Michael Moore’s Fictitious Life
By Debbie Schlussel
He calls Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft the "real axis of evil." He blamed 9-11 attacks on too many White people and not enough Black men on the planes.
And in his Oscar Night diatribe, film-maker Michael Moore used his win of an Academy Award to rant against a "fictitious" President Bush, "fictitious election results," and the War on Iraq, which he claimed was for "fictitious reasons."
"We live in fictitious times," he said when picking up the award for best documentary for his anti-gun film "Bowling for Columbine."
And Michael Moore should know. Because everything from his "working-class Joe" persona to his so-called documentary, for which he won the award, is largely fictitious.
Michael Moore is the master of the truly fictitious.
His public persona is that of an anti-corporate crusader from working-class Flint, Michigan, who wears a constant uniform of slouchy jeans, a plaid shirt and a Detroit Tigers baseball cap. But the real Michael Moore rides in limos and lives in a swanky $1.2 million Manhattan apartment. Moore’s "blue collar bonhomie" is bunk.
According to Detroit Free Press film critic Terry Lawson, Moore’s first documentary, "Roger and Me" featured manipulated facts and the breaking of established documentary rules.
Then there’s his "documentary," "Bowling for Columbine."
Documentary might not be the best word for this manipulative piece of cinematic celluloid. "Fictitious," Moore’s current term of choice, would be more accurate.
That includes the title. Moore says he chose "Bowling for Columbine" because Columbine High mass murderers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold attended a bowling class the morning of the massacre. Reality check: Jefferson County Sheriffs, who investigated the killings, say they skipped the class that day, and have the attendance sheets and blank bowling scoring sheets to prove it. Had Moore bothered to check the official report of the police investigation, he’d have known that. But why bother with the facts when you’re the fictitious Michael Moore?
Moore’s vehement anti-war ideology gets the best of his fact-checking capabilities. His film implies Harris and Klebold had violent tendencies because of "weapons of mass destruction" produced by a Lockheed Martin assembly plant in their hometown of Littleton. "Bowling" actually features footage of giant rocket assembly to make the point. But, according to Daniel Lyons in Forbes Magazine, Lockheed Martin’s Littleton plant makes space launch vehicles for TV satellites, not weapons.
And Moore’s anti-gun fervor also trumps the facts. He stages an event at North Country Bank and Trust in Michigan’s Traverse City, claiming that opening an account would entitle one to walk out of the bank with a gun in hand. The film shows him doing just that. But the key word is "staged." In reality, the bank does not provide guns for opening accounts, and you can’t walk in or out of the bank with one—unless you’re a security guard employed by the bank. The gun is one of several "giveaways" that can be chosen by customers in exchange for opening a CD account. In order to qualify for the gun, customers must open a 3-year CD with at least $5,000 and then must pass a background check for the gun, which can only be picked up at a licensed gun dealer.
Arguably, the worst fiction in Moore’s documentary is visited upon Hollywood Producer Dick Clark. Moore confronts Clark, trying to ask him question and accusing him of responsibility for the 2000 fatal shooting of 6-year-old Kayla Rowland of Mount Morris Township, Michigan, by her classmate, at Buell Elementary School.
Moore blames the shooting on Michigan’s work-to-welfare program, which he claims prevented the shooter’s mother, Tamarla Owens, from spending time with him. And he blames Clark, because Owens work-to-welfare job was at his "American Bandstand" restaurant at an area mall.
But Clark and the work-to-welfare program had nothing to do with it. Owens, who had three children with three different fathers and was once charged as a drug dealer, married a convicted drug dealer. Before the shooting. abandoned her son, turning him over to her brother, who lived in a flop house rife with stolen guns and ammunition, where drug deals went on at all hours. Michigan’s Family Independence Agency reported that she was a poor mother, and she later lost custody of all three children, two of them permanently.
Blaming the shooting of a classmate by Owen’s son on Dick Clark is nothing short of outrageous.
But that’s Michael Moore. A fictitious man living in a fictitious time. With a fictitious, Academy Award winning "documentary." As Brian Rohrbough, whose son Daniel died at Columbine, said, "This is just a guy trying to capitalize on the tragedy of others."
Moore’s latest best-selling book is "Stupid White Men. . . and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation," As they say, it takes one to know one. But the stupidest and sorriest are not Moore and those he writes about, but those who fall for his propaganda.