Super Size Me
Documentary director Morgan Spurlock features as the guinea pig in this film about the fast food industry. Inspired by America’s obesity epidemic, he goes on a diet of McDonald’s three times a day for thirty days straight in order to examine the effects of fast food consumption on the body and mind. The effects of the trial are harrowing: His body mass increases by 13%, his cholesterol levels skyrocket, fat accumulates in his liver, and he experiences mood swings and loss of libido. Super Size Me will completely change the way you think about eating and living.
Super Size Me accomplishes the feat of being both entertaining and horrifying. It investigates how the fast food culture in American schools, corporations and politics is driving nationwide obesity. In between meals, Spurlock drives across the country and interviews a host of health and nutrition experts, lawyers, school workers, and a surprisingly trim man who has eaten over 19,000 Big Macs yet maintains a healthy cholesterol level. We also meet an industry lobbyist who states that consumers need to be educated about nutrition and perplexingly proclaims that “we’re part of the problem and part of the solution”.
The film investigates the industry’s political lobbying and advertising campaigns. We learn about some of the disturbing strategies McDonald’s uses to acquire customers. It is particularly effective at getting children hooked at an early age through mediums they love, such as birthday parties, toys, clowns and playgrounds. In certain areas, the McDonald’s playground is the only one the community has. In one of the most shocking scenes of Super Size Me, Spurlock shows pictures of Jesus, George Washington and Ronald McDonald to a group of first graders, and Ronald is the only one that all of them can identify.
Spurlock is a likeable host, both witty and engaging. Despite his criticism of the fast food industry, he does not place the blame solely on corporations, and at one point asks the rhetorical question of where personal responsibility stops and corporate responsibility begins. Towards the end of the experiment, he is a changed man. The exuberant and healthy host we meet at the beginning of the film has transformed into a puffy, weary and depleted man. He has experienced first-hand the damaging effect of junk food on the nation. All in all, Super Size Me is a fascinating and informative insight into the fast food industry and its link to the American obesity epidemic.
Euroskepticism Nations Conflicts
* europeanleadershipnetwork.org/ – Emergency exit for Moldova. Moldova should be, as highlighted by World Bank representative to Moldova Alex Kramer, the ‘tiger’ economy of Europe. But this is not the case. Moldova is predicted to have entered recession in the second half of 2015, with foreign direct investment and government expenditure tumbling.At the heart of Moldova’s travails is endemic corruption, a virus that has thoroughly infected politics and business (although the distinction between the two is often vague). The most spectacular example of this is the theft of $1 billion from three Moldovan banks, the details of which have yet to be fully understood. The uncovering of this scandal brought thousands of protestors onto the streets of Chisinau and the arrest of former Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat in the chamber of the Moldovan parliament. This forms only a part of the political turmoil engulfing the country, with the ruling coalition beset by resignations and infighting.
* ecfr.eu/article/ – Where is Poland headed? Unlike Hungary, Poland has a strong middle class that will not be patronised and doesn’t have a neo-fascist right comparable to Jobbik. The processes of social renewal that Law and Justice is naively trying to undo have brought irreversible change to large parts of the population. After two months of the present government, 50 percent of Poles are concerned about the state of democracy, while only 30 percent are satisfied with the government’s work. Their protests are not going to subside and will not be stifled easily, should Law and Justice continue on its present course. It will require a great effort from citizens and the opposition for this mobilisation to persist and culminate in political power, but the fact that Kaczyński is misconceiving his mandate and in parts misusing it may cost him dearly in the next four years, and maybe sooner than we think.
* strategic-culture.org – Poland+Ukraine=Restitution. Kresy Wschodnie or Kresy (“Eastern Borderlands”, or “Borderlands”) is a term that refers to the eastern lands that formerly belonged to Poland. These territories today lie in western Ukraine, western Belarus, as well as eastern Lithuania. In the interbellum, the term Kresy roughly equated with the lands beyond the Curson line, suggested in December 1919 by the British Foreign Office as the eastern border for Poland. After the 1919-1921 war between Poland and the Soviet Russia Kresy became Polish. In September 1939, these territories were incorporated into the Soviet Union. Even though Kresy, or the Eastern Borderlands, are no longer Polish territories, the area is still inhabited by a significant Polish minority, and the memory of a Polish Kresy is still cultivated.
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