Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine, and one of Jim Jeffries stand up comedy skits in Bare, released in 2002 and 2014 respectively, both address many issues relating to gun violence and gun laws in the United States of America and share a variety of persuasive techniques. Michael Moore uses many techniques such as pathos and logos, to persuade the viewers with evidence, examples, and emotional appeal. Similarly, Jim Jeffries uses pathos, as well as ethos, to influence the audience with his opinion in a more comical, humorous way.
Michael Moore is a well known American film maker but is also known for his writing and activism. Bowling for Columbine was one of the first films he made, and in 2003 the film won 3 awards for best documentary feature among other awards. Throughout this film, Moore explores gun laws and culture within America and uses the Columbine High School Massacre as a starting point and as a central argument in the documentary. Moore compares statistics of guns violence between America and other countries, an example of logos, to strengthen his case. Alternatively, Jim Jeffries uses humour as his primary way to convince his audience. Jim Jeffries is an Australian comedian, actor and writer and has been known to speak about many political situations. In a skit from his stand up show, Bare, he addresses the topic of gun control in America from an outsider’s perspective. Using humour, an example of pathos, Jeffries shares his opinions and justifies his views as logical, in an effort to persuade his audience. When comparing both pieces, it is clear that both have a similar message, however, a difference in the way they are trying to influence the viewers.
One persuasive techniques which is common between the two pieces is pathos. Pathos is emotional appeal, and relates to images or phrases that evoke emotion in the audience. Michael Moore and Jim Jeffries both use pathos, however, each creator utilises it in a different way. In Bowling for Columbine, Moore shows images and video clips of gun violence in America, including security camera footage from the Columbine High School Massacre, and images of people who died in the massacre. These images and video clips create emotion in the viewer, making them feel sadness and a sense of guilt. This persuades the audience to feel that something needs to be done to prevent similar events from occurring. On the other hand, Jeffries uses comedy and humour to further his point. He uses pathos to create happiness within the audience’s minds. He takes a topic which is normally very serious and brings light to the situation. This makes the conversation of gun violence easier to have and allows the audience to understand the issue through humour. Jeffries does a skit where he parodies people who claim they own guns to protect their house and families yet keep them locked in a safe, making them not easily accessible which uses logic to justify the opinion. Both pieces create emotion in the viewer yet it is done so in different ways. Moore’s film makes the audience feel guilty for what has happened and Jeffries show makes the audience agree with his logical opinions.