McDonald’s makes you fat? …Wow
One of the big winners at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a guy named Morgan Spurlock, who did a documentary called “Super Size Me.”
In that enlightening piece of cinematic history, we follow Morgan for 30 days as he eats nothing but McDonald’s fast food. Super-sized portions of it. Morning, noon and night.
And in the end guess what happens? That’s right, my fellow documentary lovers, Morgan gets fat. In fact, he gains a whopping 30 pounds!
Who would have thought? Eat at McDonald’s three times a day for 30 days, don’t exercise at all, and gain 30 pounds? What a revelation!
The Hollywood crowd must have been surprised. They went bananas over the film. “A work of art!” claimed some. “Masterful!” said others. “Intelligent!” crowed even more.
In an interview with CNN earlier this year, Morgan said he got the idea for the film while sitting on his mother’s couch watching television. Out of nowhere came news of a fat boy who was suing McDonald’s for allowing him to eat enough Big Macs to choke a horse.
“Those scoundrels!” shouted Morgan. “I’ll show them!”
So Morgan hatched a plan to spend the next 30 days eating nothing but Big Macs, fries, hot pies and milk shakes while filming the whole, nauseating thing Ð even the parts where he checks in with his doctor to see if his stomach is getting bigger.
“I think the film will make you think twice before you walk in and get yourself a burger and fries,” Morgan told the astonished CNN anchor.
Not me. I went to McDonald’s yesterday. But I suppose it might make someone think twice about Super Sizing themselves at McDonald’s 90 times in 30 days without exercising.
And if Hollywood thinks that’s something the American public needs to be reminded of, Morgan delivered.
And maybe Americans are dumber than I thought. Which may explain the need for warning labels on blow dryers that state: DO NOT USE WHILE SLEEPING. Or … why American Airlines felt the need to put instructions on a packet of nuts that reads: OPEN PACKET, EAT NUTS.
“I tell you what,” Morgan the filmmaker said to the CNN interviewer. “I’m very proud of this movie. We all worked so hard to make this. We came in wanting to make something that would somehow make a difference. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. But underneath it all, there is a very strong message that I’m very proud of.”
We’re left wondering what that message is. I’d guess it might be: “The fat kid is right! McDonald’s makes people fat and we need to stand up and say enough is enough!”
Or perhaps it’s this: “Every ambulance-chasing lawyer should buy this film as clear evidence that three Big Macs, three Super-sized bags of fries, three deep-fat fried hot apple pies and three milk shakes a day with no exercise actually does cause obesity, and you should sue some fast-food chain now!”
A columnist named Chuck Muth recently suggested that the film has “government do-gooders jumping on the bandwagon looking for Big Brother to begin clamping down on what kids can and cannot eat.”
It’s always about “the kids,” isn’t it?
“We have a god-given right to eat Big Macs!” wrote Muth. “And that’s the point. Whether we eat at Mickey D’s or serve Kraft macaroni and cheese at home, it should be our choice, not Uncle Sam’s.”
I wish he hadn’t mentioned the macaroni and cheese. I was raised on it and I, in turn, have tried to do the same for my children. It’s the greatest food ever invented. Even better than Hamburger Helper.
So … as I was sitting on my mother’s couch eating chips and watching television, I thought of Hollywood. “If they loved the fat guy’s film, I wonder what they’d think of this idea!” I said to myself.
“Dear Hollywood Dumb-Dumbs,” I began in a letter of introduction. “I read somewhere that you guys love documentaries proving the obvious. You know … guy films himself living with giant crocodiles in Africa and ends up being eaten … or the one about the kid who loves crack cocaine, sticks it up his nose every 10 minutes for a year and eventually dies … or the recent one about the guy who ate 90 Big Macs in 30 days and films himself throwing up in his back seat … Well … have I got an idea for you!
“How about I film myself eating nothing but yogurt for … I don’t know … let’s say 24 months. I exercise 100 times per day, stopping only to eat more … that’s right … yogurt. Then … and get this … at the end of 24 months I film myself trying to squeeze through the lion cage bars at the local zoo while weighing … let’s see … maybe 60 pounds or so. The lion either eats me on camera (which would be very cool, depending on the camera angle and lighting) … or takes one look at my 60-pound frame and tosses me out (which might even be cooler). What do you think? That might put Sundance on its ear, don’t you think? And the message … that’s the beautiful part … here it is … you can’t live on yogurt alone, and don’t climb into a lion’s cage with no meat on your ribs.
“I anxiously await your thumbs-up on this project. I think we have a big hit on our hands.”
Jeff Ackerman is the publisher of The Union newspaper in Grass Valley.
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