Michael Moore's works a travesty to documentaries
Issue date: 5/28/04 Section: Ed-Op
Michael Moore's movies are nothing so much as they are dishonest. He's constantly saying things that seem intelligent, but on further examination, aren't. For instance, there's a scene in his documentary Bowling for Columbine in which he says to a man in a Lockheed Martin plant, "Columbine happened down the road from this missile factory. Don't you think there's a connection?" When he said this, I thought to myself, "My heavens, it's all so clear! There's a connection between nuclear weapons and the Trench Coat Mafia!" That is, until the guy to whom the question was posed looked at Michael Moore as if he'd just vomited a live snake onto the floor and said, "Not really. We make nuclear weapons to prevent the Soviets from attacking us, and down the road, some kids went insane and shot up a bunch of innocent people."
Every single scene in Michael Moore's films are like this. They seem to be intelligent; they seem to reveal some deep inner truth, but after a few moments of scrutiny, they fall apart. If you've ever taken an organic chemistry class, you know that there's always a guy who sits up front and looks like he knows everything. You also know there's a difference between looking like you know everything and actually knowing everything. Michael Moore is an expert at looking intelligent, not at being intelligent.
Or take, for instance, the statistics Moore uses in Bowling for Columbine. Toward the middle of the movie, the number of gun-related deaths per country flashes across the screen, and because America's is highest, Moore concludes we're all pistol-packing racists. He doesn't, however, mention any of the circumstances from which the numbers come. For instance, in China most policemen are allowed to kill whoever they want for any infraction of the law without a trial. So, technically, every time a person is killed with a firearm, it's an "execution" and not a "murder." Yet according to Moore, China is a safer place than America, because China has zero gun-related murders a year.