Part 8 Gutterballs Eighteen And Nineteen

Larry Pratt

Gutterball Number 18: Wrong On Indians In A Lying Cartoon

Bowling for Columbine (BFC) has within it an original animated cartoon showing what purports to be a history of how whites in America have feared everything from the time the Pilgrims arrived. We are told, regarding what the Pilgrims did to the Indians: “They killed them all” — obviously a lie since, according to the 1990 U.S. Census, there are 1,878,285 Indians in America.

Gutterball Number 19: Wrong With His Absurd Interviewing Style

It’s anything but scientific. In fact, it often seems that the only qualification for being interviewed by Moore is if you want to dump on America. For example, somewhere in Canada, Moore interviews three high school students in front of a Taco Bell about why America is so violent and Canada isn’t. One female with blue hair, a ring in her nose and a ring in her lower lip, says she thinks America’s view of things “is fighting. That’s how they resolve everything. If there’s something going on in another country, you know, they send people over to fight it.”

In conclusion, for-the-record, some of the dupes who praised BFC should be mentioned. On her show (11/1/02), Oprah Winfrey hailed BFC as “more timely than ever” saying it “really excited” her. The film, she said, was a “great job,” “I love the film so much.” Oh, and Oprah ends her show by saying that if somebody went to her house, “you wouldn’t see a gun under my bed.”

But, of course, you would undoubtedly need to be in a tank to even get close to Winfrey’s house. She lives in Montecito, California, on a 42-acre estate for which she paid $50 million in cash. Winfrey’s anti-gun remark is typical of the Liberal elite multi-multi-millionaires who can afford to spend tons of money on personal security.

On his MSNBC program (10/28/02), Phil Donahue called BFC, of all things, “a thoughtful piece of work” that exposed “America’s gun culture… a violent culture… guns and everything else.” Congratulating Moore, Donahue said he would “highly recommend” the film.

Of all the nationally-televised interviews of Moore about BFC the most disappointing was Tim Russert’s interview on CNBC (10/19/02). Russert, host of NBC’s Meet The Press, is, ordinarily, well-prepared and has well-researched his subject. But in his one hour interview of Moore the only opinion he comes up with was to tell Moore his views were “quite interesting, and you deliver them forcefully.” Pathetic.

Some of the most discerning criticism of “BFC” has come from places you would not ordinarily guess would find fault with the film. For example, a review in the rabidly anti-gun New York Times (10/11/02) by A.O Scott accuses BFC of “slippery logic, tendentious grandstanding and outright demagoguery.” An assertion in the movie, regarding 9/11/01, that Osama bin Laden used “expert C.I.A. training to murder 3,000 people,” is said to be “idiocy… hardly worth engaging.” Scott says of Moore’s tactics: “His tendency to scapegoat may satisfy his need for drama, but it makes for lousy politics.”

On National Public Radio’s Fresh Air program (10/25/02), John Powers, who writes a column for L.A. Weekly, said of BFC, that Moore is “better at scoring easy political points than at giving us a clear vision of things… he’s a slipshod film maker…. the film has the scattered shot shapelessness of a concept album made by a singles band. And the style is the man. Moore takes delight in thumping tabloid TV, but he himself uses its cheap techniques and manipulative heartlessness.”

Accusing Moore of “lazy thinking,” Powers says of his interview with Charlton Heston: “I kept thinking how low Moore had been to badger a ga-ga old man for failing to explain why so many Americans shoot one another when his own movie had so transparently failed to answer the very same question.” Good point. And on this point there was this exchange in BFC between Moore and Tom Mauser, the father of one of the students murdered at Columbine High School. The question under discussion: What causes us to be so violent a society?

Moore: “What is it?

Mauser: “What is it?

Moore: “What is it?

Mauser: “What is it? I don’t know.”

In his CNBC interview with Tim Russert (10/19/02), Moore identified himself as “way left-of-center.” And in an interview on the Cable News Network (10/19/02), explaining why he made BFC, Moore said it was because he didn’t want it to be said “that I stood by and did nothing, said nothing, you know.” Sorry, but when it comes to the subjects addressed in BFC, it would have been better for all of us had Michael Moore just stood by and said, and done, nothing.