Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bowling for Columbine - The Truth!

David T. Hardy, back in 2003 (right after Michael Moore won the Academy Award for Best Documentary for "Bowling for Columbine"), posted a detailed refutation of the concepts presented in the film. The article is titled "The Truth About Bowling".

By "a detailed refutation", we mean he fisked the crap out of it. That's a big job, because if Hardy is to be believed there was more crap than substance.

The link is offered here FYI, in case you ever want to explore the veracity of Michael Moore's assertions about Firearms Ownership. In truth, it has very little to do with the Columbine Massacre, and even less about the Second Amendment (except as a vitriolic attack, unsupported by the facts, and as an example of Yellow Journalism, 2002 style.)

The most interesting thing about this subject is that a "documentary" must specifically be "Non-Fiction".

In fact, the awards ceremony was when Moore took the opportunity to give his infamous "Shame on You, Mister Bush" speech"
"I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to--they're here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction. We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts, we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up," said Moore. The audience half-booed, half-cheered his angry words.

After Moore left the stage, host Steve Martin joked, "The Teamsters are helping him into the trunk of his limo."
Given that Moore's expert editing of interviews and statements has patently encouraged the viewer to misunderstand the material presented, it is difficult if not impossible to conclude that his personal interpretation of history can be construed as anything but fiction.

Some of the independent critical comments about this film are summarized here:
There are two ways to look at Bowling for Columbine. It is a great piece of entertainment, and only a mediocre serious examination of a real issue. ...

In going about proving his point, Moore develops a scattershot approach at looking for causality. It eventually boils down to a culture of fear, perpetuated by the media and government. Stations televise each bit of news of murder and mayhem because it delivers ratings. It's a long trip to get here, and because of the way that Moore works, it's never that convincing. Instead of presenting a well-developed set of arguments, Moore opts to himself pander to his audience and go for what is most entertaining. In effect, he is creating his own brand of fear. Why interview experts when ambushing Dick Clark or interviewing random dumb people is so much more fun? Granted it makes for great cinema, but feels like tabloid journalism.

... [T]here are ... parts of the film that show just how much of a media whore Moore can become. ... The most potent example of Moore at his best (worst) is when he brings two Columbine survivors with bullets still in their bodies to the Kmart corporate headquarters, asking for refunds on the bullets (they were bought at Kmart). He is extremely effective in using the media to get his point across, to the point of shaming this large corporation into submission. Yes, Moore is good at what he does, but at times there is little to separate the media he demonizes with the way he portrays his ideas. [emphasis added]
(See also Roger Ebert's analysis here.)

In short, Moore has indeed become a Media Whore, and never shows his colors more truly than in this "documentary". The sad part of the story is that, even today, there exist people who are all too willing to take his commercial efforts as fact, rather than media-managed fiction.

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