Bowling for Columbine & We Need to Talk About Kevin

How important is the truth in contemporary society? Is being entertained more important than the truth? We know documentaries and novels allow an insight to the world around us and of the human experience through provoking our senses, enriching our feelings and developing our ideologies, however are we aware of the extent to which the truth is manipulated and shaped to influence our opinion on the subject matter? As famous novelist Mark Twain once said “Get your facts first then distort them as you please”.

Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech. Why in the past three years alone have there been thirty-two violent acts committed in American schools? Why do eleven thousand people die in America each year at the hands of gun violence? There have been a multitude of documentaries and novels which address these controversial questions, that manipulate the facts to point fingers as to why these tragedies are occurring, feeding into the American need to find someone to blame. This distortion of the facts is evident when contrasting the award winning texts ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’.

In the wake of the Columbine high school massacre of 1999, America was left with a haunting question. What drove two teenage boys to commit such a heinous act, killing twelve of their peers, one teacher and themselves? Michael Moore’s highly successful documentary ‘Bowling for Columbine’, seeks to provide answers to this quandary. In this ethnographic documentary Moore positions audiences to accept that the ‘culture of fear’ in American is what is causing gun violence.   Moore carefully manipulates the facts through a myriad of modes and techniques, in order to push forth his viewpoint. The documentary grossed fifty-eight million dollars worldwide and broke box office records becoming a powerful influence on society. With the documentary being so entertaining, is it any wonder why Moore’s calculated distortion of truth becomes more...