Media Mash: From Moore to Malkovich

Does John Malkovich Own a Gun?

Robert Fisk, one of England's premier reporters, and a most thoughtful and graceful writer on the trials and tribulations of the Middle East crisis, has had his share of hate mail. It used to come in the form of letters -- some signed with addresses included; others anonymous and practically illegible.

But Fisk and other writers are experiencing a whole new level of frightening communications, particularly on the Internet. And the hate mongering, which often includes death threats, reached its public apex earlier this month, when movie star John Malkovich told the Cambridge Union that he would like to shoot Fisk.

The Internet seems to have become -- for those who don't want to hear the truth about the Middle East -- a "community of haters," aiming venomous letters at any reporter, such as Fisk, who dares to criticize Israeli or U.S. policy.

Fisk writes: "Slowly but surely, the hate has turned to incitement, the incitement into death threats, the walls of propriety and legality gradually pulled down so that a reporter can be abused, his family defamed, his beatings at the hands of an angry crowd greeted with laughter and insults on the pages of an American paper, his life cheapened and made vulnerable by an actor who -- without saying why -- says he wants to kill me."

We live in frightening times, and the double dose of 9/11 -- the bombing and the pursuit of terrorists and the ongoing violence in the Middle East -- is sending some people around the bend. We have to protect our liberties, and we also may need to physically protect our journalists and truth seekers, or we'll be in very deep shit.

Michael Moore Conquers Cannes

What an unlikely scene. The Left's answer to Rush Limbaugh: rumpled, hyper-unstylish author and filmmaker Michael Moore amidst the glitterati and the fashionistas of France and movie stars from all over the world at Cannes? Truly, there is no stopping Moore.

There's the astounding success of his book, "Stupid White Men," which has been sitting at number one on the NY Times bestseller list (and virtually every other top ten list across the country) for months. Now comes another creative in-your-face effort: Bowling in Columbine.

Moore says that he set out to answer the following question: "Are we a country of gun nuts, or just nuts?" The film, the first documentary entered in competition at Cannes in 46 years, was well-received by the audiences. It explicitly links what Moore calls the "paranoid mentality of Americans who love guns to the violent nature of post-war US foreign policy."

According to Guardian of London's Stuart Jeffries, at the beginning of the film, Moore opens a bank account and receives a free gun. He reveals how the bullets used to kill 12 students and a teacher at Columbine were bought for 17 cents from a Wal-Mart supermarket. Moore then encourages two teenage boys who still have bullets lodged in their spines to return bullets to the chainstore. After meeting them, Wal-Mart later announced that it would no longer sell such guns and bullets.

Moore's analysis is that the US is gun-crazy because the country was born out of fear of outsiders, a fear that continues to influence foreign policy.

It goes like this: The pilgrims come to the U.S. to escape, and they encounter the Native Americans. The pilgrims kill the Indians, but they become afraid of each other. They start accusing women of being witches and burn them. They win the revolution, but they are afraid the Brits are coming back. So someone writes the Second Amendment that says: Let's keep our guns because the Brits are coming back.

Fast forward: From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the number of slaves grew from 7000,000 to 4 million. In parts of the South, blacks outnumbered whites by three to one, and there were a lot of slave rebellions. So in 1863 Samuel Colt invented the six-shooter -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

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