Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Still No Internet and Re: Micheal Moore

Our internet is still down at our apartment. Not cool. However, the upside is that I´m getting my homework/studying done at a reasonable hour! So for now, posting will be intermittent from our undisclosed location in Barcelona.

I want to thank Joe Gandelman of TheModerateVoice who found our blog and linked to my Michael Moore story on Dean´s World where he guest blogs on the weekends. We appreciate it very much.

I turned in my `response´ to Michael Moore´s Bowling for Columbine on Monday. Here it is below. I´ll let you how my professor´s response.
14 February 2005
EC 342

Before I even consider answering the questions raised by Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine, and the legality of the right to bear arms, I must ask a simple question.

What do these particular topics have to do with European regional economies? Tell me what a Michael Moore documentary about guns and violence in America has to do with European regional economies. I’d really like to know the answer. I’d like to know why an entire class period was devoted to viewing a documentary that not only has nothing to do with what is found the EC 342 course syllabus, but is full of lies and distortions on pretty much every topic Mr. Moore addresses (if you’d like to see a full documentation of those lies and distortions, I refer you to http://www.bowlingfortruth.com). Why should my parents’ hard earned money go toward your paycheck when you, on a whim at the request of a student, agree to set class time aside for something that, again, has absolutely nothing to do with regional economies in Europe?

You obviously – by sharing with us on the first day of class your thoughts on President Bush – have your opinions on the issues of the day. That’s fine. But what is your motivation for showing a group of American students a film critiquing American culture in a way that leaves the viewer thinking the United States is a place where whenever a kid has a bad day or can’t take the teasing anymore goes around murdering his classmates? Is this the way you look at the United States? Is this how you want us to look at our own country? I think it’s safe to assume you agree with Mr. Moore’s thesis and Mr. Moore in general considering the film you showed in class, Bowling for Columbine, was not the intended documentary you had originally planned to show. Too bad we missed out on an even more distorted and twisted documentary by Mr. Moore. That being said, I hesitate in even answering your prompt because, as I’ve inquired earlier, what does this have to do with European regional economies? Why am I spending time on what is basically a pointless assignment when I should be doing a class reading or homework for some other class?

Anyway, I still want to tackle some of the issues you asked to address. The shooting at Columbine High School happened during the spring of my freshman year at my junior high school in Murrysville, PA. About two weeks after the 20 April shootings in Colorado, when the horrors of that day were still fresh in everyone’s minds, somebody wrote on a bathroom stall in my school that bombs would go off on May 5. Upon discovering the warning, school officials said May 5 would be an “optional” day of school. My parents told my younger brother and sister and me that we would be going to school that day because it was silly to let some prankster play on our fears. Plus I had a freshman baseball game that evening, and if I didn’t go to school, I wouldn’t be allowed to play. So on May 5, we arrived at school and found police everywhere. They had conducted thorough sweep of the school with a SWAT team and bomb-sniffing dogs. Nothing was found. We had a normal day of school, except for the fact that close to – if my memory is correct – 90% of the junior high school student population chose to take advantage of the “optional” day of school.

Since those crazy weeks in the spring of 1999 in Columbine, at my junior high school, and at hundreds of other schools across the country, there have not been mass student shootings across the United States. Sure, there have been isolated incidents of violence since, but nothing even remotely close to Columbine. Most of my country was convinced we’d see more Columbine-style shootings in the months and years ahead. But we didn’t. In effect, what Mr. Moore fails to do in his film is give the viewer perspective.

Using the cover of a “documentary,” in which the filmmaker is obligated to not exclude any bit of information that may go against the documentary’s thesis, Mr. Moore’s film takes one day of tragedy, compounds the viewers’ fears to the nth degree by portraying half the country to be some gun-obsessed, red-neck freak show, throws in some unsubstantiated numbers about murder rates in the U.S. and other Western countries, and adds the fact that we dropped more bombs on Kosovo on the day of the Columbine shooting than on any other day during that conflict (without even explaining why those bombs were being dropped)[1], and we’re supposed to accept Mr. Moore’s assertions and observations as factually accurate?

Finally, you asked to consider the legality of the right to bear arms. Until either the Supreme Court of the United States rules the Second Amendment to the Constitution unconstitutional, or if two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the state legislatures decide to pass an amendment to the Constitution that repeals the Second Amendment (which will never happened), I’m not going to even bother with this question.

Again, if you’d like to get a full critique of Mr. Moore’s documentary, I refer you to http://www.bowlingfortruth.com.
Also, if you’d like a blistering take-down of the documentary we were supposed to watch, Fahrenheit 9/11, you can read Christopher Hitchens’ review here: http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2102723

[1] So why were American warplanes dropping those bombs? It was just another day at the office for the U.S. Air Force, who was called in by ineffectual European NATO forces to help them neutralize the genocide of the Bosnians and Kosovars at the hands of Serbian dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Like he did when U.S. forces toppled the regimes of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Mr. Moore in excusing Milosevic’s mass murder in Bowling for Columbine, serves as the world’s most popular apologist for tyrannical governments.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock On !

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock On !

3:09 PM  
Blogger Aleksu said...

Hey there.

English is not my first language but I think this paragraph towards the end of your essay needs fixing:

"...dment (which will never happened), I’m not goi..."

Shouldn't it say "which will never happen"?

Other than that, I'm glad to see that you oppose tyrants that show disdain for minorities, it is good to see that the Basques and the Catalonians have friends among the neoconservatives from the USA.

Isn't that sad that the PP, a party founded by sometone that worked directly with Franco, a fella just like Milosevic (or worst), has so much following in Spain?

Which brings us back to Aznar, who is the son of a Francoist minister, was a Falangist in his youth, threw hissy fits regarding the Constitution and opposed the decision by the people of Guernica to remove tha name of Francisco Franco from the main square.

Try to imagine an Adolph Hitler square in Tel Aviv, he, it wouldn't even happen in Germany to start with.

7:33 AM  

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