October 27, 2004

Big McDumbass

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L ast night, Morgan Spurlock, the Extra Value Meal-pounding Michael Moore impersonator and wannabe-documentarian responsible for Super Size Me came to Cornell to provide a lecture on his film. And in the wake of this event, I am left begging one eternal question.


Why, Cornell, did you bring this fool to our fine institution? I’m sure that you wasted a good portion of my tuition doing it, since any egomaniac like Spurlock would never speak for free. Maybe you should have watched his film first before reaching into your wallet. And why, why couldn’t you have waited and brought a real filmmaker with an IQ higher than the price of a five-piece McNugget?

For those of you who don’t already know, Spurlock thought it would be a brilliant idea to shove his face full of McDonald’s for every meal over a thirty-day period and record it all on video. The end result was — get this — that he gained almost 30 pounds and suffered near liver failure.

Wow, someone give this man the Nobel Prize. Absofuckinglutely brilliant.

Thank you, Mr. Spurlock, for alerting us to the health risks of eating deep-fried white flour and double cheeseburgers. Why, if it weren’t for you, Americans may have very well gone on eating McDonald’s for every single meal like they always did!

Spurlock, you are a dumbass, and whatever health complication you got from your 90-minute self-promotion disguised as a documentary, you deserved. Look, just because cameras exist does not mean that you are allowed to use one. Film is a privilege, not a right. But I do thank you, because your film made one of the strongest cases in years for the sterilization of stupid people.

Why did it ever occur to you that eating nothing but McDonald’s was an even remotely intelligent or original notion? Christ, if you ate bananas at every meal for thirty days you’d probably die of dehydration from extreme diahrrea. Eating anything for every meal is unhealthy and stupid, so all that you did was rehash a redundant notion. Shit, I should have thought of this. I could have eaten nothing but Tastycakes and people would pay me to speak to them. Kids, don’t ever doubt what a great country this is.

But aside from the inherent stupidity in its premise, Super Size Me is bad journalism at its worst. The movie is about as enjoyable as a post-McDonald’s bathroom stop.

While it opens with an interesting question of, “Where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility begin?” it spends the rest of its length completely avoiding that question. There are boundless other questions that fast food culture raises, such as why are inner-city African Americans targeted so heavily, and why do vending machines full of soda and candy bars appear in school cafeterias? Super Size Me not only sidesteps tackling these questions; it cowers in the corner from them and pisses its pants at the prospect of multisided issues. Instead of intelligent argument, we get extended sequences of Spurlock dancing around in his underwear and squeezing his growing lovehandles. Hmm … wow. Its interviews are exploitative at best, as Spurlock sneeringly hunts down obese people on the streets.

In the end, Spurlock fails triumphantly at revealing anything significant or remotely intelligible, other than that McDonald’s is bad for you. Sorry, Spurlock, but we already knew that and McDonald’s has never denied that. Actually, McDonald’s is making attempts to provide healthier alternatives, like salads, which, consequently, your film spent no time discussing at all. If Spurlock wanted to champion truth and expose the rotten conspiracies of big corporations, he missed his boat in the ’90s with tobacco. Michael Moore could honestly sue for piracy if style and tone were protected under copyright laws. And if you find Moore’s ego nauseating, Spurlock’s is about as digestible as McDonald’s attempt at seafood — the McFish.

Spurlock’s invitation to Cornell is an insult to anyone who takes film and documentaries seriously. I think that Cornell owes its film department a little better quality than this train-wreck of a speaker, since the department has some of its best and most interesting professors. If I wanted to see an idiot spew out regurgitate rhetoric and self-promotion, I’d watch The O’Reilly Factor. But somehow, I hope for more intellectual discussions from my liberal arts education than the utter lunacy of Morgan Spurlock. Ironically, his amateur approach at video journalism only emulated the very institution he had delusions of dismantling, and rendered Super Size Me no more nutritious than fast food.

Archived article by Zach Jones
Arts & Entertainment Editor