Bowling for ColumbineReviewed By Thom
Posted 10/12/02 02:24:14
In the period after 9/11 many people in Hollywood looked once again at their navel and said, “What am I for?” And for about a day, everyone got serious and then said, “Hey, the people need Comedy!” Michael Moore has been paying very close attention to the real world, while mainstream commercial entertainment media waved colorful monkeys in of our face while playing circus music and we sat there and just watched while outside, the air turns black, the water turns poison, the ice cap melts, the United States commits atrocities the world over and the populace gives up participating in their democracy in exchange for the “anticipated Friends episode where Rachel gives birth.”BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE examines the issue of gun violence in America and ties it to deeper roots of violence in America. It is a shocking and enlightening. I applaud Moore for his courageous efforts to get the story, approaching people like Dick Clark and Charlton Heston, two sacrosanct “celebrities” theoretically more important than you, and confronts them in his quest to get at the truth and create behavior change.
The problem is, in our sports metaphor society, we are all brainwashed to want one thing, and that is to win. It is not about being right, or moral or wise, it is about winning. Winners don’t discuss things. They take advantage of your weakness and plow through. Life is a football game. When you put guns on the playing field (another oft used sports metaphor), plowing through puts significant might in your hand, making it much easier to plow through and win.
So when a couple of teenagers in a city where most of the parents are busy manufacturing weapons of mass destruction for Lookheed Martin, why are we outraged at their behavior when they are simply enacting the might makes right philosophy of our society? I understand that you aren’t supposed to shoot members of your own team, which is why it is vital that we are “united”, that way we can turn our collective hatred against some other enemy to destroy and win.
I got email from someone who told me that he had a friend who grew up around Littleton, Colorado, where Columbine High School is, and kids grew up knowing how to make bombs, as if it were climbing trees or riding bikes.
Moore has gathered some stunning footage. There was no script or story arc. Three years ago he got to work, one thing led to another and what started out as one story became a story of gun violence in America. All those assholes I ever had to deal with in my corporate life came trotting across the screen. If you wanted to know what kind of people create the stories about our society and the products we consume, this film gives you a glimpse. I imagine some of the guardians of that medicine show may be annoyed that this film shows them for what they truly are, liars, lying to you, lying to me, to keep their precious economic status intact at any cost to you or yours.
That basic paradigm has much wider implications from your living room to the world stage. I was so appalled I actually wanted to get off my ass, study the issues, get involved in civic causes, and vote.My hope is that this documentary shifts the public debate to where it should be and in the process help make us a kinder, gentler country. It is that powerful of a film and if you miss it, you are missing out on the biggest story of our time. You thought OJ was a tidal wave, just wait until you see BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE.
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