Saturday, August 2, 2008
Super Size Me: Back for Seconds
I could watch Morgan Spurlock's "Supersize Me" every week - and doing so would probably be the best weight loss program I could put myself on. At moments, it's as much a horror film as it is a comedic documentary.
But, I think there's officially enough material out there for Morgan to release a sequel. Reports boast that the obesity epidemic in America has 'plateaued', but with the economy making fresh produce and organic food even pricier, and fast food still more readily available than Amy Winehouse's bottle opener, I don't think we're going to see a tidal shift any time soon.
So, if fast food is flourishing as the cornerstone of the American food pyramid, what happens next? Well, I hate to sound like Neal Boortz, but apparently, the government steps in. Southern L.A. has just put a ban on the addition of any new fast food chains to their neighborhoods for at least one year. This is an effort to try and lure healthier restaurants and eateries to the area, while keeping the White Castles and golden arches at bay.
Claiming a dearth of quality food in the area, they say that young people, in particular, have little choice but to turn to Jack in the Box for three squares. Of course, the fast food industry is crying foul, saying "We serve many healthy options."
Now, I trust 'Big Food' about as much as I do 'Big Oil'. Thinking our best nutritional interests take priority over shareholders' profits is like thinking The Eagles still go on tour because they 'owe it to their fans'.
However, I'm not sure federal regulation is the slippery slope we should be climbing to rectify the situation. While I'm all for the government stepping in to curb public schools (or as the right calls them, 'government schools') from serving nothing but colas, french fries, and pizza slices to kids, the fact is, the fast food places are on the free market, and if the fat-ass public wants 'em, it's our funeral.
Of course, when fresh produce is outrageously priced, but you can get a Hardee's Triple Stack Arterial Death Burger for $1.49, most folks are gonna go for the meal/cardiac on a bun rather than get out the debit card to piece together something nutritious.
We saw this in Puerto Rico. Fresh veggies and fruit are scarce there, save the few items they grow locally (bananas and mangoes are plentiful), but in San Juan, it resembles Times Square, with fast food at every juncture. Of course, in Vieques you could buy a freshly cooked chicken right on the sidewalk, but I always got the suspicion they were just selling the loser of the previous night's cock fight, and really, who wants to eat the Apollo Creed of poultry?
In a perfect world, every neighborhood would have a Farmer's Market, or at least a bodega, but that's economically unfeasible, so instead, we have to resort to things like limiting the big burger establishments from overtaking neighborhoods.
This quandary continues to intrigue me, so I hope Mr. Spurlock is listening. Apparently, "Super Size Me" had such an influence on the industry that McDonalds actually did away with "Super Size" meals as a result of his film. A sequel might just stir the soup a bit more.
Soup...now, there's a good idea!