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June 21, 2005

Morgan Spurlock, Idiot for Hire

It's kinda fun and kinda tedious to identify how sensible values are inverted in popular culture. Take this bonehead Morgan Spurlock who volunteers for an idiotic venture, eat the worst food you can for a month and makes a movie about it. Well, that's made him a hero among the Prius Pansies and they've bankrolled him a series. I hear he's going to pretend to be poor so he can whine at another American institution for not taking better care of him.

Of course these complaints are legitimate. After all, he is an idiot.

Fortunately for you, I have discovered Soso Whaley whose new documentary 'Debunk the Junk' shows how a person who takes responsibility and uses her brain can eat at McDonalds, lose weight and lower their cholesterol. Spread the word.

Like Wal-Mart, I almost believe that McDonalds was invented to serve poor people. They're both so cheap, ubiquitous and convenient. It's no surprise that they are co-located. Oh but wait, they are evil. Yeah, for idiots.

BTW, the new WalMart opened on 190th and Vermont last week. I went by there Saturday to pickup a graduation gift. It was absolutely packed, and they had a bouncer in the parking lot with Tupac music playing in the background. What a grand opening!

While I'm being provocative, I suppose I should go the whole nine and suggest that we return to putting Home Ec in high school curricula. The sooner we get to Borkies the better. If there's a problem with McDonalds, it's that people are too stupid to know how to eat. That's a withering criticism of our society.

Posted by mbowen at June 21, 2005 12:12 PM

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Hmm, but how many people eating at McD's are reducing their calories while doing so?

Would you honestly feed this stuff to your kids every day for 30 days?

Would you want to let McD's be *the* food choice at your children's cafeteria?

Posted by: Okolo at June 21, 2005 01:00 PM

I know you know McDonald's serves salads. I also know that McD breakfasts are exactly the same breakfasts we eat at home. I eat McD on the regular but I just don't eat the french fries, and I just don't drink soda in general. I always have a choice at McD including lemonade, Dasani and Powerade, more of the same stuff in my refrigerator. There's plenty good on the menu including lots of fish and chicken.

I know some people may think of McDonalds as strictly burgers and fries, but my family is not addicted to burgers and fries.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 21, 2005 01:15 PM

If the argument is that you can eat at McDs and eat relatively
healthy, I won't argue with you.

The question (for me) is do most people who eat at McDs eat a healthy meal, and is McDs helping or hurting with this obesity problem that we are having in America?

Of course, to talk about obesity we need to talk about how exercise is being removed from our children's lives (not our you and me, but Americans) But that's another topic.

Just weighing in because while I have no opinion on his new series (below my radar as you say), I didn't think "Super Size Me" was idiotic. It showed what McDs can do to the human body, if you allow it.

And I do eat at McDs and other fast food periodically, but I try not to make a habit of it.

Although an unscientific note, at times when I "let go" and eat there more often, I usually pack on an extra 5 to 10 pounds pretty quickly. I do eat the fries however, although not currently as they are outside my training diet. But I also recognize that this extra weight could also come from a general "letting go" of any dietary restrictions, which would allow me to even eat there.

Posted by: Okolo at June 21, 2005 02:01 PM

I think most people don't exercise enough. But as a Southern Californian, I know I'm way prejudiced on that matter. So my whole critique of idiocy is broad with regards to the diets and lifestyles of the peasantry. But I am also aware that Jack LaLanne said that it almost doesn't matter what you eat if you exercise enough. So I say diet is way down the list of priorities.

Obesity, therefore, I see as a symptom of a general daintiness in our society. Ours is the society that says kids can't ride bikes without helmets or go play pickup sports without adult supervision.

All our food is good, it's just wasted on a bunch of literal lazy fatheads.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 21, 2005 02:57 PM

The man has taken what he has done and is managing to make a career out of it.

He's not an idiot. He's doing good marketing.

Spill the haterade.

Posted by: DarkStar at June 21, 2005 04:08 PM

I'm w/ Cobb on this one. Unless we're talking about elite level athletes, physical activity trumps diet all the time. Coming from a background in weight classification sports, I'm trying to tell you -- the obesity problem is not so much about what we're eating as the fact that we eat and don't do too much else. We, in large part, sit down on the job, sit down at the crib, sit down in the car...who won't put on weight or get sick or whatever else following that routine?

Although I agree w/ D* that you can't really knock dude's hustle, I think it's just as important to recognize that it is, in fact, a hustle.

Posted by: avery [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2005 06:43 AM

Huh. I thought you'd be all for what Morgan Spurlock has done; his scheme is the quintessential American way, right? Simplify, repackage and market like hell? Y'know, what McDonald's itself has done? He's made a fortune out of what amounts to a flyweight version of Fast Food Nation, mostly based on impeccable timing. Whatever else may be said about him, he's no idiot.

The "idiot factor" comes in when folks think he's actually done something radical. Anyway, I don't think his "spring break as a poor person" is going to go over very well; Barbara Ehrenreich has already done it.

Posted by: La Lubu at June 22, 2005 10:28 AM

Ave, Cobb's point about it being a hustle is true, but, nothing new.

Posted by: DarkStar at June 22, 2005 02:48 PM

Diet *and* exercise are important.

A holistic approach to health would include both of those, as well as psychological aspects like stress, and even things like environment.

Ignore the other factors if you wish.


Posted by: Okolo at June 22, 2005 04:03 PM

Okolo, agreed that diet and exercise are both important, as are those other elements you mentioned, but I think that exercise trumps them all to a certain extent. A major component of the obesity problem is the fact that we live in a sedentary society. That, and the time cost of food.

Posted by: avery [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2005 05:21 PM

I personally don't think arguments over which one is the greatest factor are terribly relevant. The current problem I agree is caused to the greatest degree by our sedentary lifestyles, but what we eat (the amount of processed foods, and sugar, and other junk) as well as the portions we have become accustomed to are also huge problems. (I'm not going to argue over which is greater, they all are problems, they all should be addressed)

Just as an example, I've been exercising very (very) hard for the past 9 weeks. For the first 8 of those weeks I didn't really watch what I ate. Generally speaking I tried to eat healthier, but I paid no concern to the quantities of the food I was eating. I ate until I was just about full, 3 meals a day. I didn't lose a pound. Yes, I've gained some muscle and lost some fat, but not a pound was lost.

This past week I finally decided I need to cut the calories. I've already lost 5 1/2 pounds in just a week.

The exercise alone wasn't going to get my BMI (or weight) down.

Cutting calories has. (and changing slightly what I eat)


Posted by: Okolo at June 22, 2005 06:44 PM

But are we living longer because we are slim? Are soldiers slim?

The ability to perform athletic skills or any particular function depends on training the body for that task. I wonder the extent to which our ideas about body image and shape are actually true. Not because of self-esteem issues or anything like that, but just for the sake of truth.

Take a soldier fzample. If you train to be an Army Ranger, capable of running 15 miles in an hour with a 70pound pack on your back, you are definitely not going to look like a Kenyan marathoner. And a superhero body doesn't make you a better stud in bed. Likewise, I don't believe that an absence of love handles is what gets you to live to be 86. If you want to look good in an Italian suit, that's one body style that completely doesn't work in a sack suit, and your intelligence and class is certainly judged.

So I'm ready to throw out a lot of advice on diet and exercise, not because I'm against 'lookism', but because I think the truth is being abused. As somebody who has seen 250 pound capoeria dancers do some incredible things, and 300+ pound weightlifters do the splits...

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 22, 2005 09:37 PM

Generally speaking, slimmer people do live longer than obese people. With that new study you posted, there is now a lot of gray area in the middle with people who are slightly over-weight, but many studies have confirmed that being 50-100-200 pounds overweight is (generally speaking) not healthy.

Soldiers thin? Hmm, most of the folks I see, the "typical marine look" is pretty darn thin, yes. Very little body fat. I guess you'd need to define thin. Is it petite stature, or lack of fat, or something else?

There are many different topics running through this little discussion.

Obesity - Is it unhealthy?
Diet - Its link to Obesity.
Exercise - The Importance.
Exercise - Lack of it cause Obesity?
Health - How are diet, obesity, and exercise (and other factors) related to health?
Fat vs Muscle - How do we define "thin" or ideal body weight?

Depending on which of the above you want to focus on, you can come up with very different answers.

An obese person who loses 200 pounds might still be terribly unhealthy because of poor diet, lack of exercise, 5 pack a day smoking habit, and the fact that they are an alcoholic.

An "overweight" person might likewise be much healthier than a "thin" person, for any combination of the above factors.

There is also the need to recognize that the answer for each individual might be different, a cookie cutter answer won't fit everyone.

Generally speaking I think all people can benefit from more exercise, a better diet, and more fresh air. The problems come in when trying to define "better diet." Most of us I think know what things we need to eat more of, and the things we could cut out to be a little healthier.

Lack of love handles won't get you to 86, but many studies have shown that significant extra weight certainly won't help you get there, it will be a hindrance.

Would be interesting to do a health study of ("heavy") Sumo Wrestlers and compare it to perhaps ("lighter") Kung Fu people. Wonder if it's been done. I already take for granted that Sumo Wrestlers are probably in better shape than your average person of equal size but doesn't exercise.

Okay, I'm rambling way too much. Still trying to grasp why you don't care whether the president has lied and deceived. but maybe I'll find time to put words to that later.

Need to get ready to go to the gym. :-)


Posted by: Okolo at June 23, 2005 07:40 AM