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“Supersize Me” Response By Jack Palmer The documentary Supersize Me created by Morgan Spurlock investigates whether the fast food chain, McDonalds, is contributing to obesity in America because of the food it serves. Spurlock’s thesis for the documentary poses the interesting question, “Will eating only McDonalds food for 30 days cause obesity or negatively impact my health?” Throughout the film, Spurlock carefully uses several techniques such as logos, ethos and pathos to persuade his audience that a diet consisting strictly of McDonalds food can make a person really sick in a variety of significant ways. Spurlock’s effective use of the logos technique in Supersize Me presents logical, factual information to viewers in order to convince them not to eat fast food. For example, Spurlock presents the statistic that 25% of the American public eats fast food everyday!! This is a huge number of people and when Spurlock combines that factual statistic with a series of graphic pictures of different obese people, the audience immediately realizes the serious health risks of eating fast food. In the documentary we also learn that there are 40,000 obesity-related deaths per year in the United States and 46 million Americans, more than the entire population of Spain, eat McDonalds food once a day! These alarming statistics work well to show the viewer that our society is facing a major obesity problem that could be caused by eating too much fast food. Spurlock also uses ethos to prove his thesis. Ethos, meaning ethical, is the effort to establish trust with the viewer so that the documentary is convincing. In my opinion, the best example of the use of ethos is when Spurlock asks random people on the street to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Most of them don’t know all the words to the pledge but they can accurately recite the Big Mac slogan song! How sad that the stupid fast food culture can be more significant in Americans’ lives than the oath of loyalty to our country!! Spurlock also convinces me to trust the results of his “McDiet” by showing us his before and after checkups with his doctor. Before the diet, he weighed 185 lbs with 11% body fat while after the diet, he tipped the scale at 210 lbs and had 18% body fat. An additional example of ethos is the lawyer’s statement when representing the two obese girls in their suit against McDonalds. The lawyer says that McDonalds food is actually addicting and Spurlock reinforces this theory in the film because his personal experience shows us that by the second week he is not feeling good from eating all the fatty McDonalds food but his body’s cravings for it can only be satisfied by eating more of the very food that is making him sick. This is a vicious, addictive cycle! The final technique that Spurlock uses in Supersize Me is pathos which appeals to people’s emotions. I thought the film spoke best to the emotions of fear and sadness. I felt afraid when Spurlock called his mom to tell her that his liver was being destroyed by his McDiet. His mom’s voice on the phone was very worried and it made me understand the emotional pain that families have to endure when trying to help an obese relative. Spurlock also uses the emotion of disgust by continuing to eat his big yogurt parfait even though he finds a giant black hair in it. A final example of pathos is the recurring shots of Ronald McDonald. In the beginning of the film, Ronald looks like an innocent, cheerful clown but he gradually transforms into an evil, scary clown. I think this shows that McDonalds “Happy Meals” are not really happy or healthy!! Before I watched Supersize Me, I ate fast food once in a while on car trips but I knew it wasn’t good for me. I just thought there was no alternative. After watching this film I definitely feel much more educated about the fast food industry and how it can really change your life or even end it. Morgan Spurlock used the three techniques of logos, ethos and pathos to present a convincing argument on the dangers of a fast food diet. However, his most persuasive and memorable technique for me was pathos because I felt really sad for the people who innocently got sucked into the fast food eating cycle in an addicting way that is as harmful as being a slave to cigarettes or drugs. After viewing this film, I think fast foods are addicting and I think it is irresponsible of the fast food chains to ignore that fact. This type of food is threatening people’s health and although there are regulations placed on the sale of cigarettes to minors, there are no restrictions put on the sale of fast food to kids. That makes no sense to me! Knowledge is power and I say thank you to Morgan Spurlock because I think his documentary Supersize Me will save the health of many people by presenting factual, reliable and emotional information on the dangers of fast food. I know I will never look at a Big Mac in the same way again!
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