Stef (firecat) wrote,

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Bowling for Columbine

I saw Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine with my sweetie
kyubi last night.

I guess I'm glad I saw it, but I'm sorry that I had gotten the impression from comments read and overheard that it was a "relatively even-handed" treatment. If I'd known it was "typical Michael Moore," I might have been less annoyed by it.

In some ways I feel like it's kind of churlish not to like Michael Moore, and I do find some of his stuff very funny and other of his stuff really thought-provoking. But I just can't stand it when people who are pushing a particular political point of view do so via indirectly making fun of people who have different points of view and via emotional rhetoric ("but the chillllldruuuuuun...") and via unstated ironic juxtaposition (e.g., interviewing a public relations coordinator for Lockheed Martin about the Columbine high school murders with a missile in the background - to Moore's credit, he did eventually ask the guy "what is the difference between the Columbine murders and building missiles?" and showed him giving what some people might consider a reasonable answer).

I got really mad over his treatment of the story of the six-year-old who shot dead a fellow student in Flint. Now, I fully agree with Moore that there are inumane aspects to a welfare-to-work program that requires single mothers to work 10-14 hours a day and doesn't even pay enough to cover their rent. But couldn't he at least have mentioned, in this segment of the movie, that it is a good idea to teach young children to leave guns alone, instead of implying that the welfare-to-work program is entirely responsible for what happened? I'm not saying that he should blame the boy's relatives. But.

I can't really point to a particular part of the movie that gave me this impression, but I came away thinking about the many ways that something not dissimilar to slavery still exists in the US - that is, many people who are stuck not quite making ends meet working 1 or 2 low-wage jobs and thus staying stuck in situation where they don't have very many choices. (Barbara Ehrenreich also covers this in her book Nickel and Dimed.)

Because the movie covered this subject, and also covered the media's overemphasis on crime (crime rates are falling, but crime coverage and fear of crime are rising), I'm surprised that there was no mention of the prison-industrial complex - which is another way that something even more similar to slavery than the welfare-to-work programs still exists in the US, and another reason that there's an overemphasis on crime - because this industry wants to be able to keep on building and staffing more prisons, and because prisoners are a form of cheap labor in the US.

I am definitely going to have to check out the book The Culture of Fear mentioned in the movie. (Moore interviewed the author Barry Glassner.)
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