Friday, July 02, 2004

Super Size Danger from Yankee-Land

For French people wanting their anti-American prejudices to be "proven" by "documentaries", it's been a good year. Following Fahrenheit 9/11, Liberty Bound, and Le Monde selon Bush (all were lionized in Le Monde), now is the turn of Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me. In his article, Thomas Sentinel explains how "the American director warns of the dangers of food served in fast-food chains", talks of the "McDonald's chain's misdeeds" and Spurlock's self-imposed "infernal diet".

Although Sentinel admits that there is something fishy about propaganda-type films (such as this one and Michael Moore's), where an essential ingredient to the great documentary works is missing — liberty ("one of those documentaries that build a reality … nothing here occurs that has not been organized, planned, wanted … everything or almost joins in the demonstration of a thesis, with beings and places having no other reason for being on celluloid") — in the final analysis he comes down on the side of filmmakers.

In other words, what Spurlock confirms is the French (and European) certainty that the darkest, most destructive, and most insidious dangers facing the world today comes from Uncle Sam, McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Hollywood, and a mouse named Mickey. The film gives shivers, warns Sentinel.

I don't wish to defend obesity, American or otherwise, but here is a slight reality check:

(By the way, here is the movie that Disney chose to distribute instead of Fahrenheit 9/11. Don't expect to see it in French theaters, though.)

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