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Old 03-28-03, 11:11 PM   #1
lookslikeme
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The truth about "Bowling For Columbine"

I'm sure there's other threads about this already, but I did a search in the movie forum and didn't see anything along these lines.

I tried to never form an opinion about Micheal Moore, but Bowling For Columbine had some obvious lies that I couldn't let die. I remember being very affected by the Columbine shootings, and did a lot of research at the time to try and make sense of it all. I remember paying close attention to the NRA's reaction to the shootings, and my memory didn't match up with Moore's film version. Also, I work for Lockheed Martin (not in Littleton, CO), and I knew for a fact that his presentation of the company was untrue. Most of the other facts in the movie I couldn't possibly confirm or deny, but knowing what I do know, I have a hard time believing them. Because of that, I did some research of my own, and I came across this website (contains tons of spoilers):

http://www.hardylaw.net/Truth_About_Bowling.html
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Old 03-28-03, 11:40 PM   #2
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Very informative. Still loved the movie.
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Old 03-29-03, 12:10 AM   #3
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Moore get's mad about stuff like that.
http://www.suntimes.com/output/answ-...y-ebert231.htm
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Old 03-29-03, 12:30 AM   #4
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Documentaries are never the final word on anything, its all about perspective. Moore's may be wrong. But he does make entertaining films.


[opens can of worms]
Perhaps they should have CSI's make documentaries.
I bet they could link heston's guns to quite a few shootings in texas... [/runsaway from can of worms and giggles]
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Old 03-29-03, 01:53 AM   #5
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I believe Moore is in the entertainment business first, I'm sure a quote can be found supporting this.

That being said, there is such a thing called editing. If you disagree with his points or his findings or his opinions, then dispute them. Offer counter evidence. Give your own opinion. But, to pick his apart... What's the point? You can pick apart any documentary because they have to cut something out...
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Old 03-29-03, 02:10 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by yecul
I believe Moore is in the entertainment business first, I'm sure a quote can be found supporting this.

That being said, there is such a thing called editing. If you disagree with his points or his findings or his opinions, then dispute them. Offer counter evidence. Give your own opinion. But, to pick his apart... What's the point? You can pick apart any documentary because they have to cut something out...
Perhaps you should read the link again. The issue is not what he cut out so much as what he created out of thin air and presented to the audience as fact. The word is not "editing", which could be spun off as nothing more than exaggeration for effect. The word is "fabrication."

Moore intended for his audience to find BFC fairly light-hearted in many ways. He did not intend for his audience to find it fictional. That is pure dishonesty and, considering his predilection for accusing others of dishonesty the moment some fool puts a microphone within 10 feet of him, hypocrisy as well.
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Old 03-29-03, 06:40 AM   #7
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The documentries take on certain situations only arises because the people he interviews say stupid things and can't back themselves up properly. The guy at Lockheed Martin, Charlton Heston and a host of other people let themselves get dug into a hole. K-Mart on the other hand act how you would expect anyone to act. The K-Mart reps come across as cautious at first, but end up understanding and changing their ways.

The main find that Moore seems to make is the difference between the media in Canada and the US, which most certainly seems to be the reason behind all the violence.
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Old 03-29-03, 09:52 AM   #8
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There's just as much spin in this article as there is in BFC.

Quote:
from the article

Bowling portrays this with the following sequence:

Weeping children outside Columbine, explaining how near they had come to death and how their friends had just been murdered before their eyes;

Cut to Charlton Heston holding a musket over his head and happily proclaiming "I have only five words for you: 'from my cold, dead, hands'" to a cheering NRA crowd.

Cut to billboard advertising the meeting, while Moore in voiceover intones "Just ten days after the Columbine killings, despite the pleas of a community in mourning, Charlton Heston came to Denver and held a large pro-gun rally for the National Rifle Association;"

Cut to Heston (supposedly) continuing speech... "I have a message from the Mayor, Mr. Wellington Webb, the Mayor of Denver. He sent me this; it says 'don't come here. We don't want you here.' I say to the Mayor this is our country, as Americans we're free to travel wherever we want in our broad land. Don't come here? We're already here."

The portrayal is one of Heston and NRA arrogantly holding a protest rally in response to the deaths -- or, as one reviewer put it, "it seemed that Charlton Heston and others rushed to Littleton to hold rallies and demonstrations directly after the tragedy." [italics added]. Moore successfully causes viewers to reach this conclusion. It is in fact false.

Although the annual convention was scheduled well in advance of the Columbine tragedy, Heston's statements showed a total lack of tact in dealing with what they knew to be a very delicate situation, and many people agree with Moore's conclusion.
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Old 03-29-03, 12:05 PM   #9
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Heston's "cold dead hands" speech, which leads off Moore's depiction of the Denver meeting, was not given at Denver after Columbine. It was given a year later in Charlotte, North Carolina, and was a response to his being given the musket, a collector's piece, at that annual meeting. Bowling leads off with this speech, and then splices in footage which was taken in Denver and refers to Denver, to create the impression that the entire clip was taken at the Denver event.

The rest of the "message to the mayor" section of the speech was cut and paste editing to make it appear something it wasn't.

below is a crucial portion of Heston's speech in context:

"NRA members are in city hall, Fort Carson, NORAD, the Air Force Academy and the Olympic Training Center. And yes, NRA members are surely among the police and fire and SWAT team heroes who risked their lives to rescue the students at Columbine.

Don't come here? We're already here. This community is our home. Every community in America is our home. We are a 128-year-old fixture of mainstream America. The Second Amendment ethic of lawful, responsible firearm ownership spans the broadest cross section of American life imaginable.

So, we have the same right as all other citizens to be here. To help shoulder the grief and share our sorrow and to offer our respectful, reassured voice to the national discourse that has erupted around this tragedy."
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Old 03-29-03, 01:17 PM   #10
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I don't know about anyone else, but it was immeadiately obvious to me that the "cold dead hands" quote was from a completely different meeting--the location, clothes, etc were different. I don't see how anyone would be mislead by that.

Parts of the speech were cut out, and it certainly make the NRA leadership look more cold and indifferent, but Moore also makes a huge point of the fact that he is a gun nut and a card carrying member. Before seeing the film, I was actually expecting it to be an anti-gun, anti-NRA film, and I really don't think it was. Moore was mainly making a point about our culture of fear and our reliance on violence.

Some of the things on that website are legitimate criticisms, but in the context of the broader ideas touched on in the film, it doesn't make BFC any less relevant, IMO.
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Old 03-29-03, 02:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Perhaps you should read the link again. The issue is not what he cut out so much as what he created out of thin air and presented to the audience as fact. The word is not "editing", which could be spun off as nothing more than exaggeration for effect. The word is "fabrication."
Thank you for completely supporting my statement.
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Old 03-29-03, 03:38 PM   #12
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Moore's film was kinda like that part in Mr. Deeds where the evil news man edits the news footage to make Sandler look bad. Ok, that comparison is stretching it but its true.
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Old 03-29-03, 03:41 PM   #13
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Documentaries are not about portraying the truth, they are about making an arguement. If the arguement features exagerations and even falsehoods it doesn't mean the movie isn't a documentary; after all, ever seen a performative documentary?

These exagerations and falsehoods however are legitimate criticisms of a documentary's arguement, but no documentary ever portrays an "objective truth," it is not possible.
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Old 03-29-03, 04:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mourn
Documentaries are not about portraying the truth, they are about making an arguement. If the arguement features exagerations and even falsehoods it doesn't mean the movie isn't a documentary; after all, ever seen a performative documentary?

These exagerations and falsehoods however are legitimate criticisms of a documentary's arguement, but no documentary ever portrays an "objective truth," it is not possible.
From Dictionary.com
Quote:
doc∑u∑men∑ta∑ry ( P ) Pronunciation Key (dky-mnt-r) adj.
1) Consisting of, concerning, or based on documents.
2) Presenting facts objectively without editorializing or inserting fictional matter, as in a book or film.

n. pl. doc∑u∑men∑ta∑ries

A work, such as a film or television program, presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news films or interviews accompanied by narration.
So it should be factual. Now these are fictional times and all but still I thikn documentaries should try to show the truth and reality of the situation otherwise they are just propaganda and outright lies.

Just my $.02
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Old 03-29-03, 04:38 PM   #15
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The lies and exagerations in this film do discredit Moore, simply because his whole point in his Oscar's tyrade was that he love non-fiction, and hates fiction. I can understand the argument that his movie was meant to only emphasize America's love of guns, and his editing of the NRA speeches was a just means to serve that purpose. I don't agree with that argument, but I can at least understand it. His claim that Littleton, CO's Lockheed Martin plant makes weapons, and in some way influenced the two Columbine shooters is just a bold faced lie, and I can't quite follow the logic behind it.

The only thing that his movie, and his Oscar speech have done for me is make him look like a hypocrit, and basically ruin any credibility that I ever thought he had.
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Old 03-29-03, 05:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by lookslikeme
The lies and exagerations in this film do discredit Moore, simply because his whole point in his Oscar's tyrade was that he love non-fiction, and hates fiction. I can understand the argument that his movie was meant to only emphasize America's love of guns, and his editing of the NRA speeches was a just means to serve that purpose. I don't agree with that argument, but I can at least understand it. His claim that Littleton, CO's Lockheed Martin plant makes weapons, and in some way influenced the two Columbine shooters is just a bold faced lie, and I can't quite follow the logic behind it.

The only thing that his movie, and his Oscar speech have done for me is make him look like a hypocrit, and basically ruin any credibility that I ever thought he had.
I have a feeling that you didn't watch the movie entirely, or maybe that your brain skipped over certain parts of it. Moore tackles the question 'Why are Americans so violent?' the same way as any sane person would. And that is by analysing the main reasons for why it might be that way. He doesn't EVER claim that the NRA, or K-Mart, or Lockheed Martin are responsible for it. He merely raises the original question to the spokesmen/women for each organisation. It's not Moore's fault that the people he interviews end up making bumbling fools of themselves. They could just answer with
Quote:
'No, I don't think our organisation is a contribution to the problem, and I don't know what the cause is. It's a tough question which I'm sure you already know since you're making a documentary to find out the answer for it. Good Luck.'
He even passes his findings on to Charlton Heston at the end saying that Canada has a lot of guns but isn't violent, so maybe it isn't the guns that causes the problem, but Heston still thinks he's being attacked. It scares me to think that a senile old man who doesn't even know why he's pro-gun is leading on every other person in the country who owns a gun.
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Old 03-29-03, 05:57 PM   #17
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Quote:
So it should be factual. Now these are fictional times and all but still I thikn documentaries should try to show the truth and reality of the situation otherwise they are just propaganda and outright lies.
Trust me, i just spent a month on documentary theory... they spent most of that time hammering it into our heads that there is no such thing as "truth" or "reality" when it comes to documentary.

Now, i'm not saying that "lieing" doesn't effect the credibility of a documentary, but it is a facet of all documentaries as they all at least lie by omission and not a one is even remotely objective (we aren't even allowed to use that word in regards to documentary).
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Old 03-30-03, 01:18 AM   #18
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I think either I'm misrepresenting myself, or maybe I'm not being specific enough. Like I said, I can understand why Moore edited the speeches, and guided the other information the way he did. That doesn't mean that I agree with most of the points he alluded to. My question is, why did he need to lie, and manipulate scenarios so severely to prove his point?
The Lockheed Martin plant that he singled out has nothing to do with weapons development, or defense contracting, so why did he feel the need to make it out to be? There's plenty of companies throughout the country that do the work that he claims the Littleton, CO, Lockheed Martin does, so why not go to one of them? The only reason I can see for it, is to try and make some sort of correlation between the company and the shootings. Otherwise, I don't see the logic behind it. I may be just misinterpretting his intent, but it's an out-and-out lie, and I don't see why he's taken that direction.
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Old 03-30-03, 02:48 AM   #19
fmian
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Quote:
Originally posted by lookslikeme
The Lockheed Martin plant that he singled out has nothing to do with weapons development, or defense contracting, so why did he feel the need to make it out to be? There's plenty of companies throughout the country that do the work that he claims the Littleton, CO, Lockheed Martin does, so why not go to one of them?
I think you DID miss out bits of the movie. He goes to that specific plant because the fathers of the columbine shooting kids work(ed) there. Also, I'm pretty sure I sure a massive missile right behind the guy he was interviewing. I'm sure Moore also explained that every now and then they have to transport these missiles out of the plant and they are forced to do it in the middle of the night.
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Old 03-30-03, 11:48 AM   #20
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He got people who watched the movie thinking about gun control, which was his purpose. Compared to Chicago, his was the most important film of the year, PERIOD.
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Old 03-30-03, 12:26 PM   #21
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Originally posted by Krug
He got people who watched the movie thinking about gun control, which was his purpose. Compared to Chicago, his was the most important film of the year, PERIOD.
Whoa, wait a minute.
Catherine Zeta Jones' legs are an important thing to think about as well!!
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Old 03-30-03, 01:09 PM   #22
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Again, I have to say it was pretty obvious that Moore was not trying to lay any blame on Lockheed Martin for Columbine, and I can't see how anyone who saw the entire film would come out of it thinking that. I would have a hard time believing people would come out of this film with a notion that Lockheed Martin is even partly to blame for that tragedy, that's not the point.

And I personally think the fact that the Littleton facility doesn't actually construct weapons is irrelevant--the company itself is a defense contractor and does actually build missiles and other weapons for the military. I'm not defending Moore's misleading statement in the film, but don't you think that perhaps even the people in Littleton might not know that this facility doesn't actually build weapons? I would guess many of them assume they do. In any case, it's all besides the point.

I think what Moore was doing was what the media and our culture usually does in times of tragedy--find someone or something to blame--and taking it a step further. If we can ask whether video games or music are the cause, isn't it just as valid to ask about the other parts of these kids' lives--their parents' jobs with a defense contractor, guns, ammunition purchased at Wal-Mart, the pressure put upon them by family and society to "succeed", bowling, or the TV news for a cause? The idea is that there are no easy answers, except perhaps that our society and culture are inherently prone to this sort of senseless violence.

That's why the tagline is "Are we a nation of gun nuts or are we just nuts?".
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Old 03-30-03, 01:24 PM   #23
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Bottom line is, I really enjoyed his documentary. Most if not all of the information provided, were indeed true, and he did a pretty good job trying to back up his sources. I for one, was in agreement with many things he said.
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Old 03-31-03, 02:04 AM   #24
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NANOOK OF THE NORTH laid the groundwork.
Considered to be the first documentary.
Some of it was fake and staged.
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Old 03-31-03, 02:57 AM   #25
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Hey, he's a liberal.
They are known for free speech, as long as it's not the truth.
You God, etc. etc.
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