Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Spurlock Watch

The lonely libertarian finished reading Morgan Spurlock’s “Don’t Eat This Book: The Supersizing of America,” a few weeks ago, but it looks like Randy Balco (of the Agitator) beat me to the proverbial punch, at least as far as blogs go. His blog, Morgan Spurlock Watch, undergoes the massive task of debunking the book.

I’ll leave the individual instances of nitpicking to Balco’s very excellent blog. I’d rather focus on the book (and Spurlock’s famous film which inspired the book, Supersize Me) in the larger sense, as an example of some of the problems of modern liberal arguments.

1) Arguments about personal choice are countered with irrelevant attacks against the non-profit groups who argued for personal choice in the first place. Back when Supersize Me first was released, the Center For Consumer Freedom ran numerous pieces and numerous attacks against the film, precisely because they thought it was a threat to those who believe in the right of individuals to make their own dietary choices. Rather than respond to the substance of these attacks, Spurlock resorts to name calling. He tells us that The Center for Consumer Freedom is partially funded by the food and beverage industry. Well obviously the food and business industry have a stake in these issues, but that has nothing to do with the validity of the claims, which Spurlock cleverly avoids addressing.

2) An elitist and smarter than thou mentality. “Why are you eating this food!?” Spurlock practically screams at his audience. “Don’t you know you’re eating the nutritional equivalent of toxic waste!?” Millions of people choose to eat McDonald’s everyday, but the story that Spurlock tells leads the reader to believe that all of these millions must be ignorant to the consequences of their actions. After all, who would knowingly eat toxic waste?

3)The book is a polemic without offering any solutions whatsoever. Do we need Spurlock to tell us that McDonalds isn’t healthy? No, we all know that. Do we need Spurlock to tell us that too much McDonalds might kill us? No, we already know that too. Spurlock doesn’t want to come right out and argue for government regulation and lawsuits against the food industry, but what else can we expect from a man who practically accuses the fast food industry of deliberately poisoning the American people.


Blogger Kerry said...

Funny you mentioned this when I mentioned the 50% tax the Australian Government is planning to put on fast foods such as McDonalds in my last email.

I think you'd have to be living under a rock to assume McDonalds is nutritional. And it's not only the American people who are being knowingly poisoned by the food, it's all the other people in all the other countries of the world too.

Personal choice is always the most important factor when it comes to food, and I think banning the food altogether would be an inadequate solution. Education is the key here I think. Regardless of whether McDonalds is around, if someone chooses to be unhealthy, they will do so anyway. There are many ways to be unhealthy, and eating McDonalds is just one of those ways. People need more motivation to eat nutritional foods and exercise.

The 50% tax on the fast food is a good idea though I think, because just as cigarettes have been made more difficult to purchase over the last decade, I think fast food should also be more difficult to purchase for that exact reason.


1:47 AM  

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