Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore
Michael Moore is Lazy and can’t hold a job. But he is a highly skilled liar and he uses his “ability” to perfection in his films. His films follow the old Soviet Unions technique by stitching together film snippets shot at different places and times, perhaps years apart. Moore can create any false history he chooses.
Michael Moore’s deep seated personal hatred for Charlton Heston drove Moore to fabricate numerous utterly false film montages slandering Mr. Heston. A central theme of Bowling for Columbine is Moore’s assertion that the National Rifle Association and its then-president Charlton Heston are indifferent to the victims of firearm injury. From the very beginning Moore misleads his audience by using misleading film montages to suggest that the NRA held a boisterous “large pro-gun rally” in Denver soon after the Columbine High School shootings in nearby Littleton. In one of these Moore montages a clip of weeping high schoolers is immediately followed by a snippet showing Charlton Heston holding aloft a muzzle-loading musket and proclaiming with a smile, “I have only five words for you: ‘from my cold, dead, hands.’”
Stitched onto this is a clip showing a billboard advertising the NRA gathering which is enhanced by an overdub of Moore’s voice darkly intoning that “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.” Then the film snaps back to Charlton Heston who is just then saying “I have a message from the mayor, Mr. Wellington Web, 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!”
This carefully crafted film montage is calculated to plant in the mind of every unsuspecting viewer the idea that Charlton Heston and the NRA callously blundered into Denver soon after a local tragedy and began thumbing their noses at tearful mourners. Here are the facts that Michael Moore concealed form his ticket buyers in order to distort their perceptions and fatten his bank account:
One: There was no “large pro-gun rally.” The gathering was an annual NRA meeting, the time and place of which were set years before the event.
Two: The NRA is a New York non-profit corporation which is bound by New York law to hold annual member meetings.
Three: New York law requires a minimum ten-day notice to all voting members of any change in the time or place of an annual meeting. The Columbine shooting happened a scant eleven days before the long-planned NRA annual meeting, so there was no time to notify the NRA’s four million members of a last minute change of venue.
Four: The Denver meeting was a dour bare-bones affair. Out of consideration for the folks in Littleton the NRA cancelled all of its usual sporting events, dinners and rallies. The only event was the annual members’ vote. The Rocky Mountain News announced: “President Charlton Heston and the group’s executive vice president Wayne La Pierre, said all seminars, workshops, luncheons, exhibits by gun makers and other vendors, and festivities are cancelled.”
Michael Moore knew all of this before he entered his editing room; he knew the NRA was bound by law to hold a meeting; he knew it was impossible for them to change the location of their annual meeting; he knew the NRA had done everything humanly possible to be subdued and respectful. Furthermore, the film clip of Charlton Heston holding a musket was shot a year after the Denver meeting at a venue in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. Heston had just received the musket as a gift; his words “from by cold, dead, hands” was meant as a gesture of gratitude to those who had given him an exquisitely crafted keepsake. He was saying “I will cherish it always.” Michael Moore knew all this; he chose to carefully stitch together the clip of Heston holding the musket and the clip of weeping students because Moore chose to slander Charlton Heston. Moore’s slanders are never inadvertent slips of the tongue; they are carefully premeditated pieces of cinematic craftsmanship. Moore’s deceptions are the result of great effort.
Michael Moore expresses his hatred of Charlton Heston once again in the video-clip collection wherein Heston seems to be defiantly challenging the mayor of Denver. This sequence is a master work of uber editing heavily peppered with Frankenbites. What seems to be coming from Heston’s mouth is actually audio lifted from seven sentences which were plucked from five separate parts of a speech, together with part of an entirely different speech.
Let’s deconstruct this classic bit of Michael Moore mummery: Associating the scene of the weeping students with the clip of Heston holding the musket is meant to mislead you into believing that Heston was heedless to their grief. Moore wants you to hate Heston. Next comes the breakaway shot of the billboard announcing the NRA meeting. This breakaway is necessary because the viewer must be distracted long enough to forget that Charlton Heston, who was wearing a purple tie and a lavender shirt before the breakaway shot, is suddenly wearing a red tie and a white shirt after the breakaway shot. As if by magic the draperies behind Mr. Heston have changed from maroon to blue. Clearly, this whole segment is false history that Moore invented in his editing room. Moore’s bedazzled fans are so uncritically attached to him that they would never think to examine his films closely, but this is the Age of Tivo when anyone, including you, can sit at home and examine any Michael Moore movie frame by frame. Used copies of Michael Moore movies are available on Amazon.com for less than three dollars each; you can confirm the truth for yourself and not a nickel your purchase price will go to Michael Moore.
Moore carefully edited out the part of the speech where Charlton Heston says “As you know, we’ve cancelled the festivities, the fellowship we normally enjoy at our annual gatherings. This decision has perplexed a few and inconvenienced thousands.” It’s hard to demonize a man who is showing compassion, so Moore edited out all signs of Heston’s compassion.
At this point Bowling for Columbine becomes a tossed salad of film clips, frankenbites and false settings. Moore had gotten his hands on a video segment in which Heston was ruminating about his veteran status. Speaking about World War II, Heston had remarked “I said to the mayor, well, my reply to the mayor is, ‘I volunteered for the war they wanted me to attend when I was 18 years old . . .” Moore then clipped out the words “I said to the mayor” and grafted them to a sentence from a later paragraph: “As Americans, we’re free to travel wherever we want in our broad land.” The graft is concealed behind a cutaway shot of protestors. Moore’s audience is duped into believing that they are hearing an unaltered sentiment.
The next clip shows Heston, seemingly defiant, proclaiming “Don’t come here? We’re already here!” even though this clip was imported from an audio segment buried five paragraphs deeper in Heston’s original speech. Moore uses another cutaway shot to mask the splice. Here in it s original context is part of Charlton Heston’s conciliatory and uniting speech:
“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.”
So Moore created a false history of confrontation and discord where none had existed in reality. The long hours he spent fabricating his phony montages beggars the imagination. And to what end? To dupe the gullible, to feed liberals the stereotypical fantasies they crave, to poison the national discourse and to stuff Moore’s pockets with millions of dollars.
Moore takes a lingering slime bath when he juxtaposes the gunshot death of Kayla Rolland with another speech by Charlton Heston. Kayla had died from a wound inflicted by a fellow elementary-school student in Mt. Morris, Michigan, just north of Flint. Here Moore injects the lie that “just as he did after the Columbine shooting, Charlton Heston showed up in Flint to have a big pro-gun rally.”
As a matter of fact, Heston’s speech was given at a voter drive rally in October of 2000, a full eight months after the death of Kayla Rolland. George Bush and Al Gore were also stumping around Flint looking for votes. Even Michael Moore had been beating the drum for the Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in Flint.
A day after Heston’s speech the Detroit Free Press asked “What do Al Gore, Charlton Heston, Jesse Jackson, Lee Iacocca, and George W., Laura and Barbra Bush all agree upon? That Michigan is a really big deal right now” and went on to note that it was only 20 days until Election Day and that Charlton Heston was working hard for the Republicans. This get-out-the-vote rally was what Moore later misrepresented as “a big pro-gun rally.”
Moore fires images at viewers so fast that their minds have no time to think about the content of his presentations. Moore doesn’t want his audiences to think, he wants them to fall under the spell of the mood he is trying to engender; unhurried reflection is the enemy of every propagandist. Complicated montages may fly past in half a minute: faces, voices and photos of newspaper articles too fleeting to be read. Moore’s bogus montages were calculated to give the false impression that Charlton Heston had hosted a “big pro-gun rally” only 48 hours after a local girl had been shot. This is a complete and calculated lie but more than one reviewer of Bowling for Columbine was made to look foolish by making such baseless statements as “What was Heston thinking going to Colorado and Michigan immediately after the massacres of innocent children?”
Bowling for Columbine includes an interview during which Moore does his best to provoke Charlton Heston. Michael Moore swears that this interview is almost unedited. He’s a liar. There was a clock on the wall behind Moore. At its first appearance the clock reads 5:47. When Mr. Heston realizes that Moore only wants to defame him he takes his leave, at which time the clock reads 6:10. So the on-camera interview lasted twenty-three minutes, but the interview Moore presents in Columbinelasts only five minutes and 15 seconds. Therefore, over 77% of the interview is missing. That’s what Moore calls nearly unedited.
As Heston departs, Moore and his camera team pursue him. Moore arrives at the top of a flight of stairs in time to see Heston walking away on the floor below. Moore calls out to Heston who turns about in response. The next image in the Columbine movie is a shot of Moore holding up a photo of the slain Kayla; Moore asks Heston to look at the photo. In the next shot Heston just walks away. Heston’s seeming indifference suggests that Heston is a callous bastard. On closer examination, however, this misleading montage is exposed for the artful piece of character assassination that it is.
For this eighteen-second segment to have been filmed in only eighteen seconds and to also include as it does five perspectives and four changes in perspective would have required at least two cameras pointing toward one another. But at no time is any cameraman visible in any shot. All the shots include Moore; they quickly alternate from back to front to back to front to back. The first and last shots include Heston walking away. All the back shots are looking downward from over Moore’s left shoulder; all of the front shots aim at Moore’s chest and include the space above and behind Moore’s left shoulder. If there had been two cameras, then each camera would have recorded the presence of the other, but there are no cameras in any of these shots. Therefore, we are driven to conclude that all of the film footage was shot with a single camera.
The eighteen-second montage must have been produced this way: 1. Moore and his cameraman pursue Heston; 2. Moore and his cameraman reach the top of the stairs as Heston reaches the bottom; 3. the cameraman records Moore calling to Heston and films Heston’s response from over Moore’s left shoulder; Heston turns, looks up at Moore and then walks away; 4. after Heston has departed, the cameraman walks around in front of Moore and films Moore holding up the photo of the slain Kayla and asking the no-longer-present Mr. Heston to look at the photo. Later, in the editing room, Moore interspersed the back shots 1, 3 & 5 with front shots 2 & 4 to create a fictitious exchange between himself and the unsuspecting and long-departed Charlton Heston.
Michael Moore has grown fabulously wealthy by slandering people who are clearly his moral and intellectual superiors. His success is based on his relentless exploitation of a single gimmick: the misleading film montage. By stitching together film clips retrieved from disparate times and places, by robbing these clips of their original contexts and then cobbling them together in curious ways, Michael Moore has provided his liberal audiences with the dark fantasy version of American history that they believe must be true. Michael Moore is their ideological Santa Claus: a fat man with a big bag of gifts for every good left-wing True Believer.
Moore’s eighteen-second montage is yet another false memory that liberals will tuck away in their minds along with hundreds of other false memories from Michael Moore movies. Talking to any Michael Moore movie fan is an almost hallucinatory experience: their heads are so full of false memories that their political chatter mimics the babbling of the insane. Watching Michael Moore movies can actually render a human unfit for political conversations.
In Bowling for Columbine Moore portrays Kayla Rolland’s killer as a likable kid from a struggling family that couldn’t rise above its troubles because of an uncaring America. Here are a few facts that Moore chose not to include in Columbine: the shooting was no accident; the kid who killed Kayla had fought with her the previous day. The kid fetched his murder weapon from his uncle’s crack house. The gun had been reported stolen; the uncle had purchased it in exchange for drugs. The boy’s father was already in the slammer for dealing drugs and the kid’s grandmother and aunt were arrested on drug charges only weeks after the shooting. A CBS report on the case quoted a policeman who observed: “The day the boy was born he went from hospital to crack house.” So the kid had spent his life among a pack of criminals; he had been surrounded by violent and lawless felons from his first moments on Earth. It should also be noted that this kid had previously been suspended from school for stabbing a classmate with a pencil and sometime after he gunned down Kayla he stabbed another child with a knife.
The particulars of this young killer’s life are so freakishly abnormal as to be useless for the purpose of building a case against firearm ownership. A better armed neighborhood might have been less intimidated by this family of jerks; when the cops hauled them away the neighbors cheered, but you won’t see that reality in Bowling for Columbine.
From start to finish this movie is a loosely woven magic carpet of suggestive overdubs, misleading montages, fake settings, false history, fabricated statistics and lies by omission. One of the most memorable scenes in Moore’s anti-gun flick shows Moore emerging from a bank with a spanking-new shotgun that he wants everyone to believe he had just been given as a “thank you” from the bank for opening a new account. It’s a phony staged event. This hunting-country bank did, at one time, offer such a premium, but to gain possession of any firearm the depositor had to pass a criminal background investigation and then wait the required waiting period before picking up his premium in another town.The scene in Bowling is totally fake. Michael Moore packs his movies with fake scenes because reality doesn’t support his liberal suppositions; he also has no respect for the suckers who part with their money to sit in a darkened room and gawk at his phony film montages.
Fortunately for those of us who prefer reality to illusion, we live in the Age of Tivo when anyone can deconstruct a Michael Moore movie frame by frame. Sometimes all you need to do is press the “pause” button and consult the nearest encyclopedia. For example: the fast-talking narrator ofColumbine does his best to marry the National Rifle Association to the Ku Klux Klan, telling his at-one-time-theater-bound audience that the NRA was founded in 1871 “the same year that the Klan became an illegal terrorist organization.” Moore fabricates a dramatization in which an NRA member sets fire to a burning cross while another NRA member assists in the lynching of a hapless black person. Just when you think Michael Moore has hit rock bottom he surprises you by demonstrating that, for him, there is no bottom. The truth is totally irrelevant to Moore and his witless admirers, but here is the historical truth: the NRA was founded in 1871 by an act of the New York State Legislature at the request of General George Wingate, former commander of the 22nd New York volunteers and Colonel William Church, former staff officer of the New York Brigade, as well as other former Union Army officers. Because it was founded by recent Union officers the NRA was profoundly hostile to the Ku Klux Klan. Eight of the NRA’s first ten presidents were Union veterans.
The Klan, by contrast, was founded by former Confederates in 1866, not 1871. The Klan was soon recognized as a domestic terrorist organization. President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the federal Ku Klux Klan Act and the Enforcement Act which empowered the president to use federal troops to crush the Klan. Grant pursued the Klan with enthusiasm, making five thousand arrests. Frederick Douglass praised Grant for his efforts. After his presidential term, the NRA elected Grant as its eighth president. He succeeded the seventh president of the NRA, the hero of Gettysburg, General Winfield Scott Hancock. Grant was succeeded as NRA president by General Philip Sheridan who had formerly used his power as a military commander to remove the governors of Texas and Louisiana because of their failure to crush Klan activity.
So the NRA has been openly hostile to the Klan from its very inception. Here’s an historical footnote left out of Columbine: Back in the not-so-distant 1950s and 60s black folks organized as NRA chapters as a way of acquiring surplus military rifles so that they could defend themselves from marauding Klan terrorists. One of their number, Robert F. Williams, wrote a personal account of these self-defense NRA activities titledNegroes with Guns that recounted how his rifle club had shot up a very surprised gang of Klansmen who had come to attack his house.