....LMB: "You Want Fries with That?"....

June 15, 2004

I saw the movie Super Size Me last week, but haven't had the time or energy to review it till now.

I think you all know the premise: guy says "what would happen if I ate nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days?", proceeds to eat only McDonald's food for 30 days, and then finds that it's a lot more harmful than anyone would have predicted.

First off, I have to say that it is a good movie. Most of the time when you see a documentary, you have to put yourself in PBS mode, accepting that you're going to learn something, maybe be intrigued, but you don't really expect to be entertained much. But I actually enjoyed myself watching Super Size Me. It flowed well, and remained interesting and funny through nearly all of its screentime. I'll make the bold claim that director Morgan Spurlock is a better director than the popular Michael Moore.

The movie is much more than advertised; ninety minutes of Man Eating Burger would be a good time for no one. About half the film is Spurlock eating McD's, traveling across the country, and dealing with the consequences of his binge eating. The other half is interviews, facts, and investigative journalism. Spurlock talks to nutritionists, fast food lobbyists, elementary school gym teachers, Big Mac addicts, etc. Spurlock paints a larger picture about American eating habits, health, and corporate exploitation.

The eating habit issue is quite important. We all hear about America's obesity epidemic, which is fucking obscene, given the number of people in this world who die young and malnourished. We all know the cause: a combination of cheap, unhealthy food and a lack of exercise. But there are other factors: ever-decreasing amounts of free time; lack of nutritional education for kids; lack of physical education for kids; lobbying efforts by junk food corporations to confuse the public; and huge, huge, huge advertising efforts by the fast food industry. All of this helps alter American culture and norms towards one in which eating large amounts of unhealthy food and participating in minimal amounts of healthy exercise are quite common, and those who take a more healthful path are seen as unique and exemplary.

Apart from the book Fast Food Nation, I'm not aware of any American cultural product that has managed to spark discussion and thought about these issues among average Americans the way Super Size Me has (although this is somewhat due to defensive corporate PR, which has helped raise the film's visibility). I've been slowly trying to change my own life, eat healthier, eat out less, and exercise more. I've made a bit of progress, and this movie did give me an extra kick in the ass.

Sadly, even eating food that most Americans would consider "healthy" has problems. Meat produced in factory farms with hormones and excess antibiotics; genetically modified vegetables; meals all processed to hell with mysterious chemical additives. I'm not an expert on the subject, so I won't speak much about it, but the more you learn, the more appalled you become.

Anyhow. Super Size Me is good, and you should see it.

Posted by Jake at 03:15 PM | TrackBack (0)

You're such an idiot. Please, believe everything you read, especialy when it's comming from a HEAVILY biased source. It's fucking closed minded morons that can't think for themselves, like you, that are just another america has become the most hated country on earth, even by it's OWN PEOPLE. Thanks for helping to fuck everything up for everyone else. Try dealing with YOUR OWN PERSONAL PROBLEMS BY YOURSELF. People aren't fat because McDonals offers supersized meals, people are fat because THEY ORDER supersize meals. Not taking responsiblity for your OWN MOTHERFUCING ACTIONS is becoming the mantra of this country.

Posted by: Billy at November 5, 2004 11:57 AM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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