Tears of a clown: Michael Moore and the impotence of leftist politics. (Rant).HOT OFF THE succes of his best-selling book Stupid White Men...and Other Sorry Execuses for the State of the Nation!, guerrilla documentarian doc·u·men·tar·i·an also doc·u·men·ta·rist
One that makes documentaries or a documentary. Michael Moore Editing of this page by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled due to vandalism. has struck it big again with his latest film, Bowling for Columbine columbine, in botany
columbine (kŏl`əmbīn), any plant of the genus Aquilegia, temperate-zone perennials of the family Ranunculaceae (buttercup family), popular both as wildflowers and as garden flowers. . The documentary, which garnered high praise and strong ticker sales in limited release last tall, claims to be a meditation on American gun violence. But it functions as a summation of lefty gripes gripe
v. griped, grip·ing, gripes
1. Informal To complain naggingly or petulantly; grumble.
2. To have sharp pains in the bowels.
1. about life in these United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . It is also a good summation of the progressive left's intellectual impotence. The movies is really a feckless feck·less
1. Lacking purpose or vitality; feeble or ineffective.
2. Careless and irresponsible.
[Scots feck, effect (alteration of effect) + -less. collection of sad plaims for which Moore offers only the barest glimmer of hope for a solution.
To Moore-alleged a very funny guy-America is a naked city full of 260 million stories, all of them bummers Bummers was a nickname applied to foragers of Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's Union army during its March to the Sea and north through North Carolina and South Carolina during the American Civil War. . We see denided Michigan militia mean prancing through the woods, scary hidden camera shots of the Columbine massacre with anguished 911 calls superimposed su·per·im·pose
tr.v. su·per·im·posed, su·per·im·pos·ing, su·per·im·pos·es
1. To lay or place (something) on or over something else.
2. and a black woman navigating perilously between the Scylla of having crappy crap·py
adj. crap·pi·er, crap·pi·est Vulgar Slang
1. Inferior; worthless.
2. Miserable; poorly.
3. Mean; contemptible. service job and the Charybdis of not having a crappy service job. And of course, lots and lots of shooting deaths.
One of the points Moore tries to make is than our media want to scare as to death. He suggests the resulting unease makes us want to stockpile guns. Strange, then, that Moore himself indulges in misleading fearmogering. Firearm homicides in America fell from 1991 to 1999 by nearly 40 percent but somehow Moose left than fact on the cutting-room floor.
Instead, Moore clubs his audience with the news that the world is sad. Young men are driven to mass killing by high school status games. Six-year-olds kill 6-year-olds because their mothers have to work. Factories close down. He even plays Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" over scenes of stacked corpses.
But except for one scene--in which Our Hero himself apparently pressures Kmart into promising to phase out ammunition saels--Moore offers no suggestions for how to make America a less depressing place. He raises many of the obvious explanations for the high number of American shooting deaths--our violent history, our violent pop culture, the presence of so many weapons--and then debunks them all. Bowling for Columbine does not make a pro-gun control case. It is more existential nightmare than political document.
Critics have picked on Bowling for Columbine's final scene as a example of Moore's tendency to go too far. He corners Charlton Heston, president of the National Rifle Association National Rifle Association (NRA)
Governing organization for the sport of shooting with rifles and pistols. It was founded in Britain in 1860. The U.S. organization, formed in 1871, has a membership of some four million. Both the British and the U.S. , and asks him some tough questions about America's high shooting death numbers--questions Moore himeself couldn't answer. Heston stumbles toward mentioning our ethnic composition, then realizes he'd better stop. Moore tries to show Heston a photo of a kid gunned down by another kid. Moses stumbles imperiously im·pe·ri·ous
1. Arrogantly domineering or overbearing. See Synonyms at dictatorial.
2. Urgent; pressing.
3. Obsolete Regal; imperial. away and doesn't look back.
Moore as not being cruel to an old man. The head of an organization standing for gun rights should damned well be prepared to address emotional anecdotal arguments against guns. Yet Moore, like Heston ultimately walks away from his toughest question. In the end, the only explanation for each individual gun death is an individual's choice to pull a trigger. Grand sociological theorizing can provide the thousands of separate answers to why thousands of individuals made that choice. Any pressures of background or culture or poverty that weighted on shooters weighed similarly on thousands of nonshooters. In the end, Moore, like the progressive left he claims to represent has no solutions-just laments tears, and tragedies.
Two days before the November elections. Moore used his Web site to exhort fans to vote and predicted that "Tuesday is the day! The day that George Wagers taught a long overdue lesson. The day that we, the MAJORITY--the 52% who never elected him--get our chance to reclaim a bit of our former democracy."
It didn't work. Weeping laments may sell tickets--movigoers have always loved tragedy But a clowns tear aren't enough for a lively and effecive political movement.
Brian Doberty, (email@example.com) is an associate editor of reason.