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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Law
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Discuss the persuasive techniques used by Michael Moore in three scenes from his film Bowling for Columbine

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Discuss the persuasive techniques used by Michael Moore in three scenes from his film 'Bowling for Columbine' Michael Moore produced the film Bowling for Columbine with the intention of persuading the viewers that gun laws are too relaxed in the United States. He believes that these laws have both contributed and added to, what he describes as a state of perpetual paranoia and a culture of fear amongst all of America's citizens. Although Moore himself is not against guns since he is actually a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). He does hold the opinion that the fear mongering and trepidation encouraged by both the media and politicians, intensifies the potential dangers of individual gun ownership, by reducing the nationwide threshold with regards to violence with firearms, and thus exposing many innocent people to violent attacks. Moore uses an array of persuasive techniques through the course of his polemic; with the most effective being irony and satirical humor, scene sequencing and sound effects and finally intelligent manipulation of background music. The first key scene A Wonderful World rebuts the conception that the US is a benevolent force around the world and that it does not use its military strength to physically impose and cause deliberate harm. In confrontation to this view, Moore is attempting to show that the USA's propensity for violence overseas contributes to the growing levels and intensities of violence in America. The scene is enclosed by sequences shot in Littleton, Colorado is compliant with Moore's overall objective of the film: to expose America's misguided love of guns and violence. The preceding scene to this key scene is typical of Moore's persuasive style and is a polemic in its own right, the direct paradox between supplier and victim along with the juxtaposing music is another example of satirical humor. ...read more.


A similar section of this scene is when it claims US funds Saddam again playing on the minds of the audience as contextual information is lacking for persuasive purposes. This then directly links into the points of the Iraq war which many Americans now question the motives for, whilst adding any further information about the deaths and casualties involved in the war angering the general population into Moore's perspective. However the lasts two sections of the scene are the most important in that they are the US funds Taliban in 'aid' the greatest irony thus far and the sum of the aid is a significant $245million and is likely to anger the general population who are fully aware of the nature of the Taliban. Especially with the nature of the aid being inferred by all as weapons. This is instrumental as it is integral to Michael Moore's view that it is the US actions with regards to foreign affairs that have caused violence on the 'home-front.' The final section is 911 footage, this is very satirical and is deeply imbedded in the hearts of Americans however due to the sequencing Moore essentially allows the blame for the attacks to fall back on the US both in the preceding scenes by funding the Taliban and training Bin Laden and this would be very emotive. Ironically the wonderful world song finishes just as the second plane strikes the shorter tower as the scene reaches its climax this is exceptionally persuasive as the real life footage changes the mood and tone to deeply remorseful ones. One of Moore's primary techniques is the positioning of clips: he often edits in a manner to make a highly emotive scene next to one that is factual or another that is a complete paradox. ...read more.


Moore shows the high figures of the US just after the low figures of Japan and this huge difference highlights how lax the gun laws are in the US. This makes it more effective as it makes the US seem worse and the problem seem greater and therefore that there is a greater need for there to be a change in gun laws. Moore uses simple cartons and basic drawings throughout this illustration and this means that it is appropriate for people of all ages, and even young children, which highlights how the problem affects everyone and not just adults. The fact that the narrator of the cartoon is a bullet which is constantly smiling and friendly encourages people to use guns and they are not dangerous, even though they clearly are. The cartoon format which Moore chose for this sequence is very sarcastic and jovial, which illustrates how the issue is not being taken seriously enough and this persuades the viewer that there needs to be a change in attitude and laws in the US. Moore cleverly omits certain periods of American history in order to show the US in a bad light; Moore only shows the parts of history in which American have been violent and used guns and they never mentioned any of the good deeds which America has done. This is very effective as it manipulates the viewer into thinking that America is all bad, when that is not necessarily the case. This is effective at persuading the viewer as they believe that change has to be taken in order for America to stop committing such bad behaviours such as burning witches and slavery. ...read more.

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