Interview: Power and the Passion
Unions: Tackling the Heavy Hitters
Industrial: Seeing the Forest For The Wood
Housing: Home Truths
International: Boycott Busters
Economics: Ideology and Free Trade
History: Long Shadow of a Forgotten Man
Review: Chewing the Fat
Poetry: Dear John
The Locker Room
A Place To Call Home
Crikey: Irwin Feeds Staff AWAs
Macdonald Ponders Asbestos Blue
Murdoch Faces Discrimination Rap
Labor Council of NSW
Chewing the Fat
This is a Michael Mooresque exposition of the nastiness of the McDonalds corporation that makes for an entertaining insight into commercial exploitation and marketing.
Director and guinea pig Morgan Spurlock decides to eat only Slack Mac's for a month. He has to have three squares a day and whenever a poorly paid casual worker asks if he wants to "supersize", he has to go with the bigger meal. Spurlock's partner (a vegan chef) abhors his decision but supports his artistic endeavours, even preparing a "detox" diet for when he returns to normal eating.
Spurlock lives in Manhattan where there are plentiful Golden Arches and he doesn't have to walk far for a Big Mac and fries. This contrasts with his efforts to find the "nutritional information" pamphlet in the store.
Spurlock's film is interspersed with facts about McDonalds including the number of franchises around the world and the amount of money spent on advertising, but no mention of the poorly paid casualised labour force that make up its operations.
Spurlock also shines the light on the general nutritional state of children in the US and asks why multinationals such as Sodexho are supplying the next generation's nutritional needs.
Spurlock's point is that they are regularly eating the wrong kinds of food and what does this mean for their growing bodies. The US Surgeon
General views obesity as the next big preventable health crisis, after smoking.
Spurlock examines the role of advertising, specifically its focus towards young children.
Happy Meals, plastic toys and the Ronald McDonald clown are used to burn the McDonald's name into the memories of young children, via television.
McDonalds' defence is that their food isnt meant to be eaten in such a concentrated manner. However they do seem to acknowledge that it is not healthy. One PR Wally admitted that Maccas was part of the problem but it was "also part of the solution." Sounds like starting a war because it's good for the economy to me!
As the film progresses his heart rate speeds up, he gains 25 pounds, becomes depressed, his sexual capacity is affected and his liver risks malfunction. Spurlock suffers "McTremors" in his arms while his GP likens his physical state to that of an alcoholic.
Despite all this Spurlock doesn't find time to delve into the shocking labour practices of the Evil Empire. Nor does he mention the McLibel trial the corporation waged in the late 90s, when a pair of activists were sued for leafleting McDonalds "restaurants" with pamphlets which explained the lack of nutritional value in a Maccas burger. Likewise the environmental devastation wrought by the company in third world nations goes without mention.
Nonetheless this is an entertaining and informative documentary - just don't eat McNuggets before you go.
Supersize Me Directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock
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