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Bowling for Columbine

My favorite subject: fear. That's the answer to the question, "Why do Americans shoot and kill other Americans at rates higher, far higher, than those of any other nation?"

Michael Moore, the inimitable, trudges through this documentary in his signature baggy jeans and scruffy beard, and keeps asking this question. He finds out that:

Other nations have just as violent a history as America's.
People in other countries watch just as many violent movies and play as many violent video games.
Other countries have as high a rate of poverty, or worse.
Some other countries - notably Canada - have as many guns per person, or more.
Teens in other countries listen to the same "violent" bands and don the same life-denying clothes.

He visits Canada to ask about the guns, and finds that

People don't lock their doors there.
The news media doesn't promote stories involving fear and violence above all else.
People of color feel they are "left alone" there, not singled out.

There's some kind of hint there.

Moore certainly preaches to the converted, yet still manages to explore, sometimes in a bludgeonly way, directions and options that are, perhaps, not considered often enough.

Moore makes a link between racism and violence, but I do not think that's the answer. People in every country seem to find ways to be prejudiced against some group. Perhaps the racism is worse here? Probably not worse than in Germany, where people attack those who enter the country looking for jobs. Or in Australia, where the native tribes have been essentially eliminated. Or any number of other places.

Fear, short memory, impulsive reactions.

More. Moore's film looks at corporate criminals, asks, why isn't there a "Corporate Cops" show? Obvious answer: " because the person who steals 86 million is treated like - and may be - a member of the City Council." Doesn't make for exciting television.

I loved the film.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2002 08:15 am (UTC)
Michael Moore is over here at present - I just saw him interviewed on TV and making the point that Canada is far less violent. They showed extracts from the film; it must be on somewhere - I hope not just in London which is rather expensive to visit.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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