The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53144   Message #818722
Posted By: Jon Bartlett
05-Nov-02 - 12:45 AM
Thread Name: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
Subject: RE: BS: Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine
As I was the one who introduced the "fraud" notion, let me explain what I meant, and at the same time apologise to people who were upset that I was "hurling epithets and engaging in personal attacks against Moore". I meant the remark as a mild-mannered aside, more as a commentary on the seeming inability of US culture ever to have generated a genuine working class public representative. I have nothing but respect for Moore, Terkel, Seeger and Phillips, but all they provide is a parodies or simulcra of working class people - whether it's Phillips' line about "I don't know much about what you'd call class/but the upper and middle can both kiss my ass" or the execrable songs the CP has historically stood behind such as "I Don't Want your Millions, Mister (all I want's my job again"). I'm saddened that the games of dress-up they play are necessary (if indeed it's not caused by their timidity) to present points of view shared by millions of Americans.

Thus I don't believe Moore is in truth the slob he presents in his films. I can see the cinematographic reason in doing so, especially when taking on Roger from GM or walking up Heston's driveway. In that sense, a fraud.

But the bigger question for me is the thesis of the film. One might call it a moving target. One minute it's "guns kill people", then it's "handguns kill people", then it's "too readily available ammunition kills people", then it's "fear kills people". If each of these theses were addressed in turn, one might get a better idea of what the film is about. This confusion culminates in the Heston interview. Heston apparently has nothing to hide: he makes time for the interview, welcomes Moore to his house, etc. For me, Heston comes off looking better than Moore. After Moore has run through his list of ambiguous "facts" (that there are more guns in Canada with fewer murders, etc.), Heston might have said, "And your point is, Michael...?". The end of the interview, with Moore asking for an apology from Heston (for ?holding a rally in Flint shortly after the 6 year old was killed: I'm not sure what the apology was supposed to be for) was classic "gotcha" journalism: he's damned if he apologizes, damned if he doesn't - what else can he do but walk away?
And the leaving of the picture of the dead girl was tacky and repulsive in the extreme, unless Moore believes that Heston has some responsibility for her death (which he didn't argue, only that holding a rally after her death is unbelievably cruel).

As I said in the earlier post, the question that would have nailed Heston and all the rightwing nuts is "WHAT are you afraid of, exactly?". Again, let me apologise for anyone who took my comments as personal attacks, etc.

Jon Bartlett