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Michael Moore’s 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine explores gun violence in America in relation to the 1999 Columbine shooting. Moore’s exploration goes deeper as he uncovers the reason behind America’s reliance on guns: fear. The documentary’s overall focus is to look more closely at the media we consume and the fear it promotes in our everyday lives. Moore interviews Marilyn Manson, a prominent figure in the media who is often blamed for influencing events like Columbine because his music challenges societal norms. In this transcript from Manson’s interview in Bowling for Columbine, Manson discusses his perceived representation and the media’s role in influencing violent events.
Michael Moore: Do you know that on the day of the Columbine massacre, the US dropped more bombs on Kosovo than any other day?
Marilyn Manson: I do know that, and I think that’s really ironic, that nobody said ‘well maybe the President had an influence on this violent behaviour’, because that’s not the way the media wants to take it and spin it, and turn it into fear, because then you’re watching television, you’re watching the news, you’re being pumped full of fear, there’s floods, there’s AIDS, there’s murder, cut to commercial, “buy the Acura”, “buy the Colgate”, if you have bad breath they’re not going to talk to you, if you have pimples, the girl’s not going to fuck you, and it’s just this campaign of fear, and consumption, and that’s what I think it’s all based on, the whole idea of ‘keep everyone afraid, and they’ll consume.’