If you define "political" as something with a unilateral political message, then almost by definition, documentaries aren't political. If you define it as about a political topic, there have been many.
The TBS documentary on the American Civil War was quite good. (And if you don't think that's political coming out of an Atlanta-based broadcasting company, you either haven't lived in Atlanta or have lived there too long.)
From the Earth to the Moon was very good and had lots of politics. There were some excellent television documentaries a few months ago on the Cuban missile crisis. Plenty of good documentaries on Kennedy. There are even works of fiction, such as All the President's Men, which work better qua documentaries than Bowling for Columbine.
Besides, Cosmos was quite strongly political. It wasn't really a documentary, though.
As for being pro-BFC, let's for a moment ignore all of the critics and look at just what Moore has said in his defence on the web site referred to by this article: Even though it's mostly rant, there are a few actual statements in it.
In the spring of 2001, I saw a real ad in a real newspaper in Michigan announcing a real promotion that this real bank had where they would give you a gun (as your up-front interest) for opening up a Certificate of Deposit account.
I don't doubt this at all. I don't know if it happened exactly as Moore portrayed it. I wouldn't be surprised, though. Many states permit people to buy rifles and shotguns without a waiting period. I'm sure that Moore could have gone into any of hundreds or thousands of gun shops and purchased a long gun off the rack.
But instead, he goes to this bank who is having what he even says is a promotion. Promotions are supposed to be attention-getting novelties. So, one bank in Northern Michigan gives long guns as a promotion. It would not have come to anyone's attention, least of all Moore's, if this were not an extremely unusual thing to do. And so, this is typical or representative, exactly, how?
In the 50s, workers at the Littleton facility constructed the first Titan intercontinental ballistic missile, designed to unleash a nuclear warhead on the Soviet Union;
As far as I know, no nuclear warheads have been unleashed to date on the Soviet Union. The main use of the Titan "intercontinental ballistic missile" has been as a workhorse for putting up satellites. The main high-profile use has been as the booster for the fucking Gemini manned space program. I can't wait for Moore's remake of The Right Stuff.
n the mid-80s, they were partially assembling MX missiles, instruments for the minuteman ICBM,
OK, this is related to weapons. It isn't related to firearms, though, and I doubt that anyone at Columbine had an ICBM.
a space laser weapon called Zenith Star, and a Star Wars program known as Brilliant Pebbles.
Both of which were boondoggles, and neither of which were ever intended to kill anybody but rather to prevent people from being killed. Which I guess is a Bad Thing.
As for what's currently manufactured in Littleton, McCollum told me, "They (the rockets sitting behind him) carry mainly very large national security satellites, some we can't talk about."
OK, so what? National security satellites are generally communications satellites or good telescopes pointed down. If you don't like that sort of thing, find. But what the fuck does it have to do with Columbine or firearms or the price of tea in China?
In the full, unedited interview I did with the Lockheed spokesman, he told me that Lockheed started building nuclear missiles in Littleton and "played a role in the development of Peacekeeper MX Missiles."
"Nuclear" is such a wonderful, all-purpose word, isn't it? Maybe he's referring to "Gus" Grissom as having been born into a nuclear family? Probably not. Well, maybe the missiles are themselves nuclear. No; there's a research program for nuclear rockets, but the Titan uses conventional chemical propulsion. Ah, but they can deliver a payload, which could be a Nuke! That's it! That's what makes it a Nuclear Missile.
Since that interview, the Titan IV rockets manufactured in Littleton have been critical to the war effort in both Afghanistan and Iraq. These rockets launched advanced satellites that were "instrumental in providing command-and-control operations over Iraq...for the rapid targeting of Navy Tomahawk cruise missiles involved in Iraqi strikes and clandestine communications with Special Operations Forces."
I remember back in the 1980's having a friend who boycotted Progresso food products, not for the ordinary reason that they're overpriced and not all that great, but because they sold food to the Army and thus indirectly lead to Mass Slaughter on the part of the U.S. (which, at the time, must have meant Grenada). That's good and fine. But I don't think that even he would have been so boneheaded as to suggest that this was even tantamount to, let alone the same thing, as manufacturing weapons.
Even Moore probably realizes how weak this is, which is why "weapons" magically becomes, in his very words, "instruments that help kill people."
That Lockheed lets the occasional weather or TV satellite hitch a ride on one of its rockets should not distract anyone from Lockheed's main mission and moneymaker in Littleton: to make instruments that help kill people. That two of Littleton's children decided to engineer their own mass killing is what these guys and the Internet crazies don't want to discuss.
Nobody wants to discuss it? So, I guess that all that rant about people discussing Moores film was just made-up? Or maybe it means what it usually means: "not enough people want to shut up and nod sagely while I pontificate."
But don't take my word - read the transcript of his whole speech.
Why are these gun nuts upset that their brave NRA leader's words are in my film? You'd think they would be proud of the things he said. Except, when intercut with the words of a grieving father (whose son died at Columbine and happened to be speaking in a protest that same weekend Heston was at the convention center), suddenly Charlton Heston doesn't look so good does he?
Come on! Does this really need comment? Could it possibly be any more blatant? Hee hee hee, I've discovered the dramatic power of intercutting.
I have merely re-broadcast an image supplied to us by a Denver TV station, an image which the NRA has itself crafted for the media, or, as one article put it, "the mantra of dedicated gun owners" which they "wear on T-shirts, stamp it on the outside of envelopes, e-mail it on the Internet and sometimes shout it over the phone.". Are they now embarrassed by this sick, repulsive image and the words that accompany it?
"As one article put it" is right up there with "Four out of five dentists recommend." At least the manufacturers of Trident have a good enough sense of humor to do a self-parody in some of their commercials.
The U.S. figure of 11,127 gun deaths comes from a report from the Center for Disease Control.
I'll give Moore credit for that; it's accurate. No statistics on ICBM deaths, though, which gives me pause.
Most Americans want stronger gun laws (among others, see the 2001 National Gun Policy Survey from the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center) - and the gun lobbies know it.
Yeah, I'm sure. But America isn't a democracy; it's a constitutional republic.
Nothing much left in the article but rants, I'm afraid. However, if you discover a real gem, you're welcome to point it out.
The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett
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