I'm reading student essays about Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, and I am reminded with each paper just how problematic Moore's work is. Here's the relevant section of the assignment:
In "Bowling for Entertainment," Steven Rubio wrote:Most of the student papers take Moore to task for his self-promotion, his seeming disdain for common folks, and the supposed lies in his material. I want to explain how it doesn't matter, that the points Moore is making are on target, but I can't, because I don't believe it myself, and because it's a class on critical thinking. I've seen an example of what happens when we turn off critical thinking ... one student who likes Moore argued that he was a vital communicator, even though the student believed Moore lied at times and distorted facts at other times.The search for an easy laugh too often compromises Moore's populist stance. It's hard to doubt the sincerity of his commitment to the common folk when we see him fight for our rights, or when an unexpected victory brings a heartfelt combination of tears and smiles to his face. But when Moore makes average people the butt of his jokes, that populism is tainted.Analyze Bowling for Columbine in the context of Rubio's critique. Is Rubio correct in his criticism? Is Michael Moore a "populist" filmmaker? If not, how would you define his work in Bowling for Columbine? How important is the "entertainment" factor in documentaries and other films trying to push a particular point of view? You may draw on other films by Moore (and/or movies by other filmmakers) to illustrate your argument.
It's tiring having to clean up after this guy.