Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Super Size Me

Directed by Morgan Spurlock

Super Size Me is a humorous portrayal of the fast food industry as seen from the eyes of somebody who decides to eat nothing but McDonalds for a month in order to test the claim that Big Macs can be part of a healthy diet.

The movie is of course easy to criticize from a libertarian perspective, because after all who really gains besides lawyers when a fat person sues McDonalds? But I have two thoughts, one critical and one sympathetic.

First, note that Spurlock borrows a technique from Michael Moore, one that I detest: assume that everyone (except me) is dumb and that a wise Leviathan (controlled by people like me) should tell others what to do, for their own good. His vegan girlfriend is somehow wiser and just plain better than the poor sops in the plebian underclass who stupidly eat everything that the Fast Food industry shoves down their throats. Thank goodness we're so much better than they are. In fact, let me get a camera and through the magic of selective takes, I will prove that they are stupid and I am wise. It never occurs to him that these people may legitimately value things differently than he does. America as a whole is an amazing and wonderful place; the same thing that gives us McDonalds gives us a democracy that is the envy of the world, so pick on it at your peril.

On the other hand, what if somehow we had a society where fresh fruits and vegetables were emphasized as much as fast food? I personally would love it if there were a variety of great-tasting, fresh, healthy foods everywhere. Is there some way to engineer society to make that happen, in the same way that judicious zoning laws, though seemingly anti-libertarian, can make a city more liveable?

No comments: