A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists **

News in all languages
Last 30 posts (Homepage) Last two weeks' posts

The last 100 posts, according to language
Castellano_ Català_ Deutsch_ English_ Français_ Italiano_ Polski_ Português_ Russkyi_ Suomi_ Svenska_ Türkçe_ All_other_languages _The.Supplement
{Info on A-Infos}

(en) Workers Solidarity #74 - Michael Moore's censored America

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 2 Mar 2003 11:14:49 +0100 (CET)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Michael Moore is an American film-maker
and political commentator. He's probably
best known for his documentary Roger
and Me, which charts the effects on his
hometown Flint, Michigan when General
Motors, the town's largest employer,
decide to relocate their factories to
Mexico. That breakthrough film was
followed by TV series, such as TV Nation,
and now another film, Bowling for
Columbine, and book, Stupid White Men.

Stupid White Men (and other sorry excuses for
the state of the nation) is divided into chapters
dealing with different aspects of American life.
As you'd guess from the title, George Bush
comes in for a lot of criticism, as does the
conduct of the presidential election which
brought him to power. Bill Clinton and Al Gore
are also criticized, and Moore spends a lot of
time showing that the differences between Bush
and his Democratic opposite numbers are largely
cosmetic. But there are also chapters dealing
with race relations in America, education and
health care, and international issues like Ireland
and Palestine.

Bowling for Columbine examines the issue of gun
violence in America, asking why the US should
be so much more violent than other countries
with similar histories, cultures, or gun ownership
laws. It includes visits to a bank that gives guns
to people opening accounts, South Central LA,
and Canadian towns just over the US border, as
well as interviews with the brother of one of the
other men convicted along with Tim McVeigh
(the Oklahoma City bomber, Marilyn Manson,
and Charlton Heston (President of the National
Rifle Association).

The most harrowing sequence shows close-circuit
camera footage from the Columbine school
shootings, alongside interviews with witnesses
and victims of this and similar shootings.
Bowling for Columbine works much better than
Stupid White Men. The book is often unfocussed
and scattershot, while the film manages to move
between subjects without losing sight of a
central theme. Moore has a better feel for film,
and knows what level of detail to include, and
when to sit back and let things speak for
themselves. Both are worth your time, but
Bowling for Columbine will stay with you longer.

Almost as interesting as anything in either work
is the story of how the book came to be released.
Stupid White Men was written in 2001, and was
due to be released that September. Thousands
of copies of the book were sitting in a warehouse,
ready for distribution, when the WTC was
destroyed on September 11th. Moore agreed to a
delay in the book's release, but as October and
then November arrived he learned that the
publishers had changed their mind completely.
In the 'new America', they said, there was no
room for books so critical of George Bush. It
wasn't until the American librarians' association
learned of the situation and threatened to
boycott HarperCollins that the book was

NewsInternational (HarperCollins' parent
company) has a history of this sort of censorship,
so perhaps Moore shouldn't have been so
surprised by their behaviour. But even after
publication the book ran into problems.
Although it was the top-selling non-fiction book
in the US last year, 90% of newspapers haven't
reviewed it (and many haven't reviewed Bowling
for Columbine either). There are obviously large
numbers of people interested in what Moore has
to say, but the corporate media is continuing to
ignore critical voices.

Even those outlets that do review Moore operate
a subtle form of censorship. Stupid White Men is
reviewed as an attack on Bush, while other
chapters, that fall outside the simplistic
Democrats vs Republicans model of politics, are
ignored. Bowling for Columbine is often reviewed
as a straightforward call for more gun control,
because that's a familiar debate with obvious
'sides', even though Moore makes it clear that
countries with similar gun laws don't have the
same problems. Race is an important topic in
both works, but most reviews ignore it. So
Moore's dissenting voice is silenced in three
ways - they try to prevent him from publishing,
then ignore him when he does publish, and
finally, if he can't be ignored, his arguments are

                                Ray Cunningham

New global anarchist index

3000 + pages on anarchism, Ireland, Zapatistas
revolutionary history and struggles around globalisation
Useful links

     Print out the PDF file of #74 - this issue

       ****** The A-Infos News Service ******
      News about and of interest to anarchists
  COMMANDS: lists@ainfos.ca
  REPLIES: a-infos-d@ainfos.ca
  HELP: a-infos-org@ainfos.ca
  WWW: http://www.ainfos.ca/
  INFO: http://www.ainfos.ca/org

-To receive a-infos in one language only mail lists@ainfos.ca the message:
                unsubscribe a-infos
                subscribe a-infos-X
 where X = en, ca, de, fr, etc. (i.e. the language code)

A-Infos Information Center