No matter which route we take to work each day it is highly probable that we will pass by the most widely recognized symbol in the entire galaxy: The Golden Arches. Proudly displayed beneath each pair is the approximate number of people who have contributed to McDonald's corporately sponsored march towards unmitigated obesity. A few years ago two excessively overweight women blamed their portliness on the fat inducing ingredients of McDonalds food. Their claim however, did not hold any clout when they took the corporate monster to court. The jury ruled that unless people were to eat a diet consisting of nothing but McDonalds food, the allocation could not be proved. The McDonald's complete diet defense was backed by the assumption that no human being was stupid enough to challenge it- fortunately for our viewing pleasure, Morgan Spurlock called McDonald's bluff.
In the documentary Super Size Me , independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock goes on a thirty day diet consisting of nothing but McDonalds food. In the course of the month he must eat three solid meals a day, consume every item on the menu at least once, and 'Super Size' his meal whenever he is given the option. Throughout the experiment his 'progress' is carefully monitored by three physicians, a dietitian, and his girlfriend (who as fate would have it, is a vegan chef).
When I first caught wind of this film I was a little hesitant due to a few previously bad experiences with biased 'stick it to the man' documentaries (cough- Michael Moore-cough). But like any other closet fast food glutton, I shamefully strolled down to the local theater to see if I couldn't learn a few things about myself. What I found was terrifying.
During the course of the film I witnessed a man go to war against his own body. The documentary was seamlessly edited with interviews, animations, statistical data, and other eye candy to avoid repetition. The final product was a complete documentation of the poisoning of a body. Fortunately, Spurlock's delightful personality makes the content of the film a bit easier to swallow.
What stood out about the film was that the finger did not point to just one source of blame. In addition to the fast food industry, the documentary served as an attack on American culture, the media, greed, over consumption, and individual choices. This modern day parable about the consequences of gluttony proved to be insightful, moving, and at the same time very entertaining. After watching Super Size Me I briefly felt compelled to discontinue my repulsive habit of fast food intake, but have since re-rationalized my addiction... hey, I'll be fine it was only a movie... right?