someone really wants to kill you, they will find some way to do it." This statement, while true in some aspects, is very grossly incomplete. It should be something more along the lines of:
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people, and people with guns can kill other people far easier than people with a knife or a lead pipe can kill people, and in moments of anger, people with guns are more likely to kill someone than someone carrying a knife or a lead pipe. it's not like you can just hit someone with a lead pipe and run, like you can shoot someone and run, you would have to make sure they are dead first. Guns don't kill people, but they sure do make it easier in a lot of situations.."
Or some other diatribe like that. Another point to consider is that the American love of guns is written into their constitution, "the right to bear arms", (as opposed to the Canadian right to bear arms, which results in a nasty sunburn in most cases) and that their country was founded by a bunch of guys killing a bunch of other guys with guns. Guns guns guns.
I am sure that these are probably some of the questions brought up in the movie (which I haven't seen yet), but they are worth talking about.
So instead of tearing Michael Moore down for not getting all the facts straight, why don't we go out and get them straight for ourselves? Who knows, maybe that is the entire point!
Oct 29th, 2002, 02:21 AM
Perhaps, the South-Park-esque history of American sketch within Bowling can be compared to the rest of the movie. It takes artistic liberties, distorts facts, and over-simplifies some things but still holds some valuable kernel(s) of "truth."
PB: Good analysis. Do go see the movie. :)
BTW, this post is dedicated to The Great One - even if he turned into an advertising whore for McDonald's.
Oct 29th, 2002, 02:46 AM
I thought that was a rather well put diatribe against gun ownership PosterBoy. I have rarely heard it stated so simply and clearly. Guns don't kill people.....PEOPLE kill people. But it sure is a lot easier when there is a gun involved! With a knife or a lead pipe you've got to get up real close and take the chance of getting snuffed yourself. With a gun you can stand off, press a trigger, and watch the purple mist.
And if you have a shotgun....you don't even need to aim fer goshssakes!
These are true words, and ones that most American citizens would have trouble disputing in a fair argument.
Trouble is....Michael Moore's "documentary" (despite it's very pertinent subject matter) is, apparently, riddled with easily disproveable falsehoods....just as all of his previous ones have been....and this kicks the starch out of his arguments on this particular subject. Pretty much everyone above trailer park level knows the guy is a little foggy on the facts...or is downright misleading about many of them....and that makes his stuff far less of a hard-hitting documentary/expose and more like "Hard Copy" or "National Enquirer" or some other such sensationalistic trash.
This is too bad. Because his subjects are very often things that we really should be concerned about.
This goes double when it come to America's unfortunate fascination with firearms. We SHOULD be looking closer at this subject and asking ourselves "Why?". So should the Americans.
Trouble is....when a guy with a reputation for screwing up the facts as bad as Michael Moore gets on to something like this, then it all turns into a sort of a sideshow. People who are seriously concerned start to talk to their neighbors, and even, perhaps, to email their Congressman demanding that something be done about it.
That's when several of the things that Michael has said in the "documentary" are pointed out and proven to be outright falsehoods to the concerned citizens. They then begin to (rightly) question EVERYTHING he has said and ALL of the facts that he has presented. Many of them feel that they have been "taken" and the wind goes out of their sails. They get even more cynical about all documentaries....no matter what the source. Especially the one's from Michael Moore.
This is most unfortunate. It undermines any action that might be taken to resolve some of the problems he points out to us.
I can't understand why he continues to do this!
There is a LOT of good material to work with in making an argument against gun ownership in the USA. Why the heck does he feel he has to lie about anything? It cheapens his whole point.
But it sure does get everyone talking.(it's certainly worked for us!) It also gets everyone watching his movies. Perhaps that is the point, after all.
Not the message at all, but a great way to sell his work to the general public. At a rate ten times better than he might have hoped for had he presented the facts as they really are...
(cue the photo of a weirdly distorted clown in a baseball cap sitting on a big stack of cash the size of a football stadium. There is a huge grin on his face and he is saying..... "Gotcha!!")
Oct 31st, 2002, 08:24 PM
Oprah Winfrey is devoting the entire hour of her show to "Bowling for Columbine" this Friday, November 1. Michael Moore will appear as her guest.
Check your local listings for times and channel, or you can check with Oprah's webiste here: