Home > 2008 books, Author of European descent, From: library, Genre: Non-fiction > 10. “Don’t Eat this Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America”, Morgan Spurlock

10. “Don’t Eat this Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America”, Morgan Spurlock

December 29, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, this book got me thinking, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, a lot of that thinking what about how annoying Spurlock’s writing style is. I found him quirky and personable in “Supersize Me”, but that was just two hours of him. I was with this book for much longer, and his verbal tics (affixing the prefix “Mc” before things to mock them, refering to Dr. Atkins as “Fatkins”, his tendency to imitate Homer Simpson’s “Mmm, ______ _______” in the face of barely-edible objects) really got to me. Really. Got to me. I also never managed to figure out what the purpose of his grey boxes were.

I also was nagged by a frequent feeling that this book was not as well-researched as it should have been. Other blogs have tackled some of these problems on a case-by-case basis, but I felt that he was making a lot of heavy allegations with very few citations. And it may just be the academic snob in me, but I found his use of endnotes really irritating. Not only were they endnotes, which are inconvenient, but he didn’t use superscript numbers, which would signal the less-critical reader that not everything was the pure, unadulterated fact that it might seem. We don’t cite the assertion “the sky is blue”, but if we are writing a quasi-academic work and say “the sky is blue because of cow farts”, we should probably cite that. The apparent lack of citation may signal to some people that everything Spurlock is saying is as well-accepted and uncontroversial as he makes it seem. He also cites Wikipedia at one point. Which, come on.

I’m also pretty concerned that reading this book caused me to teach at McDonald’s twice. Over two days. That’s more fast food than I usually eat in two or three months.

As a total sap, I was of course really excited about the positive reactions so many students, teachers, and school districts had to eliminating the junk in their cafeterias and vending machines. The school at which I did my student teaching had open campus, which means that if a student had a free block or it was lunch or break, they were allowed to leave school. Within one block of the school, there are two gas station convenience stores, one CVS, a Domino’s, a wings place, a taqueria, and a McDonald’s. Within two blocks, there was also a Burger King. Within a third, there was a Dunkin’ Donuts, another pizza place, 7-11, another McDonald’s, and another taqueria. Needless to say, I saw much of what Spurlock describes. Students would come back wired. They weren’t allowed to eat in my class, but that didn’t make a difference. The damage was done. One double period block, I ran into the teacher’s lounge during break to grab some water. We had had a really amazing class so far (they were debating about Amendments! Spontaneously!) and I made the horrible mistake of telling another teacher how awesomely my kids were doing. Fifteen minutes later, they were back from break and I was on the verge of losing my voice and my temper.

Most students at my school (about 60%) qualify for free or reduced lunch, but hardly any use it. The food is nasty, and, if it’s anything like my own high school’s food, probably not much healthier. There was a minor revolt in my high school when they started selling fried chicken patties and pizza only one or two days a week, while in my middle school the baked potato and salad bars were incredibly popular (not for the best of reasons, mind. Most of us were loading out potatoes with sour cream and bacon, and eating the iceberg lettuce in an attempt to lose weight.)

Obviously this book got me thinking a lot. I’ve leave you with one last thing to chew on. Evidently, there is a McDonald’s in Dachau, Germany, within two miles of the concentration camp. When it first opened, McDonald’s put fliers under the windshields of people at the Camp.

Page count: 284 Total: 4839
Started 23 December?, finished 29 December

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