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Michael Moore is an American writer and filmmaker known for creating controversial documentaries and texts. Moore is also acknowledged for voicing his opinion in high grossing movies which is difficult for other filmmakers to do. Some of his larger works include “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling For Columbine” which received multiple award winning nominations (IMDb). Moore’s intention of writing this text was to broadcast his opinion on the current corruption of the educational system, also speaking upon the poor political judgements that have driven schools to accept the backlash of impoverished corporate funding. He speaks upon this as his main goal is to bring attention and awareness to this problem. Idiot Nation is an explanation of Moore’s irritation on the American educational system and how it’s been affected by politics and large corporations. He rants in multiple cases about the selfishness of large corporations over education, and how unqualified political figures have a say in the next generations of education. In this essay I will examine and explain the reasons why Moore feels the way he does about the education system in America. I will be discussing topics such as why Moore believes political beliefs, socioeconomic status, and age, all have a massive factor in the American education system.
The first topic Moore writes about is his concern with the qualifications of politicians. Moore addresses his insight about hypocritical and selfish politicians who are not equipped to have the funds of education in their hands. Moore is that he claims, “politicians like Senators Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin want to go after MTV when they are the ones responsible for the massive failure of American education”. His tone is an attack on ethos by claiming politicians go after reality tv to suppress the attention on them as they blame someone else. When in reality, a tv station has no control over what funds go where, and are not the ones to blame. From this statement, Moore believes it is obvious politicians worry more about what people say about them, rather than worrying about the younger generation’s education.
Moore’s intended audience from this perspective, is politically active Americans, whether they are democrat or republican. It is narrowed down to targeting and insulting republicans but reaching out more to the democrats. Moore claims that politicians in general are hypocrites by stating “The ultimate irony in all this is that the very politicians who refuse to fund education in America adequately are the same ones who go ballistic over how our kids have fallen behind other countries”. An example of the poor funding for education is when he explains and blames part of the Bush administration. “In his first budget he proposed cutting federal spending on libraries by $39 million, down to $168 million – nearly a 19 percent reduction” declares Moore. The Bush administration was republican so he is attacking that party, and at the same time reaching out to the democrats for help. Historically republicans are more geared towards funding military and national defence, while democrats fund more education and healthcare. So in this case, Moore is trying to get the democrats to be more involved in this issue and put some money down to help school’s nationwide get what they need.
Due to the qualifications of politicians, corporations are not giving enough funding to schools. The socioeconomic level of Americans and their ties to the education system is an important matter in Moore’s life. In this case, Moore addresses more so the upper class but also the middle class for improper use of funding for schools in America. Moore claims that large corporations like Cola-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr.Pepper and using schools for their own profit, and that schools can be using their own money for materials for the students.
An example he uses is “The school district in Wylie, Texas, signed a deal in 1996 that shared the rights to sell soft drinks in the schools between Coke and Dr.Pepper”. He uses logos to explain how the deal costed just over “$160,000 plus another $20,000 in legal fees coming to a grand total of $180,000”. With that $180,000 used to bring sodas into the schools, the district is essentially playing with their money, and are depriving their resources for their students. According to the CDC, federal law prohibits the sale of soft drinks in schools until the lunch period begins, and in this case student have access to it 24/7. So while the sale of sodas will be at hand for the students, it also gives the students the frame of mind that it is okay to drink sodas everyday. Moore also claims “Few states choose to respond to the money on libraries… This is one reason why materials in many school libraries today date from the 1960s and early 1970s”, which is another reason why schools are not using their money wisely.
Moore’s target audience in this instance is the working middle and upper class, but victimizing the large corporations. He reaches out to the middle class because generally schools don’t have a very large budget as corporations do. Moore bashes the higher class, giving off a hostile tone to get the audience to relate to this problem because many of the readers have been through K-12 basic education. The reason why Moore reaches out to this audience is due to the fact that these larger corporations are are profiting off of these lower income schools. Large corporations including Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper
As corporations are profiting off of schools, Moore claims that the younger generation is not receiving the finest education or messages from their teachers as they pay less attention to the student’s wants and needs. Moore states, “Kids deprived of access to good libraries are also being kept from developing the information skills they need to keep up in workplaces that are increasingly dependent on rapidly changing information”. What this means is that since these libraries are not frequently updated, students are being provided with poor and outdated information. This causes a problem for the students as they grow older, and will need to navigate all new information that actually means something to them alone. He also claims that schools now-a-days struggle to support the student’s mentally. For example, “When Mike Cameron wore a Pepsi shirt on ‘Coke Day’ at Greenbrier High School in Evans, Georgia, he was suspended for a day” affirms Moore. What Moore is trying to deliver here is that this student was punished for expressing himself.
Here, Moore puts pathos to work because he is expressing his own opinion and pointing out how this high school kid was punished for expressing himself. Moore’s intended audience are politically active young adults. These young adults range from the age of 18 to mid-life, around their 40s. Moore does in fact address more his younger audiences as he lectures about high school students.
It is obvious that Moore’s opinion about high school is that he did not enjoy it, giving off a bitter tone, but this also explains his passion to create a stronger more educated generation. Moore exclaims, “High-school, as we all know, is some sort of sick, sadistic punishment of kids by adults seeking vengeanse because they can no longer lead the responsibility-free, screwing-around-24/7 lives young people enjoy”. Here he is reaching out to people’s emotions as they reminisce their high school days and could possibly sympathize for the kid.
Moore believes that politicians are unqualified to control the correct funds for the program. He targets democrats as they are more willing to fund education. Previously mentioned, leads to larger corporations who use schools to for their own profit. This drains schools of their money that can be used for educational materials including up-to-date libraries and technology. Lastly, Moore considers the fact that, already stated, the younger generation in education are not given prime education as they could be given. As schools persist to have large corporations sell their components, they look track of what really matters, the student’s education and freedom of expression.
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