November 17, 2002
Wal-Mart Takes Aim
So, I just saw Michael Moore's documentary on America's gun fetish, "Bowling for Columbine", which, I have to say, in light of recent political events in this country, has to be one of the best, most provocative films I've ever seen. For instance, did you know that Charlton Heston & the NRA staged an impromptu rally just a few miles away from Columbine High School within a week of the killing spree there? And, when Moore asked Heston whether he thought he owed an apology to the victims for his actions, Heston said, "Me? Apologize?!?!" and walked out. Also, did you know that Canada actually has a higher percentage of gun ownership for its citizenry than the United States, but their gun violence rate is several orders of magnitude less than ours?
Anyway, one of the biggest stunts Moore pulls in the movie is taking a couple of Columbine survivors, who still have bullets lodged in their bodies, to K-Mart's corporate headquarters. Apparently, the Columbine killers bought all of their bullets at K-Mart, so Moore brought these kids so they could return the bullets. As a result of their efforts, K-Mart agreed to stop selling bullets. Period. And who says shame isn't a powerful motivator?
So, with that in mind, Moore is trying to organize a campaign to get Wal-Mart to follow suit. The Wal-Mart situation is particularly gaulling to me, since they insist on edited versions of all albums they sell in the interests of "protecting our children". So, check out the link above and see how you can contribute.
One of the more interesting things that Moore posits in his film is that America's news culture is so exploitative that it's unjustifiably bred a culture of fear that makes people only feel safe if they sleep with a gun under their pillow. My question is: when did our news get like this? How did we leave the world of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite and enter the world of Sky Copter 9 and Bill O'Reilly? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Art + Politics = Power
This is the very basic website for a very complex movie called "Max". The "Max" in question, played by John Cusack, is an art dealer & teacher in Munich in 1918, and one of his struggling, neurotic, starving, unloved students is a man named Adolph Hitler. Needless to say, alot of people have ALOT to say about this movie, some of it more silly than others. The notion that Hitler could have been anything other than a mortal man, albeit a dangerously disturbed and charismatic one, is childish almost to the point of being laughable. And it also makes it frighteningly easy to dismiss what he did to Germany as some kind of supernatural aberration as opposed to what it really was: something all too easy to repeat. Watch this film and be wary, gentle citizen.