Michael Moore tells it how it is
September 25, 2003 1:50 AM   Subscribe

Michael Moore's comprehensive response to criticisms of Bowling for Columbine. An interesting read, should make up for some interesting comments. Unfortunately, I do not have one of my own, yet. I wish Michael Moore himself would post here. [via BoingBoing]
posted by zerofoks (126 comments total)
 
Can I just offer the opposite view

MooreWatch
Truth about Bowling

Just to keep things Fair and Balanced.
posted by sebas at 2:03 AM on September 25, 2003


I couldn't get past MooreWatch:

"The left wing has absolutely no class whatsoever."

*Picture of demonstrators throwing a bucket of liquid feces on riot police in Cancun, Mexico.*

"Can you imagine the media coverage if a group of anti-abortion protesters had thrown liquid feces on the staff of an abortion clinic? You'd never hear the end of it. This hasn't registered a blip in the major media. Searching Google News for the word "feces" brings up one hit. Pathetic, isn't it? Michael Moore and the rest of the anti-globalization idiots should look at this with pride."


What is this guy proving, sebas? Do you think he realizes that anti-abortion protesters have killed staff and patients of abortion clinics? Hmmm?
posted by velacroix at 2:20 AM on September 25, 2003


I have no idea what this guy is proving, however it does offer a view in the minds of people who are almost obsessed in their never ending struggle against the left.

The second link is a lot better because that one offers us the questions that Moore is trying to answer. I just included Moorewatch because I found it interesting to see that people spend so much time building websites just to disprove a film.

It's amazing to read a few of the websites that you find when doing a search on Google or 'Michael Moore lying'.
posted by sebas at 2:35 AM on September 25, 2003


I don't get it, Moore goes after Lockheed because they build rockets that launch sattelites that help the US military. Why does he not go after the manufacturer of their uniforms or the food companies who supply the US troops. Surely their contribution to the war effort, keeping troops fed and clothed, is even more vital than that of Lockheed?
posted by PenDevil at 2:38 AM on September 25, 2003


I like Michael Moore, although I am aware that many do not.

I loathe George Bush, although I am aware that many do not.

It's all good, you know, except when innocent people die because that bastard Michael Moore starts unnecessary, ill-advised wars. I hate that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:40 AM on September 25, 2003


Wait a minute, did I just do some non-sequiteur bush-bashing, because I am so driven so far around the bend with my vitriolic unreasoning hatred for the man that I can't actually think straight, and am therefore simply to be discounted as a raving lunatic, no matter what the subject, including Mr Moore?

~Damn, I guess I did, and am, and should be.~ Sorry for the derail, folks.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:47 AM on September 25, 2003


Well what we have here is the re-birth of Spin Doctors, people who use rethorics , saucy implications, satyre to achieve whatever their goal may be : a political one, an economic one, you tell which one. They may be a problem they may be not, but in my opinion with the increasing number of ignorant people (and when I say ignorant I mean people that barely made k12 not because they're lazy but because they just can't make it or that are too pressured by markets to ONLY work for the rest of their lifes) they'll become a source of not necessary problems.

There must be a lot of confused folks out there trying to understand who is saying the truth , you're not alone.

For starters I recommend this link about Logical Fallacies.It's a quick course to better understand those weird statements often used by spin doctors like " Wow look at how many guns, they must be a bunch of freaks otherwise they wouldn't have so many guns ! Schizos ! " or like " Liberals control the media industry, so all the media industry is a bunch of unpatriotic crap ! " It's also a good refresher for logical reasoning.

Start with that link, it will take a while :)
posted by elpapacito at 2:53 AM on September 25, 2003


When I used saucy implications to achieve my goal in a bar last Saturday I got a slap in the face.
posted by sebas at 2:57 AM on September 25, 2003


~winks at stavros~

~chuckle~
posted by matteo at 3:04 AM on September 25, 2003


"Searching Google News for the word "feces" brings up one hit."

Well, actually no. Searching Google News for the word "feces" brings up about 726 hits.

No, I don't have anything better to do.
posted by spazzm at 3:15 AM on September 25, 2003


sebas: at least you tried
posted by elpapacito at 3:19 AM on September 25, 2003


I think Moore puts to rest a lot of the hysterical accusations about his film that have been circulated. The most telling point however is this:
Well, guess what. Total number of lawsuits to date against me or my film by the NRA? NONE. That's right, zero. And don't forget for a second that if they could have shut this film down on a technicality they would have. But they didn't and they can't ā€“ because the film is factually solid and above reproach. In fact, we have not been sued by any individual or group over the statements made in "Bowling for Columbine?" Why is that? Because everything we say is true ā€“ and the things that are our opinion, we say so and leave it up to the viewer to decide if our point of view is correct or not for each of them.
Somehow, I can't see Moore's opponents as people that would avoid litigation they would win.

And why the NRA would freak out against a film that points out that Canada, despite having a similar number of guns in circulation (proportionately speaking) has a much lower handgun murder rate, is beyond me. I mean, trashing Heston aside, they should be jumping up and down saying: "see he is making our point for us".
posted by talos at 3:29 AM on September 25, 2003


My main concern about Mr. Moore is his use of the word "epidemic".

Do we have too many people using guns irresponsibly in this country? Sure. Is that what we need to be focusing on? Uhhh, no.

Obesity related heart disease, now that's an epidemic. The death rate, the additional medical problems/costs associated with fatness, the quality of life issues... fatness is an epidemic. Eleven thousand people is bad, but a couple hundred thousand is an epidemic. Check it out.

So, instead of a movie about Columbine, could we have a movie about fat people? About how on the AMA's watch people have gotten fatter and fatter? About how our children are fatter now than ever before?

Or, hey, how about a movie about people dying in car accidents. Looks to me like cars kill more people than guns. And guns are INTENDED to kill people. Whoooah. Imagine if we made cars that were just for killing people!

But what's my point again? Oh, yeah... What is our real problem? What should Democrats of good conscience really be focusing on? Guns? Or the problems that are 4x bigger or 70x bigger than guns? But could we get famous? Hmmm. Hard to say.
posted by ewkpates at 3:59 AM on September 25, 2003


Obesity related heart disease, now that's an epidemic. The death rate, the additional medical problems/costs associated with fatness, the quality of life issues... fatness is an epidemic. Eleven thousand people is bad, but a couple hundred thousand is an epidemic. Check it out.


Yes, he's right. But that is something the individual is responsible for, not the government. Besides, it's not like Obesity is going to break into my house and shoot me.
posted by CrazyJub at 5:27 AM on September 25, 2003


ewkpates: Guns aren't intended to kill people. People are intended to kill people.
posted by rusty at 5:28 AM on September 25, 2003


ewkpates: obesity-related deaths are (ultimately) self-inflicted.

i'm guessing that the 11,000-odd people killed by guns didn't bring it upon themselves.
posted by cheaily at 5:36 AM on September 25, 2003


Just to keep things Fair and Balanced.

translation: Just to pour gasoline on the fire.
posted by crunchland at 5:44 AM on September 25, 2003


>I don't get it, Moore goes after Lockheed because they build rockets that launch sattelites that help the US military. Why does he not go after the manufacturer of their uniforms or the food companies who supply the US troops

Did you sleep through the movie? That Lockheed factory is in Littleton thus relevant to his thesis (whether you agree with it or not) that a culture of fear and weapons proliferation breeds violence.

What bothers me most is how there wasn't full disclosure on who these media pundits were. Its like CNN and MSNBC are poisoning the well. Once someone sees this on TV it gets posted to the web and then works its way down to thousands of critical websites that take the TeeVee as gospel, thus all the google returns for "moore liar," etc. I think this is a much larger issue than just spin, and an uncritical eye especially with an agenda can shift the information age into the disinformation age. Bloggers take note, check your sources.

See Also: The Snopes Michael Moore fiasco.
posted by skallas at 5:44 AM on September 25, 2003


skallas: How does a factory in Littleton producing rockets cause teenagers to go on a killing spree?
posted by PenDevil at 6:14 AM on September 25, 2003


I think the logic goes that since the factory is the largest employer in the area, the parents of the teenagers who go on killing sprees all work there, and somehow, the culture of global violence somehow spreads.
posted by crunchland at 6:23 AM on September 25, 2003


Gun violence and obesity are both social problems.

Gun ownership is not the problem, and fatty foods are not the problem. People shooting people and people getting fat are the problem.

And there are way more fat people than people shooting people. 4x as many die from car accidents, 70x as many from being fat people.

As a society, we should be concerned about minimizing destructive behavior. For this perspective, we fail criminals as much as victims. The Government is responsible for structuring society so that health and safety are maximized.

Roll the dice. You'll die fat way before you die shot. You'll get hit by a car before you die shot. Again: Let's focus on the numbers, not on sensationalism.
posted by ewkpates at 6:28 AM on September 25, 2003


The point wasn't about gun proliferation. The segments about Canada's gun community highlight that perfectly.

The point was about fear, fear mongering, and the culture of fear we're all raised in. The only way guns are related to this thesis is that only when pervasive fear is coupled to readily available firearms do mass murders result.

There's two ways out of this conundrum--

1) Restrict the weapons, or

2) Change the culture.

Personally, I'm all about #2.
posted by Cerebus at 6:33 AM on September 25, 2003


A web site like Moorewatch is hard to take seriously when its author goes to such lengths to smear Moore that he offhandedly accuses him of living in an "elite leftist enclave" as if there's some ultra-liberal condo association out there with a "bleeding-hearts only" policy.
posted by MegoSteve at 6:34 AM on September 25, 2003


crunchland: That's some shitty logic...
posted by PenDevil at 6:35 AM on September 25, 2003


>How does a factory in Littleton producing rockets cause teenagers to go on a killing spree?

Like I wrote you don't have to agree with his thesis but it is relevant because of its geography and all the Littleton people employed there as opposed to your false analogies like "companies that make uniforms."

I think Moore was more interested in exposing America's arm manufacturers in that bit. He does stray off-topic and then I belive goes into "CIA interventions" mode after quoting the guy at Lockheed about how the US only defends and doesn't attack.

Also the localation and the idea that "my dad makes nukes" is Moores way of perhaps saying that moral confusion begins at home.
posted by skallas at 6:37 AM on September 25, 2003


Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it. At the very least he was showing the audience what industries ran Littleton.
posted by skallas at 6:39 AM on September 25, 2003


I don't think I'll feel any discomfort in reccomending the Moore film again. I find his refutations to be compelling, dealing with a few of the serious allegations about the factual accuracy of the film.

PenDevil, do you know if the companies who manufacture 'their uniforms or the food companies who supply the US troops' have operations in Littleton?

As Mr Moore says in the linked article:

'That Lockheed lets the occasional weather or TV satellite hitch a ride on one of its rockets should not distract anyone from Lockheed's main mission and moneymaker in Littleton: to make instruments that help kill people. That two of Littleton's children decided to engineer their own mass killing is what these guys and the Internet crazies don't want to discuss.'

The documenatry is designed to highlight issues and maybe start a debate on those issues. Focussing on supposed inaccuracies, many of which could be the result of the style of the piece is disingenuous, IMHO.

Another documentary (Lucy Neilands' "Dreamland") with similar themes left me pretty much appalled at the depth of ignorance and resulting paranioa exhibited by the interviewees (a bit like reading the letters page in the Mail).

Thanks for the logical fallacies link, elpapacito.

on preview: PenDevil, have you heard the expression 'lead by example'? The government is responsible for violence, which may be perceived as being unnessesary, so are the Columbine killers.

You are not reading too much into it skallas, IMHO.
posted by asok at 6:41 AM on September 25, 2003


One thing to keep in mind is that the central theme of the film is not to argue that any one thing causes all the violence in America; Moore's primary objective here is to show that our astonishing number of gun deaths in the U.S. is tied to a generalized sense of fear and insecurity. He's not saying that Lockheed Martin killed the kids at Columbine High School. He's saying that our culture is obsessed with violence and self-preservation and that regardless of what particular activity the boys may have engaged in (listening to Marilyn Manson, bowling, etc.) their overall reality is this culture of fear that we've created for ourselves, to which we all contribute, and for which we are all partially responsible.

Whether you agree with that or not, that's what the film is trying to say. It is not alleging that two kids shot up their school because Lockheed Martin makes rockets in Colorado.
posted by vraxoin at 9:13 AM on September 25, 2003


Speaking of anti-Moore websites... just out of curiosity, ewkpates, is there anything you'd like to contribute to this thread that hasn't been copy/pasted from a pro-gun website somewhere? The non-sequiter claptrap about "car control" and "fat control" is so tired and inaccurate that it's impossible to take anyone using the argument seriously, and your sudden delve into "advice" for Democrats- a party which does not include Michael Moore, the actual point of this thread- is so transparent it's hard to consider that you didn't just feel like finding some place to say it without even caring what the actual discussion was.

I'm all for hearing opposing opinions, but I've heard all of those before, and I don't think it's a coincidence.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:13 AM on September 25, 2003


Good piece of reading, thanks!
posted by Bag Man at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2003




Well, actually no. Searching Google News for the word "feces" brings up about 726 hits.

And WTO feces brought up 85 hits (from CNN, Fox news, Seattle Times, and a dissporportionate number of Canadian news sites, Canadians tend to follow trade and tarrif debates closely )... I guess some newspaper editors had been reading MooreWatch, realised how liberal they've become, and decided to start running this story.
posted by bobo123 at 9:30 AM on September 25, 2003


"Can I just offer the opposite view"

"Just to keep things Fair and Balanced.
"

I tried that by posting a link to the NRA and my post was promptly shot down (no pun intended) by the keeper of this site
posted by LowDog at 9:35 AM on September 25, 2003


Also the localation and the idea that "my dad makes nukes" is Moores way of perhaps saying that moral confusion begins at home.

That's an interesting notion, whether it's Moore making it or Skallas making it. If one were to continue that line of reasoning, what does the recent behavior of the United States bode for its citizens? So many people look to the government as a paternal, authoritative arbiter of moral correctness, that one has to wonder what consequences might trickle down into public attitudes and behavior.
posted by rushmc at 9:37 AM on September 25, 2003


One thing to keep in mind is that the central theme of the film is not to argue that any one thing causes all the violence in America; Moore's primary objective here is to show that our astonishing number of gun deaths in the U.S. is tied to a generalized sense of fear and insecurity. He's not saying that Lockheed Martin killed the kids at Columbine High School. He's saying that our culture is obsessed with violence and self-preservation and that regardless of what particular activity the boys may have engaged in (listening to Marilyn Manson, bowling, etc.) their overall reality is this culture of fear that we've created for ourselves, to which we all contribute, and for which we are all partially responsible.

That's the way I saw it too, which is what made the NRA stuff seem a little off-topic. He seems to be he's saying that the proliferation of guns not the problem, but since Heston makes such an easy target lets get him anyway.
posted by timeistight at 9:39 AM on September 25, 2003


vraxoin is exactly right! People get so bogged down in trying to refute the details that they miss the message. I've seen the movie twice now and the overall theme was clear to me both times -- We are a country full of scaredy-cats. We are afraid of everything from "a black man in our neighborhood" to KILLER BEES!!!!

Healthy fear is good. It's what keeps you from diving into a pool if you can't swim or darting across a busy road without looking, but obsessive fear of the unknown will lead to trying to kill what you don't understand.
posted by bas67 at 9:48 AM on September 25, 2003


Besides, it's not like Obesity is going to break into my house and shoot me.

That's what I thought

*sobs, pulls crispy Twinkie from hot grease, looks around paranoid*
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:55 AM on September 25, 2003


I can't believe the number of people who have absolutely missed the point of Moore's movie.

Bowling for Columbine is about the American culture of fear.

The USA is a nation that lives in paranoid fear of everything that moves. From the individual scale of homeowners shooting trick-or-treaters, to the nation scale of invading other countries, fear appears to be the primary motivator.

It's everywhere you care to look, and to a degree far beyond that found in most other countries.

There are no simple answers, and Moore doesn't try to present any solutions. It is a shame, however, that the simple-minded among us mistake his message for one of gun control. To think that is to completely miss an important cultural flaw that has no simple solutions.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 AM on September 25, 2003


Man, these people hate Michael Moore as much as they hated Clinton. I wonder if Moore is even going to get re-elected?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:57 AM on September 25, 2003


Stavros - you're pretty funny... for a leftie.

(kidding. That was very funny. Seriously. Mad props, or whatever the kids are calling it these days)

Ewkpates - you're funny too, though unintentionally. Can you imagine the fat Moore making a movie about how fatness kills? Actually, I could, and it could be a diet movie, and I'd think that it was really freakin' awesome and noble, considering the costs and death rate. I'd support Moore totally in that kind of endeavor.
posted by swerdloff at 10:02 AM on September 25, 2003


IJR: I know I'd like to personally contribute* to the "Get Michael Moore a Blowjob Fund" just to potentially give all the right-wing nutjobs heart-attacks. Building the antichrist, one seditious anti-American act at a time.

* Financially
posted by Space Coyote at 10:06 AM on September 25, 2003


hello mmoore #17160. welcome to nowhere.
posted by Satapher at 10:10 AM on September 25, 2003


Y'know, I just saw the movie, finally, about a month ago. I had read previous MeFi threads, the "Truth About Bowling," etc. and so I knew a lot about what was in the movie, and the controversies thereof, and was interested to see how it all fit together.

I was, frankly, stunned by what I saw. The little inaccuracies I was watching for, even when they were there (and sometimes they had been spun and inflated in order to create "inaccuracies"), were completely inconsequential and irrelevant to the point of the movie.

While I admit that Moore's style is hyperbolic (even in this latest screed, where he overstates the trouncing he's giving his dissenters), and that he sometimes slants things to make himself look good, the crusades against him seem unbelievably desperate to find anything that could possibly take him down a notch. Immediately after reading this, I went to spinsanity, figuring they'd have a point-by-point rebuttal or something, and the piece is just minor quibbling and semantics over a couple of their favorite small points, leaving everything else Moore's just said unchallenged.

Once again, Moore has his flaws, but trying to address them seems to turn people into blathering kooks with no sense of scale.
posted by soyjoy at 10:11 AM on September 25, 2003


Forgive me, because I'm a little confused here. If I were to venture a guess, most people in America don't know who Michael Moore is. For those who do, very few actually look past his rather gruff political exterior to understand his true motivations. His words are 90% hype, 10% actual facts and real ideas. The fact that he calls the NRA "whackos" and "nuts" essentially tells you that he's not looking for reasonable debate or intelligent commentary, but polarizing fluff to counter the NRA's equally polarizing fluff. So here's my question? Why do people on this site, who consider themselves knowledgeable when it comes to domestic and foreign policy, take a guy like Moore seriously?

My take: he's an immature intellectual who represents men of the same disposition, ages 18-30, who love to point things out but because they're lost in an ideological wonderland, can't see a compromise, or mature approach to dissenting opinions. Examples:

I accept the fact that, if I go after the Thief-in-Chief

I have decided the best thing to do with this gun is to melt it down into a bust of John Ashcroft and auction it off on E-Bay

Honestly, the guy has some interesting and though-provoking ideas. He could, if he cleaned himself up, be a real political force, especially since he has such a strong following and skill for rhetoric. But he squanders his opportunities with pathetic jabs at the right and rather stupid image he'd rather uphold.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:15 AM on September 25, 2003


Great FPP, thanks for the link zerofoks. (Here's hoping you get more foks in the future.)
posted by Outlawyr at 10:15 AM on September 25, 2003


...accuses him of living in an "elite leftist enclave" as if there's some ultra-liberal condo association out there with a "bleeding-hearts only" policy

not to pour more gasoline on the fire, but yeah, the upper west side in New York where Moore lives is sort of like that, with condo associations that will research your entire life to make sure you are adequate to move in.

doesn't mean anything really, but i just wanted to put that out there.
posted by destro at 10:21 AM on September 25, 2003


Caveat: I haven't seen the movie. But I don't think the left should defend Moore's innaccuracies by saying they were inconsequential to the theme. It is in the small inaccuracies, the little hyperboles, the tiniest spin doctorings, that the large case for "he's lying" can be made. Once a small lie can be proved, all is contested and, for those who don't care for Moore, summarily dismissed.

The point should be, THIS is the truth. Not, this is a melange of half-truth, disparate spun facts and guesses, and selective editing in service to my point. Because ultimately, Bowling for Columbine isn't a movie for those who favor gun control, is it? it was a movie for those who do not. Moore did - and continues to do - himself and his causes a disservice with this sort of laxity. He has to be MORE careful, MORE truthful, than his detractors. Otherwise his work is the film equivalent of me-preacher, you-choir.
posted by UncleFes at 10:25 AM on September 25, 2003


Did anyone ever read that old >Might Magazine article where the writers dressed up in a gorilla suit and stalked Moore around NYC, desperately trying to arrange an interview?

As they were turned down (repeatedly), they tried to make some noise about unionizing Moore's employees at his high-rise office. They also ribbed him about his AOL address & less-than-articulate campus speeches.

It was nice to see proven bright and funny writers sending up a man so commonly mistaken for either bright or funny, and otherwise exposed as something of a phony half-wit.

Anyone have a link?
posted by dhoyt at 10:33 AM on September 25, 2003


(Note: Might Magazine was a touchstone mid-90s periodical published by a young imperialistic, calculating neocon named Dave Eggers)
posted by dhoyt at 10:40 AM on September 25, 2003


But UncleFes, doesn't Moore most often look like that's why he does what he does? His book's been sliding down the list again, the DVD sales are off - so he pens this thing to rev the buzz up again. Marketing 101, job completed, and thanks MetaFilter for keeping his name in the news?

I'm like soyjoy, I finally tried to watch it after hearing the hype endlessly - but I was somewhat less impressed. Moore is a second-rate director, his on-camera style is, to put it mildly, distancing and his "message," scattered as it is and propped up by inconsistencies and small inaccuracies (the title alone gives a good indication about how much Moore really cares about fact), is not at all clear when you're actually watching the film. I'm not saying there isn't a case to made for his thesis; I'm saying unless you already support his point of view to begin with, Moore fails to make one.
posted by JollyWanker at 10:45 AM on September 25, 2003


I'm *still* not going to read his crappy novels! :D
posted by UncleFes at 10:45 AM on September 25, 2003


I'd support Moore totally in that kind of endeavor.

so would Subway, i imagine
posted by mitchel at 10:54 AM on September 25, 2003


JW: not sure I follow. As a marketing guy (eyes like snakes, smell of brimstone), advertising and keeping his books, DVDs, name in the news is just good PR and sales, and as such doesn't reflect on the "product' (for lack of a better word). It's the content and quality of his work that has to stand or fall under the scrutiny of those who disagree with him. Those who support the things he supports I feel, should be the most critical when his treatment of those issues is lax, since it bolsters the case of their philopshical opponents.
posted by UncleFes at 10:56 AM on September 25, 2003


he's an immature intellectual who represents men of the same disposition, ages 18-30, who love to point things out but because they're lost in an ideological wonderland

Actually, BlueTrain, Michael Moore's a long long way from an intellectual. As he says off the top in the linked piece, one of the more amusing fallacies he's heard about himself is that he's a college grad. (He's not.)

Moore's a populist through and through, and to my mind a very effective one. Trouble is that critics on both the right and left seem to think that anyone who voices a left-of-centre opinion should be a populist, an intellectual, a propagandist and a policy wonk all at once.

Thus, for example, his left-wing critics attack his populist propagandizing, chastising him for not making more nuanced arguments in support of his points. But there are plenty of tenured left-of-centre intellectuals making those arguments - Moore's job (and I'm pretty sure he sees it this way) is to grab by the lapels all the people who'd rather have a root canal without anasthesia than read an academic journal, give 'em a hard shake, and try to get them to notice the ugliest stuff (to his mind) in their society.

You may disagree with his tactics - particularly if you're on the other end of the political spectrum and/or you believe the White House press corps traffics in unvarnished truth - but they sure work wonders for his political opponents (viz. Fox News, talk radio et al.)

And criticizing Moore for not being a rigorous enough intellectual is like criticizing a dog for not being a chimpanzee.
posted by gompa at 11:03 AM on September 25, 2003


Wow! great read, all the comments. Prior, Moore's finger pointing was wearing on me after reading these comments he has become less personal to me. I can now stand the man human, thanks all.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:08 AM on September 25, 2003


Thus, for example, his left-wing critics attack his populist propagandizing, chastising him for not making more nuanced arguments in support of his points. But there are plenty of tenured left-of-centre intellectuals making those arguments - Moore's job (and I'm pretty sure he sees it this way) is to grab by the lapels all the people who'd rather have a root canal without anasthesia than read an academic journal, give 'em a hard shake, and try to get them to notice the ugliest stuff (to his mind) in their society.

I didn't think of him in that sense, but I think you're right. Very interesting perspective. (Which is probably why I can't stand him, even though I agree with some of his points; I tire of people cow-towing to the LCD)
posted by BlueTrain at 11:12 AM on September 25, 2003


The full text of Heston's speech that Moore linked is enlightening. I realize that he's preaching to the converted (from his standpoint), but it still comes off as a pep rally for an oppressed minority. Yes, he admits that the events of Littleton were a tragedy, but rather than being truly sympathetic, his words sound more like "not our problem."

One more thing. Our words and our behavior will be scrutinized more than ever this morning. Those who are hostile toward us will lie in wait to seize on a soundbite out of context, ever searching for an embarrassing moment to ridicule us. So let us be mindful ... the eyes of the nation are upon us today.

Uh, Mr. Heston, wouldn't it have been more to your favor to distance yourself from the attackers? He mentions that some members of the police were likely NRA members, as well as many others in the community. I would expect him to say something to the point of "As NRA members, we're involved in making sure events like this don't take place. There are legal, safe ways to handle guns, and they ensure events like this will not happen."

The absence of this sort of statement has an obvious reason: with the NRA's proposed policies, there would be very few controls to make sure this sort of event would not happen. Outside of statements like "If everyone had a gun, then the world would be safer," I haven't heard many safety-related statements from NRA members. If the rhetoric was less "oppressed minority" and more "caring community," they might have won some sympathy.
posted by mikeh at 11:13 AM on September 25, 2003


Did anyone ever read that old >Might Magazine article where the writers dressed up in a gorilla suit and stalked Moore around NYC, desperately trying to arrange an interview?

dhoyt, your article is included in this book... and it's worth reading. Actually, the whole book is worth reading. Might Magazine was worth reading, dammit.
posted by COBRA! at 11:29 AM on September 25, 2003


I was really going to rent "Bowling for Columbine" but I'm afraid my wife will take away my new air pistol if she sees it. My six year old is a good shot.


disclaimer: not trolling, I am a certified lefty liberal and proud of it.
posted by mecran01 at 11:30 AM on September 25, 2003


This was most useful as I was familiar with the criticisms levelled at Columbine and, to a degree, I bought into them.
posted by nthdegx at 11:31 AM on September 25, 2003


dhoyt, your article is included in this book...

(I was just hoping it had been re-reprinted on the web...)
posted by dhoyt at 11:34 AM on September 25, 2003


So many people look to the government as a paternal, authoritative arbiter of moral correctness

This is in fact the crux of the aforementioned moral confusion. The only possible arbiter of moral correctness is the individual. When you start allowing other people to make moral decisions for you, you put yourself at their mercy.
posted by kindall at 12:01 PM on September 25, 2003


mecran01, not to worry. The film is not anti gun and makes the point that gun ownership is not the cause of the violence in America, our culture of fear is. Moore, as he points out in the film and elsewhere, is an NRA member and has been since he was a kid.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:04 PM on September 25, 2003


I think the logic goes that since the factory....

ah, the logic.
the logic.
your dead on Crunch and PD, IMO was not saying it was your logic but, perhaps, Moores logic in his technique using a "fact" to make a claim. Hey, I'm the loudest, meanest, lucid, histrionic person here
but im still here and moore is also. (not here-here)
well, consider the Kubrickian techniques and subdued 'Atomic Cafe" style he uses in his documentary

Have you considered his past (this is a neutral statement, the man writes well and his movies do well)

he pokes around and synthesizes "the problem"
thus obfuscating the real dimension of the problem.
thus getting a laugh and intended "hell Ya"

K-Mart stops selling 9MM bullets, did more for K-mart then Moore him camping out, sifting the dirt in Michigan.

maybe thats THE secret , that is what makes people nervous, just supporting ones "fact" and shoving the fish-eye lens in Billion(s) dollar faces...lobbies,waiting for the twitch.
it reminds me of the 50'c Cocteau film experiments but with ted nugent and Billy Durants ghost as topic material.

Not many people like him in these parts
and that is SO fascinating...why is that?

It's like he's clip art (ed) some post industrial let-down, a failure to see what good has come since... name a day. Moore stays primarily in yesterday with todays expected response with out consulting histories varied interpretation of "Facts".

It's like a form of information gathering which is in and of itself a natural thing for countries, nay even newspapers. Been done since...well before there was a United States.
it is not the facts
it is about the intention.

Moore struck an interesting cord in 'Canadian Bacon', an "invasion" of Canada. it was good, IMO because we did war on Canada sans the british
but then, Canada was the staging ground for intelligence operations into the new United states. heh, one guy even asked for 160,000$ for rehashed newspaper ads and here-say, "they" all ready knew said.
it was funny because it showed how absurd it would be to have that happen...in modern times. perhaps it says something about old adages like old enemies/new friends

vice
y versey.
Personally, he suckered Mr. Heston and that upset me.

This is in fact the crux of the aforementioned moral confusion. The only possible arbiter of moral correctness is the individual. When you start allowing other people to make moral decisions for you, you put yourself at their mercy.

should chiseled in marble.
posted by clavdivs at 12:10 PM on September 25, 2003


It is in the small inaccuracies, the little hyperboles, the tiniest spin doctorings, that the large case for "he's lying" can be made. Once a small lie can be proved, all is contested and, for those who don't care for [Bush], summarily dismissed.
posted by rushmc at 12:22 PM on September 25, 2003


His words are 90% hype, 10% actual facts and real ideas.

Blue Train, care to use some examples? Or are we to just accept randomly tabulated statistics?

Clavdivs, put the bong down dude.
posted by archimago at 12:33 PM on September 25, 2003


"Bowling for Columbine is about the American culture of fear."

Right on, Five Fresh Fish.

Gotta run. I'm almost through deciphering the first paragraph of clavdivs' post. That's supposed to be english, right?
posted by fletchmuy at 12:34 PM on September 25, 2003


Moore gets a lot of flak regarding truthfulness because "Roger and Me" is one great big lie from begining to end. In rec.arts.movies.current-films Norm Wilner wrote this:

For a start, I don't trust him. When he made "Roger and Me", he presented
the events as sequential, and we were led to believe that things in Flint
happened in the order they appeared on-screen. This was not the case; a
lengthy article in a subsequent issue of Film Comment enumerated the various misstatements and leaps of truth in the film, and proved that not only did
Flint's three major employment-opportunity failures (Auto World, the Water
Street Pavillion and the renovated hotel) happen before the layoffs at the
Ford plant rather than after, as Moore's film appears to indicate, but that
Moore actually did meet with Ford CEO Roger Smith, and was even granted a
one-on-one interview with him during the "Roger and Me" production period.
Since the movie is all about Moore's pursuit of Smith, and his eventual
failure to speak with him, his failure to even mention that meeting within
the film seems to be a deliberate attempt to disregard the facts that don't
fit his thesis. That's unethical, to say the least.

People assume that his more recent stuff is just as deceitful.
posted by donth at 12:36 PM on September 25, 2003


Calvdivs is going after thomcatspike's niche - the ee cummings of MetaFilter.
posted by orange swan at 12:36 PM on September 25, 2003


clavdis, i could only understand this: " Personally, he suckered Mr. Heston and that upset me."

How did he sucker Heston?
posted by dobbs at 12:37 PM on September 25, 2003


It is in the small inaccuracies, the little hyperboles, the tiniest spin doctorings, that the large case for "he's lying" can be made. Once a small lie can be proved, all is contested and, for those who don't care for [Bush], summarily dismissed.

Excellent. When I read that passage, I wanted to say this, but I didn't want to be the one (other than stav's retracted comment) to introduce the word "Bush" into the thread. Remember, folks, it was rushmc, not me, who brought it up.

Bush's case for "must we go to war now?" was based on "inaccurate" statements about WMDs. WMDs were the central issue in his presentation. Thus, the lack of WMDs removes the entire foundation of Bush's case.

Moore's case for "why do we have a society where kids will kill other kids?" was based on many factors, and none of his "inaccuracies" removed the foundation of even that one factor. Even if it did, though, since his presentation was more complex and multifaceted, it wouldn't torpedo his point as a whole.

Uncle Fes, I completely agree that Moore should be more impeccable than, say, Bush, because he's saying things that go against the grain. But let's not get too caught up in the double standard. And I beseech you to rent the movie. As I said, I had followed a lot of this conversation and thought I got the movie before I saw it, which, as it turned out, I didn't.
posted by soyjoy at 12:42 PM on September 25, 2003


donth, it is perfectly reasonable to dissect his "truth," even if he did not have a reputation for skewing it. One should never just accept anything at face value. Perhaps he learned something from his past mistakes though. I respect him for taking point-by-point what others are accusing him of lying about and offering you his proof and sources.

Is he being disingenuous when he says that a team of fact checkers and lawyers went through the film frame by frame?

I saw the movie recently, I hate guns, but to me the movie wasn't about gun control, it was about the attitude that the American populace has in regard to their fellow man.
posted by archimago at 12:45 PM on September 25, 2003


Who is Norm Wilner and way should anyone care about his opinion?

This is exactly the type of rumor-mongering that Moore talks about in his rebuttal. Because some nobody from "Starweek Magazine" claims that his movies are frauds (giving no eferences for his claims by the way), others that don't like his politics or his style regurgitate his opinionsas if they were proven facts virus-like throughout the internet.

The mere fact that none of his enemies have filed suit against Moore for his supposed "frauds" and "lies" speaks volumes in his defense. Especially with all of this hard evidence lying around in rec.arts.movies.current-films and Starweek Magazine..
posted by sic at 12:49 PM on September 25, 2003


Soyjoy: yours and rushmc's point is well taken. We could argue that removal of WMD's weren't precisely the central thesis of the war (the long-term fight against terror is, imo, and WMD one of many justifications), but yes: substituting Bush's name for Moore works equally well. Bush is not doing the right any more good than Moore is doing the left. And I would contend with you that the inaccuracies DO hurt Moore's case, as much as Bush's hurts Bush's case. The right doesn't believe Moore, the left doesn't believe Bush, critical thinkers on both sides find it difficult to believe either of them, and the aims they are trying to accomplish - both laudable aims at their cores - are subsequently hamstrung. In short, I don't believe there is a double standard, unless it's one of dismissal on the basis of numerical impact, in which case I think Bush's detractors far outnumber Moore's (and rightly so, since Bush is operating on a grander scale, and his innaccuracies have further reaching consequences).
posted by UncleFes at 12:58 PM on September 25, 2003


I think I will rent the movie, however. I hadn't planned to, but if indeed the central thesis is the exploration of high school violence, I'd be interested to hear what he has to say. If it's a 90 minute gun control lecture...? *shrugs* I'm not sure that Moore - neither a psychologist or an cultural anthropologist - will have much insight into the reasons behind school murders, or the supposed culture of fear that American are purported to have, but I'll take a look.
posted by UncleFes at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2003


:)
Always complain, rarely explain.
not only did he sucker him with an obviously embarrassing question, he placed on Mr. Hestons archway, K's picture like some sorta symbol of futile gesture. Me, i saw the helicopters in Flint hover. I was in Flint. He was not. (the helicopters took about an hour to fly in though) he capitalizes on this event because he was/is "from there".
((and now, SO DO I))

Moore gave a portrait of the young childs family who shot the girl but he did not go into the the little girls family.
why?
He tries to confront the local sheriff and fails, I believe he says the sheriff was once in the C.I.A.
and what Moore missed (pretty sure he did) was that the sheriffs job at C.I.A. was LIE DETECTION.

you want history, go read a book. and please get some insight into allusion however bad it may have been.

ciphers and bongs and all that thomcat talk is cheap little pings my pretties. Besides you insult Thom, he is a really nice person from what i have read, unlike me, i am not nice but i am fair and that is enough for me.

it was about the attitude that the American populace has in regard to their fellow man.

give me 5 examples hot shot.
can you, can you discuss confrontational techniques in cinema? or how it uses irony on multiple levels to induce a sense of "waking" as if from some lethargy?

then i will 100 fold your answers with good deeds gone unnoticed. (but maybe not today)

It's all good, you know, except when innocent people die because that bastard Michael Moore starts unnecessary, ill-advised wars. I hate that.

or paints an unfair portrait of a community. A community i may add that is not running itself on a mayoral or financial level, this is now being done by the state of Michigan. May i also add that Flint HAS REDUCED it's deficit last year and is projected to reduce it even more for the next. Now that can translate into new jobs or even keeping the ones the area still has.
posted by clavdivs at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2003


so, lets talk.
posted by clavdivs at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2003


it was about the attitude that the American populace has in regard to their fellow man.

give me 5 examples hot shot.


here's 3 off the top of my head. I'll rent the movie again and give you 50.
1. Columbine high kids were slaughtered.
2. A bank gives away an instrument of death as incentive to saving money.
3. Heston speaks at pro gun rally to a community still in shock from having its children gunned down.

Do I need to explain with small words what that attitude is?
posted by archimago at 1:27 PM on September 25, 2003


1. Columbine high kids were slaughtered.
how is this an attitude? it sounds like an adjective.

2. A bank gives away an instrument of death as incentive to saving money.
wouden-dat funny? Hunting rifles instead of blenders is bizarre but not so bizarre in a place where people hunt alot.

Heston speaks at pro gun rally to a community still in shock from having its children gunned down.

this we may agree upon. But those political type organizations do those 'we will go no matter" kinda...thing that really was not answered in the movie.
if anything, it says, if an attitude is ascribed, if you rally against us using this tragedy as a platform, then we will not bow from our position....hey, none of that makes sense to me but i can see the argument.
posted by clavdivs at 1:43 PM on September 25, 2003


Heston certainly came off looking like a racist, IMHO. Giving the reason America has more gun violence as "Well, we have more ethnicity" than, say Britain just smacks of encoded phrasing.
posted by Cerebus at 2:10 PM on September 25, 2003


not only did he sucker him with an obviously embarrassing question,

What, specifically, is the question you're referring to? I don't recall any "embarassing" questions.

If I remember correctly, Heston suckered himself when he said that the reason there was so much violence in America was because of "Multiculturalism".
posted by dobbs at 2:10 PM on September 25, 2003


Once a small lie can be proved, all is contested and, for those who don't care for Moore, summarily dismissed.

Let me be the first to call "bullshit." I may have held that same belief, at one time, but I no longer do. Unfortunately, that is precisely the stance that the press takes, and that is why we are so poorly served by the media. The popular press enjoys things they can "prove" to be untrue. If candidate 1's, Bush's, economic figures are fudged and if he tells massive whoppers about who the primary beneficiaries are, and everyone parrots the Bush line, well then this is just a "controversial statement" that "Democrats disagree with."

If, on the other hand, candidate 2 talks about the fact he bought an issue of Time at a local store during a campaign visit, one day, and the press produces a receipt indicating that, in fact, he bought a copy of Newsweek, well this is a lie that can be proven, because it is simple and striaghtforward, and the implication will be that everything the candidate talks about is in doubt.

Now, tell me, which "lie" is the more important? Which candidate do you trust more? Are you, like the press, going to claim that "Everything candidate 2 says is in doubt because of the magazine-store flap" ?

I've yet to hear a credible claim that "Moore Lied." Yes, he may not have presented certain stories in ways most appealing to the conservative cause, but tough noogies to republicans, i suppose.
posted by deanc at 2:10 PM on September 25, 2003


What bullshit? It's not my belief, I'm just stating how it is. If one's detractors can prove that one lied, or even successfully allege it, then the mark is there and, at the very least, everything that person says is called into question. Hence my point that Moore has to be more careful and more honest than his detractors when he makes his assertions. Bush should too, for that matter. The press has little to do with it, although I agree with you in that they are far more willing to call someone on the little lies rather than the whoppers, since the little ones are easier to prove and the consequences of failing to prove them are far less. The media make enjoy making claims of crusade, but they are well aware of the risks of taking on those in power without proof, however strong the case.

As for credible claims that Moore lied, that's what this entire thread is about, I thought. Public opinion, as I understand it, believes that he did, or at least stretched the truth significantly to make his points. The mark is there, and for better or worse it's Moore's to erase. The only way to do that is through items like the refutations linked to above, and to go and, for lack of a better term, sin no more.
posted by UncleFes at 2:39 PM on September 25, 2003


but that Moore actually did meet with Ford CEO Roger Smith, and was even granted a one-on-one interview with him during the "Roger and Me" production period.

I recently listened to Moore's commentary on the DVD release of Roger & Me and he makes it very clear that the only contact he had with Roger Smith during production is what you see in the film. I tend to believe him - I mean why the hell would Smith want to do an interview with a bunch of no-hoper film makers.
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:16 PM on September 25, 2003


If I remember correctly, Heston suckered himself when he said that the reason there was so much violence in America was because of "Multiculturalism".

which in a way is Moore's thesis, too, although of course he's looking at it from the other way around.
posted by timeistight at 3:50 PM on September 25, 2003


When conservatives lie, it's called putting a spin on the truth. When liberals spin, it's called lying. How delicious. Why don't y'all call it what it is? OPINION. Moore never pretends to be an objective news source. The guy wears baseball caps for cryin' out loud.

Moore is a watchdog. A watchdog's job is to bark when there's trouble. It doesn't have to be right. It just has to be loud. It's our job to wake up and check the place out and see if there's really a problem. Moore does his job very well.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:48 PM on September 25, 2003


QUESTION: Anyone else have trouble buying the DVD of "Columbine"? I finally got a copy today. Two of my local Blockbusters weren't stocking it, claiming they didn't think it'd do well (hmmm ... Oscar for best Documentary, Guild award for best Screenplay, on over 160 top-10 lists, released late cuz it was still making money hand-over-fist in theaters ... ) I'm a wee bit suspicious.
posted by RavinDave at 4:52 PM on September 25, 2003


WMDs or WsMD? Just a thought...
posted by nthdegx at 5:18 PM on September 25, 2003


Moore didn't quote any statistic that was outright wrong, to my knowledge. Everything he presented as a fact was probably run through many fact checkers, as he says on the web site. There's no reason to believe otherwise, given how controversial he knew it would be.

It doesn't appear that he lied in support of his thesis, although his thesis may or may not be wrong.

There is no sense in dismissing his essay (I don't call it a documentary, it's not really) by calling it a lie just because you disagree with it. Rather, say "I disagree with his argument, here is a counter-argument." I suspect that a lot of people just call him a liar because they're not willing or ready to defend their own contrary position.

This is very basic stuff.
posted by Hildago at 7:15 PM on September 25, 2003


I would like to point out that Roger Smith was the CEO of GM, not Ford.

As for the way that Heston was "suckered" by Moore, I will agree that towards the end of the interview Moore went a bit far with his badgering. However, I thought he was being very fair to Heston. He pretty much gave him an easy pitch when he asks why there is so much violence in the US while other countries with similarly high rates of gun ownership have much lower rates of violence. He basically says, to paraphrase the cliche, "guns don't kill people, so why do Americans kill people?"
posted by mzanatta at 8:24 PM on September 25, 2003


America has a culture of near-paranoic fear.

Unfortunately, that fear includes a desperate fear of being wrong.

This makes it rather difficult to admit that there are problems, which in turn makes it difficult to actually solve those problems.

As evidenced by this discussion, a good many people are so fearful of admitting that America has problems (ie. that things are "wrong") that they expend incredible amounts of energy avoiding the admission.

Thus the focus on conjuring up mistakes, fantastic and unsubstantiated claims of lying and distortion, name-calling, partisanship, denial, and general screeching.

Needless to say, such misplaced efforts do nothing to actually make America a better nation.

And so walled cities will continue to proliferate, halloween kids will continue to be shot by homeowners, blacks in white neighbourhoods will continue to be harassed by police, third-world countries will continue to be invaded, Ashcroft's Big Brother future will continue to bear down on the population, and Rome will crumble to dust.

Y'all had a good thing going. Shame you were afraid to keep it.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:31 PM on September 25, 2003


1. Columbine high kids were slaughtered.

And shouldn't that fault be on the two who murdered them? Last time I checked it was only those two who killed anyone that day.

2. A bank gives away an instrument of death as incentive to saving money.
They give away hunting guns to their customers after they pass the federally mandated background check.

3. Heston speaks at pro gun rally to a community still in shock from having its children gunned down.

Heston was speaking at the NRA's national convention which is planned years in advance. It's not like they could reschedule something of that magnitude in that short of a time period.

You know, what? I'm a liberal on everything but gun control. Michael Moore? He's the same as the fringe on the right.. He does the same thing those on the right do, trying to polarize us against one another. Wacko this, nut that. How about stepping up, being a man, and stopping with all the name calling and working on the issues that cause two teenagers to shot up their high school.

Taking away guns from law abiding citizens isn't the answer. Working within the schools, working to educate people. Making parents, parent and knowing what their children are doing.

How many parent here would have not seen the bomb making materials their children had in their house? How many parents here would not have known that their children were being harassed in school? Work on those issues, damnit.
posted by SuzySmith at 8:39 PM on September 25, 2003


Calvdivs is going after thomcatspike's niche - the ee cummings of MetaFilter.

How dare you? clav is the one and the only, and much as I have grown fond of tcs (while never actually trying to stuggle through many of his posts), his brand of incoherency is nowhere near the sheer poetry that clav brings to his mangling (when he's not on a rant, at least).

[/off-topic]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:05 PM on September 25, 2003


Thank-you for that stellar example, SuzySmith. Congratulations, you're one of the teeming hordes who completely missed the point!

Moore is not saying that guns need to be taken away.

He is saying that the reason gun violence, and violence in general, is pervasive throughout America is because Americans are driven by fear. He even contrasts this against other countries with more guns per capita than America have lower rates of violence not because of restrictions but because the citizens don't live in a culture of fear.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:09 PM on September 25, 2003


Always try to remember that the mere fact that someone disagrees with you doesn't necessarily make them retarded.
posted by UncleFes at 10:21 PM on September 25, 2003


...and the mere fact that someone is retarded doesn't necessarilty mean they disagree with you.
posted by wendell at 10:57 PM on September 25, 2003


his brand of incoherency is nowhere near the sheer poetry that clav brings to his mangling

I beg to differ - this comment is absolutely poetry (and I'm not kidding).
posted by biscotti at 10:58 PM on September 25, 2003


SuzySmith: Taking away guns from law abiding citizens isn't the answer

Have you seen the movie?
posted by syzygy at 1:26 AM on September 26, 2003


WMDs or WsMD? Just a thought...

Which is the easiest to read?
posted by Summer at 3:18 AM on September 26, 2003


1. Columbine high kids were slaughtered.

And shouldn't that fault be on the two who murdered them? Last time I checked it was only those two who killed anyone that day.

2. A bank gives away an instrument of death as incentive to saving money.
They give away hunting guns to their customers after they pass the federally mandated background check.

3. Heston speaks at pro gun rally to a community still in shock from having its children gunned down.

Heston was speaking at the NRA's national convention which is planned years in advance. It's not like they could reschedule something of that magnitude in that short of a time period.


1. I started this by saying that my interpretation of Moore's point was that it was a statement about the attitudes that Americans have for each other. That is my opinion. It has nothing to do with gun facts.

2. I never suggested that all of Columbine is responsible for the actions of two boys. You asked me for examples. I gave them. The fact that 2 teenage boys had access to deadly firearms and then used them in a shooting spree and then took their own lives speaks volumes to the attitudes that some kids may have today -- life is expendable. That's an attitude, not an adjective Clavdivs.

3. A bank giving away a gun, again that is an attitude. And yeah, hunting guns come with special safety buttons that won't allow the bullet to be released if the gun is pointed as something other than wild game. If you have seen the movie, go watch it again because you are missing Moore's point. The bank isn't giving away crossbows or bear traps now, are they?

4. Thanks SuzySmith for further proving my point. Yes the NRA, had they a conscience or any kind of collective morality, would have cancelled their rally out of respect, no matter how much preparation they had gone through. Again this speaks to the attitude that Americans have that it is all about me me me, with no regard for my fellow man. Let's ignore all the problems we have in this country with guns because that is stepping on my right to own one. Forget social responsibility and respect for tragedy. We want to raise our guns above our heads and celebrate our freedom. woo hoo.

Interesting that you bring up parental responsibility. I believe you that you would absolutely know what your kid was up to in your house. And this is parenting. But you can not claim to know what goes on in school. I was taunted all through public school and I would never have told my parents, out of both embrassment and also the fear that they would actually do something, which would prompt more taunting.

Unless you are crawling around in the woods hunting for food a la Ted Nugent, I really don't see the point in owning a gun. For protection? From what, more guns? Frost's "Mending Wall" comes to mind.
posted by archimago at 5:52 AM on September 26, 2003


And shouldn't that fault be on the two who murdered them? Last time I checked it was only those two who killed anyone that day.


Nothing happens in a vacuum. Nothing. Columbine was a tragedy and a crime but it doesn't stop there. There are reasons why these kids went on a rampage, doesn't that topic interest you? Or do you think that it is enough to know that two disturbed highschool students tried to take out their entire class?

Heston was speaking at the NRA's national convention which is planned years in advance. It's not like they could reschedule something of that magnitude in that short of a time period.


Well I'm assuming that the NRA's national convention is held annually so I doubt that it was planned "years in advance". Months in advance sounds more plausible. And yes, if they had any class, they would have postponed it and held it somewhere else.

As far as buying a gun in a bank, it seems legal, but totally insane. But I find gun conventions and the mom and pop small arms store on the corner totally insane as well.

Anyway Suzy, bangup post.
posted by sic at 6:19 AM on September 26, 2003


his brand of incoherency is nowhere near the sheer poetry that clav brings to his mangling

I beg to differ - this comment is absolutely poetry (and I'm not kidding).


Someday we ought to have a MeTa thread and nominate the poet laureate of MeFi - thomcatspike or clav or ..?

Could be lots of silly fun.
posted by orange swan at 8:02 AM on September 26, 2003


Unless you are crawling around in the woods hunting for food a la Ted Nugent, I really don't see the point in owning a gun. For protection? From what, more guns? Frost's "Mending Wall" comes to mind.

dont bring frost into this.
I am sorry you where picked on, I too was picked on. But i stood up for myself when i had too.

say archmago, ever been shot at?, had a gun stuck in your belly or face by a robber. Ever have a murder(s) in your neigbourhood?


Again this speaks to the attitude that Americans have that it is all about me me me, with no regard for my fellow man

this sentence speaks volumes.
posted by clavdivs at 8:06 AM on September 26, 2003


say archmago, ever been shot at?, had a gun stuck in your belly or face by a robber. Ever have a murder(s) in your neigbourhood?

Thank you for proving the point.

Objectively, your chances for any of those things happening are incredibly small (at least, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, whom I would hazard a guess is responsible for that kind of calculation). So small, in fact, that it hardly justifies walking around in such abject fear of being assaulted every day that you feel it necessary to arm yourself.

Now, I'm not saying you won't feel fear if it's happened to you-- but I will say that, statistically speaking, you have about a ten times better chance[pdf] of being injured in a car accident than being a victim of assault, sexual assault, or robbery. It's pretty paranoid to make such extreme preparations against such an eventuality, don't you think?
posted by Cerebus at 9:36 AM on September 26, 2003


THE STATISTICS WIN!

oh, brother.
posted by clavdivs at 10:23 AM on September 26, 2003


Last time I checked it was only those two who killed anyone that day.

I love it when people use that "last time I checked" trope and it shows they should've actually checked. If you'd, say, watched the movie, you'd know that Moore specifically brought up the concurrence of the shooting with the biggest single day of bombing in Kosovo. Trying to pretend that these two kids were just weird, isolated psychos operating in a vacuum if exactly the attitude Moore attacks in the movie.
posted by soyjoy at 10:43 AM on September 26, 2003


I will absolutely bring Frost into this. That poem has never seemed more relevant than to this discussion.

"Before I built a wall Iā€™d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out"

If there weren't people pointing guns at me during a crime, then I wouldn't need a gun to protect myself from the gun being pointed in my belly.

I hate that attitude that we should teach kids to stand up for themselves against the bullies instead of teaching kids who bully why it does nothing but pit man against man, attitudes we carry into our adult lives.
posted by archimago at 11:08 AM on September 26, 2003


My point, clavdivs my fragmentary friend, is that fear of crime-- or more accurately, fear of becoming a victim of violent crime-- is paranoia by any rational examination of the facts. It's just not bloody likely it's going to happen to you, personally-- and if you're one of the unlucky ones and it does, it's equally bloody unlikely it'll ever happen again.

That's a fact. You can't argue with that. Of course, you didn't, did you?

Normally, we'd call someone who insists that something false is true delusional. Now we've neatly segued into the realm of mental health...
posted by Cerebus at 11:40 AM on September 26, 2003


We should probably be teaching both lessons, archimago. Self-defense and decent treatment of others are both valuable things. And they aren't at all mutually exclusive.
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on September 26, 2003


"He only says, "Good fences make good neighbors."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbors?...


...But it's not elves exactly"

Right.

If there weren't people pointing guns at me during a crime, then I wouldn't need a gun to protect myself from the gun being pointed in my belly.

If the robber knows you have a weapon, he will think twice.
if we are playing the axiom game.

I hate that attitude that we should teach kids to stand up for themselves against the bullies instead of teaching kids who bully

We? as in parents and the school system?
how can you enforce this 99.999% of the time HOW?
to have no weapons? to create laws?

why it does nothing but pit man against man, attitudes we carry into our adult lives.

you are trying to salvage a word.
Human emotions are too complex for your seemingly singular definition of:

Attitude.a : a mental position with regard to a fact or state b : a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state.

in relation to violent behavior in society.

don't get me wrong, im an emotional fella no doubt.
maybe a realist.

"and gun sales lead to more gun sales
they do not clutter the market for gunnery 170
there is no saturation "

-Ezra Pound. Canto LXXIV

Normally, we'd call someone who insists that something false is true delusional. Now we've neatly segued into the realm of mental health...

right, and....

and if you're one of the unlucky ones and it does, it's equally bloody unlikely it'll ever happen again.

I'm happy you have explained the lightning strike theory.
posted by clavdivs at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2003


What is your problem with my use of the word "attitude"?
posted by archimago at 12:19 PM on September 26, 2003


So, clavdivs, if I told you you had a 0.4% chance of being hit by lightning every time you stepped out of your house, would you strap a lightning rod to your head?

No?

'Nuff said.

If, actually you would, post a picture. Please?
posted by Cerebus at 1:14 PM on September 26, 2003


if you'd, say, watched the movie, you'd know that moore specifically brought up the concurrence of the shooting with the biggest single day of bombing in kosovo. trying to pretend that these two kids were just weird, isolated psychos operating in a vacuum if exactly the attitude moore attacks in the movie

How on earth could Columbine have any causal link whatsoever to Kosovo, or even joint causation? How could an American "culture of fear" induce genocide in the Balkans? What would a "culture of fear" have to do with stopping genocide with armed force? Had we tried to stop the genocide in Rwanda by bombing people, would that have been indicative of a "culture of fear?" If he's right in linking the two, we should have seen tremendous murder sprees in the US on the nights we firebombed Germany and Japan, and the streets should have run ankle-deep in blood when we were nuking Japanese cities. Since these things did not AFAIK occur, I think we can safely disregard this link as entirely spurious.

Likewise, linking Columbine to a "culture of fear" exemplified by a booster plant is just, well, dumb. If that were true, then McAlester, OK would be the frightenedest and violentest place on earth, since that's where they actually build ~all the dumb bombs the US uses. And Watervliet, NY would give it a close run, since that's where they build all the artillery tubes for the US (except for the Rheinmetall ones, I suppose?).

Gah. I just have no use for sloppy reasoning.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:21 PM on September 26, 2003


owww typo
no '170' in Pound quote.

If, actually you would, post a picture. Please?

well, when i moved to florida and experienced lightning there, i would concede that yes, there
were times when i would have to go outside and wished i had a lightning rod on my head.
posted by clavdivs at 2:19 PM on September 26, 2003


Gah. I just have no use for sloppy reasoning.

Neither do I:

If he's right in linking the two, we should have seen tremendous murder sprees in the US on the nights we firebombed Germany and Japan, and the streets should have run ankle-deep in blood when we were nuking Japanese cities.

US culture, at the time, was not awash in the same kind of nebulous and ubiquitous fear as it is now. It was awash in specific, directed fear-- one which, it should be added, the country was acting toward eliminating.

Quite different, I hope you can see now.

However, regions of this country were awash in a more limited in scope, but otherwise similarly nebulous and ubiquitous fear-- of blacks. And the streets were, metaphorically speaking, ankle deep in blood.

There's a connection there, I think.
posted by Cerebus at 2:20 PM on September 26, 2003


It's some sort of link to Kosovo, or to the presence or absence of a rocket factory, that I'm objecting to.

I think you're simply wrong in thinking that people in 194x weren't prone to the same sorts of nebulous fears as they are now, if perhaps to some smaller degree -- it's not like we have good survey evidence from then to compare to now. But suppose you're right. That still doesn't explain why our "culture of fear" made the Balkans go nuts and try to kill each other. Nor does it explain why our "culture of fear" made us bomb Serbia; the idea that we were afeared of the Serbians is, frankly, risible. Nor does it explain why orbital-lifter plants are linked to local teens going nuts and killing their fellow students, but towns with real life actual can't-argue-about-it no-shit munitions and armaments plants don't seem to have that problem in any notable abundance.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:44 PM on September 26, 2003


GAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

It's terrifyingly obvious that a lot of you people haven't even SEEN the movie, or else you wouldn't keep bringing up this stupid shit.

Why the fuck are you having an argument when you clearly don't know what you're arguing against? Go out and rent the DVD, it will not kill you, and it's not what you think it is.
posted by Hildago at 2:44 PM on September 26, 2003


It's interesting how the sense of fear leads otherwise sensible people to deny that there is a sense of fear.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:56 PM on September 26, 2003


It's some sort of link to Kosovo, or to the presence or absence of a rocket factory, that I'm objecting to.

You brought up WWII, not me. Frankly, I think that the Lockheed and Kosovo points were inappropriate to Moore's thesis, and if I were producing would have argued to leave them out-- but they are ultimately irrelevant to that thesis.

clavdivs, however, is a perfect example of it in action. 8)

I think you're simply wrong in thinking that people in 194x weren't prone to the same sorts of nebulous fears as they are now, if perhaps to some smaller degree -- it's not like we have good survey evidence from then to compare to now.

I never said people weren't prone to the same kind of fear; I said American culture wasn't awash in it the way it is today. The media businesses didn't monger fear in the same ways, or reach as broad an audience, or push that fear down to the younger demographics on the same scale.

I also pointed out that, yes, actually, some parts of American culture were awash in fear-- and that it resulted in the same kind of irrational, paranoid violence as Moore describes in Bowling.
posted by Cerebus at 4:09 PM on September 26, 2003


*sigh* Going too fast, forgot to add:

That still doesn't explain why our "culture of fear" made the Balkans go nuts and try to kill each other.

No. The culture of fear the Balkans is steeped in makes them go nuts and kill each other-- and has for centuries. If Serbs weren't afraid of Croats and vice versa I doubt Yugoslavia would have collapsed into civil war.
posted by Cerebus at 4:11 PM on September 26, 2003


Frankly, I think that the Lockheed and Kosovo points were inappropriate to Moore's thesis

That's all I'm saying, except I'm all exasperated about it because it's bad inference at best, and more likely an attempt to link things that he knows full well have no real relationship to each other -- school killings are, I'll wager, invariant across the industrial makeup of the local community, and across our current military (mis)adventures. And bad inference drives me irrationally apeshit, so you can imagine how intentionally implying links between things that you know are not actually related makes me feel.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:59 PM on September 26, 2003


ROU-Xenophobe, the link between bombing Kosovo and Lockheed Martin might be the lack of respect for human life*.
Whether or not these things had any effect on the psyches of the Columbine killers we may never know, but they are part of a pattern of behaviour and attitude that has been prevalent in recent US history.
*Unless you believe that bombing people is a helpful way to interact with them.
posted by asok at 6:52 AM on September 27, 2003


ROU-Xenophobe, the link between bombing Kosovo and Lockheed Martin might be the lack of respect for human life*

I await with bated breath any good link between building orbital lifters and a lack of respect for human life. As people have noted before, Titans were demilitarized decades ago and are just another heavy-lift booster.

I further await a good explanation why rocket factories might make kids go nuts by the sheer force of their immorality, but real life bomb factories don't, and real life artillery factories don't. Something in the fuel maybe?

None of which is to say that rocket, bomb, or artillery factories are necessarily good (or bad) things. But linking booster factories and a half-hearted attempt to stop more genocide to the US having a high murder-by-handgun rate is just daffy.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:44 AM on September 27, 2003


Unless you believe that bombing people is a helpful way to interact with them.

Helpful to whom? The bombers, often, or they wouldn't have bombed in the first place. The bombees, usually not.
posted by kindall at 9:03 AM on September 27, 2003


The best link I can draw between Kosovo and Littleton is simply that the reasons (generally) nations do violence to one another are similar to the reasons individuals do violence to one another; i.e., fear and paranoia (on a national scale) is similar to fear and paranoia (on a personal scale) and can result in violence in both cases.

US & UN actions in Kosovo, however, are not the best examples of this. The Six Day War or the Yom Kippur War are the best examples I can come up with on the spur of the moment. But they're not exactly contemporary.
posted by Cerebus at 11:12 AM on September 27, 2003


Since I dragged the Kosovo connection into this (only as a specific response to the blinkered "Last time I checked it was only those two who killed anyone that day" line), let me stress that if you haven't seen the movie, you should probably do so before flying off on any more eviscerations of Moore's logic.

Of course it's a simple coincidence that Columbine occurred on a day that happened to be the deadliest bombing day in Kosovo. Obviously Moore's not saying there's a direct cause-and-effect relationship. What he's doing is asking questions - especially since so many commentators on the right were quick to say "THIS is what CAUSED Columbine" about one pop-culture bogeyman or another - and saying, might there be more interrelationships between all these things, all these manifestations of our culture of fear, than we usually acknowledge?

Then again, as Hildago said, anyone on this thread who's criticizing the movie without having seen it has no idea what an ass they're making of themselves.
posted by soyjoy at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2003


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