Michael Moore insists he wants to be taken seriously. The author and filmmaker, an unabashed champion for liberal causes, is challenging America's gun culture with his latest endeavor, the documentary "Bowling for Columbine." Like his first film, "Roger and Me," it consists of a mix of satirical interviews with average people, confrontational interviews with celebrities and Moore's thoughts on what is going wrong with America. The argument often takes a back seat to the humor, but that's just Moore's style, as he explained to the Contra Costa Times in March: "I always assume that only 10 to 20 percent of people who read my books or see my films will take the facts and hard-core analysis and do something with it. If I can bring the other 80 percent to it through entertainment and comedy, then some of it will trickle through."
The problem is, once you delve beneath the humor, it turns out his "facts and hard-core analysis" are frequently inaccurate, contradictory and confused. At one point in the film, Moore apparently even alters a Bush-Quayle campaign ad, changing history to make a point. Like many of the political celebrities increasingly filling our TV screens and bookstores, he is entertaining, explicitly partisan, and all too willing to twist facts to promote himself and his vision of the truth.
Moore's problems with such date back to "Roger and Me," in which he famously shifted the actual timeline of events for dramatic effect. While garnering some criticism, most notably from the New Yorker's Pauline Kael, the distortions didn't get too many people riled up; indeed, the movie made him a celebrity. This year, with the double-whammy of his best-selling book Stupid White Men and the box office success of "Bowling for Columbine," one of the most financially successful documentaries ever, Moore has become the American left's most prominent media figure.
They could use a better spokesman.
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