Bowling for Columbine

Saw Michael Moore’s new movie, Bowling for Columbine yesterday. This is a documentary about gun violence in the USA. It asks a lot more questions than it answers, the central question being “why is there so much gun violence in America?” Moore trots out the counter-example of Canada, which has widespread gun ownership, a similar culture, and very few gun-related deaths. He doesn’t have an answer to this question, but gives a lot of food for thought. Is America’s bellicose foreign policy somehow related to street violence? He suggests that it is, but doesn’t say how (if at all), and it doesn’t quite ring true for me.

One review I read before seeing the movie criticized Moore for his argumentative interview with Charlton Heston at the end of the movie. I had a different reaction: If Heston didn’t already know that Moore is a rabble-rouser, he had time (and a publicist on-hand) to find out between the time he made the appointment for the interview and the time of the interview itself. But more to the point, Heston clearly did not have the moxie to defend his position. If someone is a prominent representative of a controversial viewpoint, as Heston is, that person should have the intellectual courage to defend it. Heston didn’t–he allowed himself to be backed into a corner very easily. If I had any respect for him before, I lost it there.

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