catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 3, Num 17 :: 2004.10.22 — 2004.11.04


An expanding trend

On Friday, October 8, 2004, Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill banning civil lawsuits that allege that a food corporation is liable for making people obese. The representative who initiated the bill did so because he believes that people should take personal responsibility for their eating habits.

It was in response to two such lawsuits that Morgan Spurlock set out to create the film Supersize Me

, a documentary about what happens to his body when he commits to eat meals from McDonald?s three times a day for thirty days. From the early excruciating experience of his first super-sized meal to later fears about liver failure, the film takes viewers on a journey not just of one person?s experience, but of our collective habits of poor and over-indulgent eating.

Spurlock?s image of food in the United States contrasts dramatically with a biblical perspective of food. It?s hard to imagine the sacred symbolism of broken bread and shared wine translating into a meaningful act today. Thankfully our churches have succeeded in preserving the tradition of communion, but the weightiness of sharing a meal is lost on too many people. A miraculous act of nourishment has been largely co-opted by rampant instant gratification.

Though it doesn?t address the spiritual aspects of food, Supersize Me is strong on both story and statistics as Spurlock travels around the country to talk with expert nutritionists, physicians, and everyday eaters. While it presents a rather grim picture of our overall culinary direction, hope can be found both inside and outside the film—my housemate tells me that Wendy?s now offers mandarin oranges as an alternative to fries. It may be just a coincidence, but I believe Spurlock?s worthwhile film has played an important role in bringing a quiet crisis to the forefront of national conversation.

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