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Free Market Project

3/2/2006 9:59:41 AM

Updated 02/24/06
 


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‘Super Size Me’ Star Continues Anti-Food Attack; Will Also Target Religion in New Show

Morgan Spurlock overate himself into stardom and took a bite out of McDonald’s at the same time. Now he’s got a TV show, and it’s sure to be offensive.

By Amy Menefee
April 18
, 2005

     As Ronald McDonald would testify, you’d better watch yourself when Morgan Spurlock comes calling. He famously ate nothing but McDonald’s food for a month and filmed himself getting fatter and going to the doctor to get his ensuing health problems documented. The film that resulted, “Super Size Me,” was widely hailed by Hollywood and the media as serious commentary on America’s “obesity epidemic” while others criticized his film as a “lesson in why obesity lawsuits are so frivolous.”

     Like Michael Moore, Spurlock’s agenda-driven camera work has been accepted by many as “documentary.” He has two new projects furthering his anti-establishment crusade – a book and a TV show. His new book, “Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America,” comes out May 19. A Publishers Weekly review posted on Amazon.com says, “Spurlock describes America's obesity epidemic, its relation to the fast food industry, the industry's cozy relations to U.S. government agencies and how the problem is spreading worldwide.”

     Of course, obesity has no intrinsic “relation to the fast food industry,” but the media flock to connections between the two, as the Free Market Project has documented in studies such as our “Supersized Bias” and “Supersized Bias II.”

     Spurlock wrote on his blog that some people seem to think he’s “a commie pinko who is trying to steal away you [sic] right to be a fat American (which couldn’t be further from the truth … ).” He has enjoyed success in the free market and apparently would graciously allow others to do the same. Consider this a “let the buyer beware” when the food industry is taken to task – explicitly or implicitly – for the individual choices of overweight consumers. After all, Spurlock has said himself that the idea for “Super Size Me” came from a news report about an anti-McDonald’s obesity lawsuit.

     Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, wrote about Spurlock’s previous antics in a March 12, 2004, op-ed: “Spurlock recently pontificated that ‘If there's one thing we could accomplish, it is that we make people think about what they put in their mouth.’ This from a guy who once paid people to eat dog droppings.”

     Berman, who heads a nonprofit coalition of restaurants and consumers, was talking about Spurlock’s “I Bet You Will,” which aired on MTV. In that show, Spurlock paid people to eat all sorts of disgusting concoctions, including a mixture of hair and butter.

     Now Spurlock has a show debuting on the FX cable channel in June. Titled “30 Days,” it is modeled on his idea in “Super Size Me” that a person’s life can change dramatically in 30 days. The show’s pilot features a Christian insurance salesman who lives with a Muslim family for 30 days. A press release from Actual Reality Pictures, a production company working on “30 Days,” says the show will “place an individual in a living environment that is antithetical to their upbringing, beliefs, religion or profession.” Topics for the show will span ethnic, religious and economic issues, the release said. We’ll be looking for Spurlock to turn a lot more than the free market on its head in this new show. If history is any indicator, Spurlock will be pushing the envelope.

     To see Richard Berman’s op-ed about Spurlock:

 


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