How does Michael Moore make his arguments in 'Bowling for Columbine'?

The documentary ‘Bowling for Columbine’ questions the right in America for owning guns. Michael Moore the director puts his arguments into this bias documentary by using various techniques including vox pops, humour, sarcasm, interviews, irony, music, dramatic effects and parallelism to capture the interest of viewers. Bowling for Columbine is about a gun shooting that occurred in America April 20th 1999 when two students in Columbine high School in Littleton Colorado killed 12 classmates and a teacher.

These two students fired over 900 bullets and injured many.

Bowling for Columbine is an insight of America’s society shaken by fear and inequality. Michael Moore uses a range of tactics by making the viewers question gun ownership including parallelism, interviews, music and irony. Michael uses this to manipulate viewers into thinking his arguments is correct. He also uses the example of a shooting that occurred in school when 6-year-old Kayla died because her classmate shot her.

Michael Moore uses parallelism to express his arguments towards gun ownership for example shows a clip of an interview with army men saying that it’s their responsibility as Americans to keep their family safe.

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Also, they say that they can be dependant and not reply on the police, on the other hand Michael shows a clip of sexually explicit photos of American women. This effectively destroys the respect, trust and seriousness of what army men say. In contrast to their beliefs of being noble and patriotic, they are illogical and what to get a girl.

Secondly, Michael interviews people on the street asking them why America has the most gun death rates in the world.

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Michael uses clever and cunning tactics by making Heston feel at ease and reveal his true self. Michael says he is a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) giving Heston the impression Michael is one of them and that that he supports him. Once Michael has won over Heston’s trust, Michael asks him tough questions. Michael interviews Charlton Heston and asks why there are so many gun deaths in America.

Heston replies by saying it’s because of Americas violent history but Michael makes a good counter argument saying that other parts have had violent history like Nazi Germany and the Japanese invasion in China. Michael shows a montage of deaths and bad things that have happened while music plays in the background ‘It’s a wonderful world’ and this gives the viewers support Michaels view and think that gun ownership is wrong and shows the contrast between visuals and sound. This shows the irony that other countries also have brutal histories.

Who was to blame for the columbine shooting? Many Americans blamed Marilyn Manson because Marilyn was a morbid singer. Michael interviewed Marilyn because both the shooters listened to Marilyn Manson. Manson has a very negative image therefore Moore interviews him. Moore interviews professional’s opinions of Manson and they are all negative. Michaels interview shows contrast imagery and that Manson is sensible and rational and is not as exaggerated as people think he is. Marilyn is portrayed as the symbol of fear for teenagers because he said what he wanted to.

Marilyn says the president was to blame for dropping bombs on foreign countries. Manson says he would listen to the boys because nobody else did. This shows Manson has a good grasp of the problems the shooters faced and no one else fully understands the situation. After watching Manson’s interview viewers feel distrust for the media because the objective media doesn’t exist. Moore also uses irony to express his views on gun ownership by showing a clip of the former U. S President Clinton saying that they were trying not to bomb the innocent people of Sarajevo.

Then Michael shows a clip one hour later of Clinton expressing his grief towards the tragedy of the Columbine shooting. Clinton contradicts himself saying America should reduce violence just after the Columbine shooting. This shows America is hypocritical because on April 20th 1999, the American government dropped bombs on schools and hospitals killing hundreds and just one hour later, the Columbine shooting occurred, this suggests Americans are self-centred because 13 people died in the Columbine shootings whereas the American government dropped bombs killing hundreds.

Michael shows that Clinton is promoting violence and peace making the viewers feels that Clinton is hypocritical. After the Columbine shootings an uproar of debate came to if Americans should own guns but throughout this documentary, Michael doesn’t mention gun responsibility and safety. Michael successfully influences the viewers into his views and makes us question the rights of Americans owning guns. I think Manson’s view is the most persuasive and that Michael uses a good range of tactics to win viewers over but then again he only helps his views of the argument, making this documentary not very reliable.

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How does Michael Moore make his arguments in 'Bowling for Columbine'?. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

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