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I loves my gun, loves my gun...
2012
unknownj
So I finally managed to download a good version of Bowling for Columbine, after failing three times. People upload a lot of other movies, purporting to be BfC, when they're in actual fact things like Signs, or Austin Powers 3. This was not ideal.

I'd have gone to see it in the cinema, but it's not on here. I'd buy the DVD if/when it's out, but I have no money. Michael Moore would understand - I've bought two of his books, and damnit, anybody with principles like him knows the importance of getting the message across, as opposed to the importance of getting money for relaying that message. I hope.

My conclusion is that I was unsurprised by a lot of it. It was the sort of brilliance I've come to expect from Mr Moore, whose books ought to be mandatory reading for anybody even remotely considering voting in US elections. However, I do have a few points to make about it.

The first is that at times, it felt a little propaganda-like. I have nothing against this, the right wing has been pumping the media full of twisted perspectives for decades. In fact, truth cannot exist while money still makes the decisions, it's not possible - ergo, I would prefer a system of balanced propaganda from both sides, in order that I can make up my mind what it is I'm going to choose to believe. And unlike a lot of propaganda, Michael Moore at least backs up what he says with facts, and makes valid arguments. It just, at times, felt as though I was being directed to believe certain things.

Point two - it contains one of the most moving things I've ever seen. Had I watched this at the cinema, I don't know if I would have been able to deal with it. It shows footage of the second plane flying into the World Trade Centre towers, with Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World playing over the top, almost (but not quite) covering up the sounds of the screams of those people watching the tragedy. With a caption which says, and I quote:
"Sept. 11, 2001: Osama bin Laden uses his expert CIA training to murder 3,000 people."
Laying blame exactly where it belongs, I appreciate the honesty in that. Of course, it's a reasonably safe claim to make - the left blames the CIA, and the right mistrusts them as a government agency sent to spy on them and their militia groups. Nobody likes the CIA, so nobody minds when they're blamed for things.

On the subject of that footage - it still upsets me. I've seen that stuff perhaps five times since September of 2001. In total, I've probably watched the whole thing ten times, tops. It's not the sort of thing I'm comfortable watching - it distresses me a lot. Which is exactly as it should be. The problem with a lot of the media is that showing something like that once upsets people. Showing it twenty times a day desensitises them to the tragedy to some extent, and instead turns this unique event into something that feels more commonplace. And the more normal it feels, the scarier it must be for people. Over-exposure turns the upset into fear. That's not healthy.

Third point - it's nice to see that Michael Moore is still keeping up his little personal agenda. Since his first movie, Roger & Me, he has always brought things back to his home town of Flint, Michigan. A lot of his distaste for corporate America stems from the way General Motors treated the people of Flint, and a lot of what he says comes back to where he grew up. And I genuinely like that - I could never feel justified in making a movie like that, because I don't have the personal experience that I think is necessary to be able to do it well. I've never suffered poverty in my life, student lifestyle jokingly excepted, I've never been caught up in any real crime, I've never been cheated out of money by a corporation (except Campus Link, I've not forgotten you and what you did, cocksuckers, you are so fucking for it). Basically, watching him make this movie, it really helps me to see how strongly he feels about what he's saying, and how personally he takes it all. Passion is a good thing.

Point four, and the last one, really. I disagree with one of the things he says. The general drive of the movie talks about how it is the media that is largely responsible for a lot of society's violent tendencies. He tackles the possibility that it's America's violent history that causes such a culture, but dismisses it, explaining that other countries have violent histories, and that they don't have the same violence in their societies today. Two examples he brings up are Nazi Germany, and Britain.

But see, here's the thing - neither of those countries is proud of what they did. How many movies have come out of Germany in the last half century glorifying the cause of the second world war, and trying to invoke national pride in what happened? How many movies about the British Empire really try to justify violence and oppression? Such movies may exist - the important thing is that I've never seen or heard of them. As such, they must obviously not be popular, and therein lies the point - we all have dirty pasts, but European countries don't revel in them.

But America's attitude to their past can be explained in three simple words:
John Fucking Wayne
What Michael Moore fails to touch upon in his movie, and what I'd like to talk about now, is the fact that the Americans celebrate their violent past.

July 4th, every year. Independence Day. A massive celebration of the fact that one day, back in 1776, the colonies in America won their independence from the British Empire, or whatever the hell we called it back then. Important day... But I think a friend of mine sums it up best - he's very patriotic in that he loves his country (if not its actions), and often goes off on tirades against the Brits, and Europe in general (the fact that one of his grandparents is Polish and another Welsh is irrelevant). But his attitude to Independence Day can be summarised as follows:
It's the day we picked up our guns and ran you limeys out of the country, and kicked your taxes out with you
That's what it comes down to these days - an armed struggle, won by the Americans, because they didn't like being taxed. No wonder there's no welfare over there - for welfare, you need taxes, and you guys hate those... Ignore for a second the fact that if health plans didn't exist, then companies would have enough money to pay individuals more, which could go on taxes to help the whole country.

But the whole independence day thing is nothing compared to the real problem. John Fucking Wayne. Quoted as having said the following
"I don't feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves."
I wonder what The Duke would say if he was alive today. If, through some tragedy, he hadn't been riddled with cancer and fucked off to Hell where he belongs (you can tell I'm not a fan - and Charlton Heston can follow him there, please), I'd bet he'd probably be against immigration. Fucking niggers, wogs, chinks, limeys and krauts stealing good American jobs, stealing American welfare, stealing American land....

Listen up, dickhead, and indeed anybody who thinks that immigrants in the US is a bad idea - immigrants can't steal your jobs. They've already got your jobs, they stole them long ago. NAFTA allowed every company without morals to export all their jobs to Mexico, where labour is cheaper. Your good old American companies subcontract circuitry, textiles, and every other production aspect out to countries where you can get away with paying people fractions of a dollar per day.

And immigrants don't take anything from the American system. Welfare? You think these guys actually sign up for something like that? If they're illegal immigrants, then no fucking way are they going to want to draw attention to themselves by trying to claim for something they're not due. And even if they're legal, chances are they're too scared to claim welfare anyway - anybody who looks remotely foreign is going to get all kinds of shit from real Americans for claiming welfare benefits.

So the only thing they can steal is your land. Hey, has anybody here driven across Montana lately? They sell off land there for something like $40 per acre. Doesn't sound like the US wants it's land. And since it doesn't belong to the white usurpers anyway, they have no right to tell anybody that they're unwelcome.

Cowboys and Indians (a genre in movies that John Fucking Wayne helped to popularise, and therein lies another of my points). If you want to know what's wrong with America, start with Coyboys and Indians. One group are invaders from another country, armed with guns and syphilis, and the other are natives armed with fricking rocks. Any guns they had were bought from the white man, who then went and killed them and prized the guns from their cold, dead hands. The whole thing is glorifed on the silver screen, and is a proud part of US history for a lot of people. Dirty fucking savages, they belonged dead. They weren't rich, white land owners, so fuck them all.

In times of war, there is a side that wins, and a side that loses. The losing side tends to deal with the fact that they were defeated, looks at what happened, and moves on, if they can. The winning side goes on to believe that violent conflict is the answer, and that because they came out on top, logically, the war was a Good Thing. War films, cowboy films, they teach one thing - America f'ing rules, because they win everything, and they do it with guns. I quote Dennis Leary
You know what I'm going do? I'm gonna get myself a 1967 Cadillac Eldorado convertable - hot pink with whaleskin hubcaps and all-leather interior and big brown baby seal eyes for the headlights. I'm gonna drive around in that baby at 115mph, getting one mile per gallon, sucking down Quarter Pounder cheeseburgers from McDonald's in the old-fashioned nonbiodegradable containers. When I'm done suckin' down those greaseball burgers, I'm gonna toss the Styrofoam container right out the side and there ain't a goddamned thing anybody can do about it. You know why? Because we got the bombs, that's why. Two words nuclear fuckin weapons, okay? Russia, Czechslovakia, Romania - they can have all the democracy they want, have a big democracy cakewalk walk through the middle of Tianamen Square and it won't make a lick of difference because we've got the bombs, okay?!
And I guess that ties in with the whole idea that ultimately it's the media to blame, but I thought it was worth pointing out that in fact, movie culture (which is so strongly embedded in the American cultural identity) plays a larger part in that than Bowling for Columbine really recognises.

Anybody who wants to argue any of this out with me, bring it on. Especially any NRA fucks who want to begin defending the right to bear arms, or who want to in some way defend the Republican way of life, or criticise immigration. I'm waiting.

And you know what, I'm proud to be a liberal. America is meant to stand for liberty. Liberal. Liberty. There's a reason those words sound the same - the Latin prefix "liber" for "free". Being liberal means standing for liberty - it's all about freedom. Not freedom to carry a gun around, and not freedom to kick the ass of black people. True freedom is living without fear, without poverty, without injustice. America does not stand for any of those things.

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Interesting points, although I don't agree with them. I consider myself a liberal too-- a classical liberal. Unfortunately, there's nothing classical about today's liberals.

On an unrelated note, I like the new pics. You look like Russell Crowe in the icon on this thread.

If you disagree, then argue - it's no fun otherwise :o)

How do you define classical liberal views?

And I agree - even the most liberal of politicians is unable to get elected, just because liberal thinking tends to be frowned upon by the voting public and by lobbyists...

Hey J, sorry for the delayed response--

Classical liberals are folks who espouse a laissez-faire free-market (capitalist) ideology. Free trade, little or no taxes, minimal to no government intervention in the economy, political freedom (i.e., freedom of speech, religion, guns, etc.) and open immigration too! The Founding Fathers were classical liberals, and so am I. Immigration makes mfor a healthy economy in my view. Immigrants find their niche in jobs that Americans don't want. They also lower prices for consumers.

I should note that when I refer to "capitalism", I'm not referring to the bastard mix of capitalism and statism that is so often referred to as "capitalism", and is (rightfully) blamed for social ills.

interesting views :) i agree with a lot of them....i don't know if im a liberal though..i've been told i'm a moderate...but..politics has become not the main thing on my mind..too much stuff in my own life going ...so i don't really know what i am anymore lol

Unfortunately there really isnt much I can argue with you about as I tend to agree with most of it.

You could probably argue though that Britain does indeed treat much of the empire building days as some sort of golden era - which is celebrated every four years with the commonwealth games. Unfortunately I dont really have any facts to back this up though.

I've heard it used more often in sporting events than in any other context of late.

These days, the Commonwealth stands for cooperation, and friendly competition in sports.

When was the last time the USA held a sporting competition for people they conquered? Until I see a nice sporting event that embraces Afghans, Iroquois, Mexicans and African Americans, I'll have to conclude that we try to focus on the positive, whereas the US tends to focus on the negative, violent aspects of their domination.

actually, until last year, it was traditionally been the closing theme for The Proms, and when last year's(french, i think) Conductor pointed out that it was, y'know, a tad Jingoistic ;-) there was a massive outcry over it. hrm.

besides. you don't see us apologising for economically raping Ireland, or India, or slaughtering the Aboriginies or the.. fuck.. the natives from New Zealand, who i forget. I wouldn't say the Americans focus on the "negative", they hardly have a "Kill The Darkie" day, do they? :P

they mark their independance day, when they threw off a totally tyrannical ruler. whats wrong with that? you forget the Golden Jubilee? :P they have John Wayne movies, we have Zulu. meh.

The Maori.

::nods::

I am a New Zealander. Yay.

thats the ones. i kept thinking the Mayans, but i know quite how wrong that is ;)

Why not post this in debate? You may need to add a slightly more structured question or questions to it, but if you're after someone to argue with over this, you've certainly got the right material for that community.

All of which I agree with.
That film sounds pretty awesome though- I may have to buy it (if it comes out) just so I can project it on the wall.

(Deleted comment)
Amen!

I don't like American anymore...can I come live in Britain? I don't eat much and I can do lots of funny voices...

the really weird thing is about all this that my friend jon earlier this evening went on a micheal whats his name ranty thing at me (apologies I can't be bothered to scroll up and re-read, its just gonna make me loose this thought train). what annoys me is that people having been saying these same ideas for years and years, ie george orwell, Joseph Heller,.. etc etc and history has shown us so many things.. I still cannot comprehend why nobody takes notice and actually does something other than the fact people are lazy, ignorant and egotistical.. i could go on. But yes they love the comfort of what we live in now.. oh for some hunger politics oh good god then things would be sorted!


Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

(Anonymous)
The Bill of Rights individual rights set forth to protect them from the claws of government. Why would the SECOND Amendment be any different? Think for a minute what this world would be like if America didn't exist. Think for a minute what free market has allowed us to do in medicine alone. We can give people a fake heart for Pete’s sake. Without our citizens rights to bear arms this country would have never been able to fight for freedom. Our military of the time just didn't compare to that of the British Empire. Without our right to bear arms this country probaly doesn't exist in the form it does today and this world if vastly different. I would not want to live in that world. Allowing people the right to bear arms not only gives the citizens some power to take back what the government may take away, it also allows us protection from would be criminals. Two million people prevent crime each year by having a gun. In only 2% of those case is the gun actually fired. You don't hear this on the Liberal news outlets. You must listen to talk radio. You say liberals want freedom. How can this be true? School vouchers and school choice are opposed by Dems. Tax cuts are opposed be Dems. Deregulation is opposed by Dems. Military funding, in order to protect our freedoms, is opposed by Dems. Social Security privatization is opposed by Dems. Protecting our borders, with the military, from terrorists and drug traffickers is opposed by Dems. Stop using your heart to make decisions on the future of this country. Your feelings are getting in the way. Use your head. Use reason and logic. People kill people so you punish the killers. People with no skills need jobs so you allow the businesses and the worker to mutually decide upon a wage, with no government involvement. People want to buy products at cheaper prices so you stop taxing the businesses. Businesses don’t pay taxes, people pay taxes. “Liber” may mean “Free” in Latin, but it doesn’t make a liberal want freedom. “I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.” Socrates “Error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” Thomas Jefferson “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents ...” James Madison

Re: Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

duhhh... wots fredom? ima libral. duhhh.

haha. sure.

jamie: it's all very interesting but i can't really be arsed to debate this all right now. i prefer discussing this shit by e-mail rather on livejournal, anyway. outlook doesn't erase my posts, hehe.

and:

Think for a minute what free market has allowed us to do in medicine alone. We can give people a fake heart for Pete’s sake.

And thanks to the free market, people with no money can happily die on the doorstop of a hospital.

Allowing people the right to bear arms not only gives the citizens some power to take back what the government may take away, it also allows us protection from would be criminals.

I agree with the history of arms-bearing militia being fundamental for the formation of the States way back when; the same just doesn't hold true today. Military institutions, if necessary, could easily resist any number of poorly-trained civilians with inferior weapons and armour (if any). Obviously various rhetorical scenarios would swing either way, but as a general rule, the same logic of people-with-guns vs. government doesn't really hold true today. The world has changed too much.

My personal opinion is that a person has more right to take my property than I have to shoot them. I understand opinions here would differ. That's not to say I wouldn't try to stop them, but still.

Two million people prevent crime each year by having a gun. In only 2% of those case is the gun actually fired. You don't hear this on the Liberal news outlets.

And there are of course statistics which "prove" precisely the opposite: that the presence of guns in homes lead to various things, from a greater number of people killed or seriously injured whilst trying to defend their property, to children etc. wounding or killing themselves or others by accident or design.

Military funding, in order to protect our freedoms, is opposed by Dems.

Are you aware that the US currently spends more on its military than the rest of the world put together? I think that's a little excessive, if simultaneously telling.

Stop using your heart to make decisions on the future of this country. Your feelings are getting in the way. Use your head. Use reason and logic.

I find that this is a common and somewhat myopic opinion that is far too prevalent amongst the right wing. I've no real grasp of where you stand, but that's what I've experienced, and I still think it is a very foolish statement. "Reason and logic", in these sort of scenarios, are subjective. If you actually think about what the statement I quoted entails, you'll probably agree that it's rather foolishly all-encompassing and inaccurate.

People kill people so you punish the killers.

That depends on whether you want revenge or justice. It's a very hard subject, but personally I'm more inclined towards the view that argues for addressing the social issues and lack of support for the mentally ill that gives rise to murder (and other crime), rather than just reactively stamping on the consequences and ignoring the causes.

People with no skills need jobs so you allow the businesses and the worker to mutually decide upon a wage, with no government involvement.

The idea that there is no government involvement is hopelessly naive. Or where you proposing that as the way it should be? I don't agree: businesses are far too powerful these days. There would be no real hope for workers obtaining a fair wage without government action.

People want to buy products at cheaper prices so you stop taxing the businesses. Businesses don’t pay taxes, people pay taxes.

Nonsense. Businesses earn more money than the populations of entire continents. Tax concessions rarely lead to genuine, permanent price drops, if any at all. Ridiculous amounts of corporate money just goes to shareholders and executives, rather than lowering prices.

“I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think.” Socrates

Socrates only ever tried to make people think. He did not try to tell them what to think.

Most of your other points I have no issue with. Just felt like commenting on those others.

Re: Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

My personal opinion is that a person has more right to take my property than I have to shoot them. I understand opinions here would differ. That's not to say I wouldn't try to stop them, but still.

Hell yeah - property is theft anyway... :o)

Re: Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

:D damn right.

Re: Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

Paragraphs would be nice...

the claws of government

Oh please, militia-minded conspiracy-theorist bullshit. The government isn't there to fuck you over, it's there to serve itself. The end result is the same, but it's not a deliberate thing - your suffering is merely a by-product of the governments means of abusing its power. And the Bill of Rights has thus far failed to protect anybody from losing their investments, their jobs, or their sense of national security. The government and corporations have taken that away without a fight.

Think for a minute what this world would be like if America didn't exist. Think for a minute what free market has allowed us to do in medicine alone. We can give people a fake heart for Pete’s sake.

Only if they can pay enough money, or have the luxury of having a nice job with a health plan. In Canada, Great Britain, and most of Europe, healthcare is free to everybody, how about that? Don't think that being able to invent transplants is a big deal - they're typically given to white guys who have money (and the statistics back me up there). That's nothing to be proud of.

Without our citizens rights to bear arms this country would have never been able to fight for freedom.

Why the need to fight for freedom? Look at Gandhi.

Allowing people the right to bear arms not only gives the citizens some power to take back what the government may take away,

When the government passed NAFTA, and legalised mass exporting of jobs from America to Mexico, where were your guns? Did you take back those jobs by force, or did you roll over? When George W Bush came into power despite the fact that Gore won more votes nationwide, where were the guns? You were robbed of the rightful president of your country by a screwed up election, but I didn't see the citizens taking matters into their own hands and using their right to bear arms in order to fix the situation.

When your government bombs innocents in other countries, do you rise up and challenge them? What about when they pollute the world, all in the name of profit? What is it going to take in order for citizens to justify their possession of hand guns and assault rifles?

it also allows us protection from would be criminals

Okay, well let's go for a comparison. In England, handguns are banned. As such, you can't defend your home with a gun - but that's okay, because the guy stealing your things doesn't have a gun either. Go find some statistics on how many burglaries end in injury/death per year, and compare the US with other countries. I can't recall the exact numbers, but I do remember that they point to the fact that people who defend themselves with guns are more likely to get shot than those who don't. That doesn't sound much like protection to me.

Two million people prevent crime each year by having a gun

How is that statistic arrived at? I'm not sure how one can really determine that...

In only 2% of those case is the gun actually fired

So if my grasp of mathematics is correct (and believe me it is), that's 40,000 incidents where a gun is fired.

So, let's imagine I live in Florida, where it's legal to carry a concealed weapon. And let's say somebody demands I give them my wallet. I pull a gun on them, and tell them to back off. The gun goes off, and an innocent by-stander gets shot, but it's okay, I was preventing crime. What's wrong with this picture?

Weapon possession encourages weapon use.

Re: Liberals Know Nothing of Freedom

You don't hear this on the Liberal news outlets

When last I checked, there were no liberal news outlets in the states. The best that the media can come up with is centre-right, as opposed to far right like Fox News.

You say liberals want freedom. How can this be true? School vouchers and school choice are opposed by Dems

The Democrats are not liberals. They are conservatives. Not to the same extremes that the Republicans are, but they're getting there.

Social Security privatization is opposed by Dems. Protecting our borders, with the military, from terrorists and drug traffickers is opposed by Dems

Neither of those promotes freedom. The former places peoples' well-being into the hands of corporations whose priorities lie with profit rather than the people they are meant to serve. The latter is a means of controlling the population, which doesn't strike me as a move towards freedom.

Stop using your heart to make decisions on the future of this country. Your feelings are getting in the way. Use your head. Use reason and logic

No. That's how you run a country for profit and allow exploitation and injustice. That's how it has worked in the past, and it has been shown to be the wrong way.

People kill people so you punish the killers

No. People kill people, so you figure out why, and tackle the causes of crime. Punishing people after the fact doesn't bring back victims - stopping the crimes from happening in the first place is the way to save potential victims of crime.

People with no skills need jobs so you allow the businesses and the worker to mutually decide upon a wage, with no government involvement

No, people with no skills need training, and assistance to sort their lives out. Kids need help earlier on in order that they don't grow up to be people without skills. Businesses should not be allowed to exploit workers, who are forced to work for a tiny wage because they have no other choice.

People want to buy products at cheaper prices so you stop taxing the businesses

Poverty won't be ended by ceasing business taxation just so that goods are cheaper. How about businesses get taxed, and the money from that goes towards helping the poor afford a decent standard of living? Surely that would be better...

"Liber" may mean "Free" in Latin, but it doesn’t make a liberal want freedom

Then perhaps the people you know who claim to be liberals aren't. I'm talking about myself, and my views, which are technically liberal, rather than any number of democrats who purport to be liberal thinkers and instead vote through republican bills.

As for your closing quotes - I tend not to concern myself with the thoughts of others, I have perfectly well-considered thoughts of my own.

*applauds*

You know more about American politics than most Americans. I actually had no idea random citizens of other countries knew/had such an opinion about such things. I sadly live in America with all these idiots. I do get to begin voting in 16 days, but a lot of good it does for the country as a whole. When surrounded by idiots my vote does little good.

And I would have to counter with saying the source of all of America's problems in in their schools. Many would suprised at attending a school here for one day- each day makes me personally dumber. As a senior in high school, they have our math class based upon beginning algebra and the homework this weekend was over solving for 'x'. Sorry, but I teach myself. I would rather do self taught home courses than 'excel' this year into the 'advanced' "Pre-cal". (Please, by time they get through 'reviewing' algebra there is only 6 weeks left to start the calculus. I'll waste my time doing something more productive, such as banging my head on the desk.) The current president's home is not but a day's drive from me here in Texas, which shows what the state school teaches. There's a book in my local bookstore filled with mispronounced, misread, and things that just don't make any damn sense from his national speeches.

Oh, and about the freedom thing- look what we've done with that. There's only about ten percent black people in my school, and a teacher can't even tell them to stop talking in class without them claiming "You done told the niggers to shut up. Stop trippin' Miss!" They've just reversed it. They make better grades with less effort, win top positions on sports and student council, just because if a certain percentage of them have to by law. I've lost scholarships and awards that I deserved more just because they had to give it to someone because of their skin color. I get discriminated against because I am white! Something went wrong here! It's Martin Luther King Jr. day today and they had to let us out of school- last year they didn't and guess what? They protested racism. Damn it. Febuary is Black Heritage month. Does anyone have any IDEA what would happen if we tried to make a white herritage month?

Damn this country.
*Rubs black paint on skin* Now can I automatically get an 'A' on a essay test when I turn in true and false answers?

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