Bowling for Columbine: Teachers’ Guide

Welcome to the Bowling For Columbine TEACHER’S GUIDE.

The lessons and activities in this GUIDE are designed to help students develop critical thinking skills, historical analysis, and open their minds on many universal issues. —Bowling for Columbine: Teachers’ Guide (Bowling for Columbine)

1) Moore is a very talented filmmaker.

2) I am personally in favor of all kinds of gun-control legislation.

3) Using a teacher’s guide authored by (or at least marketed by) Michael Moore in order to study the film made by Michael Moore in which Michael Moore advocates the social positions held by Michael Moore will teach the students not to think for themselves, but to think like Michael Moore.

4) To teach critical thinking, open students’ minds to the wider debate — walk them through some of Spinsanity‘s objections to Moore, or better yet, analyze some of Moore’s own comments. Show the videotape of the Hollywood crowd booing Moore during the Oscar presentation, and then show him afterwards claiming that the booing was actually some of his friends kidding him. Analyze with them the tautology of Moore’s recent defense, “Every fact in the film is true. Absolutely every fact in the film is true.”

5) Oh, wait — no need to ask your students to confront that material head on, because Michael Moore has already told everyone “How to Deal with the Lying Liars when they Lie about ‘Bowling for Columbine‘.”

6) Decide whether you want to use the controversy surrounding the movie “Bowling for Columbine” in order to teach critical thinking, or you want to teach the movie “Bowling for Columbine” to appreciate and/or deconstruct Moore’s mastery of the art of persuasive filmmaking, and to discuss the origin and purpose of the documentary film, and the artifice of the “Reality TV” genre.

Or remind them that as long as Coulter, O’Reilley, Moore, and a host of others on both the right and left keep making money off of a host of books that rely upon anecdotal evidence, ad hominem attacks and all sorts of other things that you try to prevent them from putting in their assignments, our students are going to need to be informed about rhetoric so that they can make their own critical judgements about what they watch or read.

32 thoughts on “Bowling for Columbine: Teachers’ Guide

  1. Teachers of all people are the last people who I thought would buy into Michael Moore’s “mastery of the art of persuasive filmmaking” (DGJ this page). It’s just that, an art, a coorsing of a subject to take the form of his agenda. He followed absolutely NO essay format with this movie. If I turned his movie in as a college paper, I would have been sent back to 9th grade. He had no sources, or solid proof. No opposing view points. He’s slapped his story together in the same manner that he dresses, sloppy and unorganized. I am by no means a Republican, but I fully support guns, and his movie just helped me dislike him more. Did anybody care to look up what the people he interviewed said after the film? Or the solidity of his claims? If you did you would find that the did a grand job of editing interviews and sensationalizing his film. I hope that if somebody breaks into your house to rape, murder, or maim your families in any way shape or form, that a Police car is only 2 blocks away, because with out a gun you are sitting ducks. Now I am fully aware that the likely hood of this event occuring is slim, but in the perverbial words of some ‘idjit’: “shit happens”. If you wish to contact me regarding my poor spelling and grammar, don’t waste your time, I didn’t use spell check. If you care to retort in a MATURE manner then feel free. I would gladly discuss this and share in a calm fashion. If you would like a copy of the 10 page paper that I am writing on this very subject, please let me know and I will gladly provide one.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Grace. I will sometimes correct a bad URL or delete duplicate comments, and if commenters ask me, I’m willing to correct mistakes that affect the content (such as leaving out the word “not”), but I’m generally not in the habit of editing typos in comments left by visitors. So I’ve left g stomberg’s comment the way it is.

  3. as a teacher in Australia that has just stumbled across your website can I let you know that the word “thief” is spelt with the i before the e. Sorry to be a nitpicker!

  4. using the logic of #24 bush is human therefore he is biased, inaccurate and imperfect so i really don’t know what his point was. not only is bush human he’s a west texas girl!.

  5. I agree comment no. 2 where Will makes the comment on having to take sides. I see dont see why people feel the need to take sides and that they can’t simply enjoy Moores movies as a movie rather than taking it as fact or fiction.

  6. is #24 talking to me (#23)? i never insulted anyone, what’s he talking about? another bushie making up facts as he goes, who said i think i moore is god? i never said it. inaccurate? oh yea, you edjamacated republicans are on this ‘911 never happened’ kick where no terrorists struck, no one was killed, no firemen hurt, moore made it all up and is inaccurate about it all, he made it all up.

  7. You insult those who see Bush as a ‘god’ yet you clearly think that Moore is one. He is human, therefore his documentaries are biased, inaccurate and imperfect.

  8. when people don’t like the truth they hear then they call it propaganda. is he saying 911 didn’t happen? did moore lie about terrorists destroying the twin towers? did 3000 people not die? what lie or propaganda did moore tell? it’s a documentary of the 911 tragedy and moore haters act like it never happened, like moore is just making it all up, well 911 DID happen and f-911 is a documentary of the facts

  9. Have anyone seen the teacher’s guide for the 9/11 film?
    The film is a propaganda film, no a good propaganda film, a la Moore..
    OK, I am not terrible upset by that, it doesn’t take much fact/contex checking to see how Moore defines ‘truth’. BUT reading the teacher’s guide gave chills down my spine. It strongly reminded me of political ‘education’ classes (although in new clothes) dished out the Soviet Union era.

    BTW, I am not a Bush supporter… but coming from Europe, I can recognise political indoctrination when I see it.

    The ‘guide’ can be found at the link below, remember to check out the mathematics section.

  10. boy #19 sounds real smart doesn’t he. a true republican always resorts to obscenities and insults when they realize someone doesn’t hink bush is god. his argument was real clever, boy, he’s probably volunteering for bush right now, what a real smooth talker he is, i’m not a democrat or republican, i will always vote for the best man for the job but that man is NOT bush, bush has destroyed this country and his patriot act has erased the constitution and made a mockery of the freedom our troops are fighting for, so go on swearing and insulting, its the only thing republicans have going for them, democrats can at least argue sensibly

  11. i think m moore’s numbers did a pretty good job of proving his point without your help, how many million dollar documentaries have you made? no, his movie did not list china but i looked it up because their population is greater than ours, also, why didn’t YOU give us the per capita stats, why should moore? the numbers speak for themselves.

  12. g_stomberg, you don’t seem to be listening to my point. I am offering a critique of Moore’s method, you are defending his ideology.

    To what “theory” do you refer when you say that introducing China blows it away? I not only never said it didn’t, I explicitly said it did, when I wrote “He would still end up with statistics that overwhelmingly support his point that the U.S. has a gun problem. I agree with him there, of course.”

    Does the list of nations Moore uses in this scene include China? I don’t think it does.

  13. you’re not going to tell me usa has more people than china are you? we have more gun violence than china so that kind of blows away your theory doesn’t it. he didn’t manipulate the facts, he quoted the facts as they stand, his numbers are correct

  14. I don’t recall ever calling Moore a liar. But that doesn’t mean I think his documentaries should be considered unbiased, balanced examiniations of an issue.

    If you take a population of ten people you might truthfully state, “Nobody in this room is a college professor.” If you take the population of a room full of a million people, and say “Thousands of people in this room are college professors,” it would be misleading to present the idea that something about the room caused an overabundance of college professors.

    For instance, in a scene in “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore quotes statistics showing the number of gun deaths for various countries in a recent year. [He never actually specifies what year, by the way.)] The number of gun deaths in America is much larger in every case… but the population of America is much larger in every case, too.

    A more useful, more objective figure would be to compare the number of deaths per capita. He would still end up with statistics that overwhelmingly support his point that the U.S. has a gun problem. I agree with him there, of course. What I disagree with is the maniuplation of facts (of “true facts,” as Moore and his supporters point out) in order to emphasize his point.

    A documentary filmmaker has no obligation to be fair and balanced, of course, and I do support Moore’s right to put his ideas before the public.

  15. or people will say ‘moore’s opinion is this but my opinion is that so that proves moore is a liar.’ moore is the best documentary maker ever, no one can find one single lie in his entire movie, yes, he may have made a mistake or two but all in all his movie is factual. people are so afraid of the facts they have to convince themselves that moore is a liar.

  16. not one single person has been able to tell me a lie from m moore. most sights that claim moore lied give examples like ‘moore said 29% but the real figure is 28.9% that proves he lied’ or ‘moore said it was pm but it was really 11;55am so that proves he’s a liar’ or they tell you what they think he said but not his EXACT WORDS, or they say ‘to moore this means…so that proves he’s a liar’ well, how do they know what something means to moore? and how does what they think something means to moore make moore a liar? not one person can give me one real example of moore lying.

  17. you know, when i ask people if they would vote for a convicted theif and a convicted drunk for president every single person i’ve asked has said ‘no’, untill i tell them bush is the convicted theif and drunk i’m asking about, then they come up with all kinds of excuses why bush shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions, there are more arrests in his history but these are the only 2 convictions.

  18. do you want a lying drunken theif leading our country and influencing your children? what about the drunken theif down the block. would you elect him prsident? oops, bush was never elected president was he, he was court appointed.

  19. A poll that is slanted to make Kerry look bad is doing pretty much the same thing Greg is doing here — communication information in a manner calculated to shape opinion.

    45% say Kerry should quit seat, poll indicates

    A poll asks whether respondents “are concerned” that Kerry “missed 70 percent of the votes in the Senate over the last two years”.

    A neutral poll question would simply ask something like, “Do you feel Kerry is doing a good job in the Senate?” and “How closely is job performance link to attendance in the Senate?”

  20. Stealing a Christmas wreath sounds like a rather stupid thing to do. I found a few news articles that note he was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. For what it’s worth, Bush was also arrested for rowdiness at a football game, though the charges were later dropped.

    Ethos (personal character) certainly has a place in political discourse. Still, whether stealing a Christmas wreath and getting into a car accident makes a whole family “crooked” is a matter of opinion.

    Plato observed that the ideal leader would not actually wish to lead. This means that those who do rise to power generally aren’t ideal.

    I shudder to think what my own flaws would look like, if they were magnified through their effect on the lives of millions of people.

  21. sorry, i did some research tho and found out bush was convicted of stealing a christmas wreath while in college, a convicted theif he is, also i found out bush was convicted of being a drunk driver, i never called anyone a liar, there are hundreds if not thousands of websites calling m moore a liar so i wondered if these charges were true or more lies and they turned out to be true, the charges against laura were NOT public record untill FOI act forced them to open the files for the public. after 8 years of hearing how crooked the clintons were i wonder why everyone ignores the facts about crooked the bush’s are, they were even convicted while the clintons were never even charged, thanks for the reply

  22. You seem very informed about Michael Moore, Greg, and already seem to have made your mind about his veracity. I wonder why you’re asking me? Nevertheless, I’ll bite this time.

    Who convicted Bush of stealing what? Is this a reference to the election, or something else?

    The alcoholism in W’s past and the car accident that Laura was involved in at age 17 are matters of public record.

    If you think anyone with an alcohol problem is a “drunk” or that Laura Bush is “ugly”, those are matters of opinion, not fact. Since they’re not matter of fact, the “truth or lie” dichotomy here is a falsehood.

    It seems like you’ve set a chip on your shoulder, ready to shout “liar” at anyone who disagrees with you. That’s your choice, in a free country, but I’m not terribly impressed by the argument that is likely to result.

  23. hey, i just read bush is a convicted theif, a convicted drunk and that his ugly wife killed her ex boyfriend, is this true or more of m moore’s lies? let me know, thanks,

  24. michael moore is a great american hero, and is mentioned as such in the rock opera adam g-214, 2073 a.d. , a kind of anti bush future rock opera, musicians wanted to record some of the songs for a compilation cd

  25. I’m so tired of critical thinking. Can’t we write papers on movies like “Little Nemo”, and just say “Very cute, interesting movie!”? Why do we always have to be so confrontational about everything? All this “Here’s their viewpoint, no write about why it’s wrong” – it’s no wonder we start to think there’s only two sides to anything!

  26. Very nice critique. Using the guise of “critical thinking” for persuasion… Not something I find to be responsible, to say the least.
    Especially liked the quote of Moore from the Spinsanity article, “if I state something as a fact, I need the viewers to trust that those facts are correct.” Doesn’t sound like he wants any critical thinking at all…

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