Dont Eat This Book by Morgan Spurlock: Lightweight But Convincing Expose of the Fast Food Industry


For those of you who've been on another planet for the past year or so, Morgan Spurlock is a filmaker who spent an entire month eating nothing but McDonald's food and filming the decline in his health, expanding waistline and other alarming consequences of this damaging diet.

The result was the gripping documentary, Super Size Me, which earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination.

Don't Eat This Book, although an obvious offshoot of the film, is a worthy project in its own right, with plenty to offer Spurlock fans and newbies alike.

If you've seen the movie, you'll appreciate the behind the scenes perspectives revealed in Don't Eat This Book. But the main thrust of the book should appeal to anyone with an interest in the fast food industry and its role in modern society. Certainly, if you're a parent or teacher who cares what children eat, you should own this book.

The title - Don't Eat This Book - is a spoof on the warning labels emblazoned on virtually every US product.

The warnings are aimed at warding off court cases from the kinds of people people not only stupid enough to put their hands into a whirring grass cutter or to mistake silcone gel sneaker inserts for mints, but also shameless enough to blame the manufacturer for their ensuing, and well-deserved, misfortune.

Spurlock has no time for such frivilous litigation. But he convincingly argues that such cases are very different from the kinds of class actions being pursued against giant tobacco and food companies.

It should be obvious to anyone but the most brain dead that putting your hand into a power mower's blades is bad for you. But until recently it was not so obvious that cigarettes and fast food were bad for you.

For decades tobacco companies hid evidence that their product was a health hazard, cunningly designed to be addictive. At the same time they spent staggering amounts of money on marketing to create the image that cigarettes were "cool".

With the success of the initial tobacco class actions, attitudes began to change.

As Spurlock points out, "Suddenly it was apparent that sticking a cigarette in your mouth was not quite the same thing as sticking those sneaker mints in your mouth. No one spent billlions and billions of dollars in marketing, advertising and promotions telling that guy those sneaker mints would make him cool, hip and sexy. Big Tobacco did exactly that to smokers."

He spends much of the rest of Don't Eat This Book building a similarly damning case against the fast food industry.

The parallels are inescapable. Fast food chains like McDonalds spend billions on convincing kids that eating their unhealthy, fattening products will make you popular and cool.

Their "Super Size" policy, cynically designed to prey on the natural human instinct to get value for money, is roundly criticised, with the author's own experience in filming Super Size Me serving as chief witness for the prosecution.

And if it wasn't hard enough to keep your kids from eating junk food outside of school, there's the growing trend of fast food chains to offer funds to cash-strapped schools in exchange for branding and advertising opportunities. In several cases, fast food chains have even set up shop inside school cafeterias.

Thankfully, all is not doom and gloom. Spurlock heaps praise on schools that provide healthy, local food in their cafeterias. He also provides advice and a list of resources for parents and teachers seeking to turn the tide in their own communities.

This, combined with Spurlock's casual, humorous writing style make for a quick, breezy and ultimately optimistic read. Its accessibility makes Don't Eat This Book an ideal educational tool, especially when combined with Spurlock's Super Size Me documentary.

If you prefer a more measured, investigative style of journalism, Don't Eat This Book may be a little lightweight for your liking - Eric Schlosser's brilliant Fast Food Nation will probably be more to your taste.

I'll end with one word of caution. If you do print out this review, please don't eat it. It may give you indigestion and I can't afford the lawsuit!

--------------------------------------------------

For more reviews of the best obesity books, visit www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html">http://www.obesitycures.com/obesity-books.html

Alan Cooper is a journalist with 20 year's experience and the publisher of www.ObesityCures.com">ObesityCures.com, a site with the ambitious aim of being a "one-stop-shop" for impartial information on obesity and weight loss solutions - including fad diets, prescription weightloss pills and natural weightloss aids.


MORE RESOURCES:
Since 2009 VIDA has tracked the review coverage of major print publications to analyze how many women and gender minorities are represented.

For the 2017 VIDA Count, they looked at 15 major print publications over the course of the year. Even though many, if not all of the publications also have an online presence, they only counted the reviews in the print versions because it is "too easy to confine women, gender minorities, and other marginalized writers to cost-effective web platforms, which frequently pay differently (or don't pay at all), compared to their print counterparts."

Of the 15 publications, only 2 published 50% or more women writers: Granta (53.5%) and Poetry (50%).

Five had women representing between 40% and 49.9% of their total publication: Harper's, The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review and Tin House.

The majority, 8 out of 15 publications, failed to publish enough women writers to make up even 40% of their publication's run in 2017: Boston Review, London Review of Books, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, and The Times Literary Supplement.

The New York Review of Books had the most pronounced gender disparity with only 23% of published writers who are women but it was close to gender parity in terms of contributors, with 47% women.

Renowned surgeon and best-selling author Atul Gawande will lead a major new company aimed at reducing health-care costs, a joint venture by Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway.

The company, which will be based in Boston, was announced in January with a mission to use technology to make health care more transparent, affordable and simple for the companies' more than 1 million employees.

Gawande, a Harvard physician and writer for the New Yorker magazine, has written on issues at the core of American health care, including why it is so expensive and how to improve end-of-life care. He will take charge July 9.

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigation has cleared author and creative writing professor Junot Díaz to return to the classroom for the fall semester. The Associated Press reported that "the inquiry into Díaz's actions toward female students and staff yielded no information that would lead to restrictions on Díaz's role as a faculty member at the university in Cambridge."

Oxford University Press is asking members of the public to submit local words, phrases and expressions from around the world for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary:

"Whether you're in Manchester, Mumbai, Manila, or Massachusetts, the OED would like to hear from you. Please use the form below to tell us about the words and expressions which are distinctive to where you live or where you are from. We're looking forward to reading your suggestions."

After writing novels on artificial intelligence, neuroscience and genetics, Powers' has turned to trees with The Overstory. While on a hike through the Great Smoky Mountains, he talks to The Guardian about environmentalism and not having children.

Seattle officials repealed a corporate "head tax" on Tuesday "that they had wholeheartedly endorsed just a month ago, delivering a win for the measure's biggest opponent--Amazon--and offering a warning to cities bidding for the retailer's second headquarters that the company would go to the limit to get its way," the New York Times reported. The tax would have raised about $50 million a year to help the homeless and fund affordable housing projects in a city where the homeless population is the third largest in the country, after New York City and Los Angeles.

Amazon has come under fire for removing reviews from its online book listings, with some customers having had all their reviews removed or being blocked from posting further reviews on Amazon.

Authors, bloggers and publishers have criticized the development, with many sharing their frustration through the #giveourreviewsback hashtag. Amazon has blamed temporary "technical issues".

Mike McCormack has won the International Dublin literary award for his novel Solar Bones.

The judges hailed it as "formally ambitious, stylistically dauntless and linguistically spirited". It is written in a single sentence that flows over 270-odd pages, and spans a single day: All Souls' Day, when, according to superstition, the dead can return to the land of the living. Solar Bones is narrated by Marcus Conway – husband, father, civil engineer, a man gripped by "a crying sense of loneliness for my family" – and a ghost, a factor that, for McCormack, explains the experimental form. ("A ghost would have no business with a full stop," he once argued. "It might fatally falter and dissipate.")

In an extensive article in the New York Times, John Kidd reports on "The Strange Case of the Missing Joyce Scholar."

Two decades ago, a renowned professor promised to produce a flawless version of one of the 20th century's most celebrated novels: "Ulysses." Then he disappeared...

Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter prize. She was hailed by Harold Pinter's widow, the biographer Antonia Fraser, as a writer who embodies "those qualities of courage and outspokenness which Harold much admired".

thatware.org ©