September 24, 2003

It's Easy

If you've dismissed "Bowling For Columbine" or Michael Moore based on a refutation you've read or seen, maybe you feel there is no need to revisit the matter. Maybe you just don't care about Moore. Maybe it makes a different to you where the criticism is coming from, maybe it doesn't. Likely, you would care whether or not his critics were distorting their criticism.

From the number of times I've mentioned him on the blog (looks like it's going to be twice today) you'd think I am his biggest fan. In reality, I found his show hit and miss, but the hits were worth sitting through the misses.

I guess i was entertained and informed enough back then that I have reacted badly to the attacks on Moore. Perhaps it has even made me more of a fan.

In any case, Moore has decided to create a place to refute his detractors.

The one that folks have repeatedly confronted me with when I mention the film is the gun scene. Detractors make a big deal out of the fact that it was filmed at different times to make it look like he just walked into the bank, opened an account and walked out with the gun.

Well, he does make it look like that. Mostly because that is the way it happened.

When you see me going in to the bank and walking out with my new gun in "Bowling for Columbine" – that is exactly as it happened. Nothing was done out of the ordinary other than to phone ahead and ask permission to let me bring a camera in to film me opening up my account. I walked into that bank in northern Michigan for the first time ever on that day in June 2001, and, with cameras rolling, gave the bank teller $1,000 – and opened up a 20-year CD account. After you see me filling out the required federal forms ("How do you spell Caucasian?") – which I am filling out here for the first time – the bank manager faxed it to the bank's main office for them to do the background check. The bank is a licensed federal arms dealer and thus can have guns on the premises and do the instant background checks (the ATF's Federal Firearms database—which includes all federally approved gun dealers—lists North Country Bank with Federal Firearms License #4-38-153-01-5C-39922).

Within 10 minutes, the "OK" came through from the firearms background check agency and, 5 minutes later, just as you see it in the film, they handed me a Weatherby Mark V Magnum rifle (If you'd like to see the outtakes, click here).

Why have people come to the conclusion that this was "staged." Because an NRA stooge posing as an independant investigator said it was staged. If you look at the outtakes, it's pretty clear that the only thing staged about it was that he asked permission to have the camera in the bank.

If you, reader, are an opponent of Moore's politics (and even we "fans" don't agree with everything he says) tactics like this are not going to work long term. A reign of error speaks for itself. But when the criticisms are fabricated, one has to figure that Moore was on to something, and perhaps hitting a little too close to the bone for some folks. That's the conclusion I have reached.
(link via Boing Boing)

Posted by James at September 24, 2003 8:37 PM
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Finally saw Bowling for Columbine last night. I don't think it was coming down hard on the NRA actually, at all. Moore repeats that he is a life time member. It doesn't point the finger at guns as the problem either. He shows how there are at least 7 million guns in Canada and less gun deaths. Sure he was not kind to the NRA's decision to be insensitive to the massacre, but that's to be expected.

He placed the blame pretty squarely on the fear-mongers in the country. The media, the politicians and such. Being in Canada this year, being without television the whole time I was particularly sensitive to the images of fear mongering. It was so obvious.

The NRA has a guilty conscience that's their problem.


Posted by: Rui Campos at September 27, 2003 4:18 PM

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