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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Spurlock

Monday, June 15, 2009

Inspiring Minds Monday ~ Spurlock

Last Thursday I talked a little bit about Morgan Spurlock and said that he was worth talking about later on down the road. Well, it's later and as I was traveling down the road I saw Morgan hitchhiking so I decided to pick him up. That last sentence was completely metaphorical for those of you who are still thinking to yourself "Duh, what?"

I've never been interested in watching documentaries until I watched Super Size Me. The thing I like about Morgan's documentaries besides the humor is the fact that he brings some issues that are generally unknown to light and encourages people to think differently about what they think they already know. His documentaries for the most part remain unbiased, in other words, he's has his opinion on things but he doesn't try to get other people to think like him. When he did Super Size Me, he wasn't out to shut down McDonald's and the other fast food restaurants. He was simply spreading awareness of what's out there and what can happen to you if you're careless with your diet.

I've seen three of Morgan's documentaries and I look forward to see what he has in store for the future. I'm going to talk about each of the documentaries I've seen.

The first one I saw, of course, was Super Size Me. Morgan documents himself eating nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days straight. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He made a rule that if the cashier asked him if he wanted to Super Size his meal then he had to say yes. He also made a rule that he had to try everything on the menu at least one time. Not all in one day of course, but throughout the 30 days, and he could not eat anything but McDonald's food.

He spoke with his doctor before doing this and he was strongly advised not to go through with it. But he went through with it anyway. By the end of the first day he became sick. Blah.

This documentary wasn't just about him eating McDonald's for thirty days. Morgan approached the public school systems and learned that many times the schools will buy very unhealthy food to serve in the cafeteria just to save money. Not to mention all the soda and snack machines that are found in schools. Some schools though have gotten rid of the soda and snack machines and have a much healthier food selection in the cafeterias. They found that students perform much better in these schools, mentally and physically. He interviewed some people, including Don Gorske, a tall, skinny, lanky, Guinness World Record holding, Big Mac enthusiast who has eaten well over 23,000 Big Macs since 1972. That averages out to 2 Big Macs per day. That guy must have some kind of freakish metabolism, but the one thing he never does is order the fries.

Don Gorske

By the end of the experiment, Morgan gained 24 pounds, a 13% body mass increase, and suffered from mood swings, sexual dysfunction, and liver damage. It took him 14 months to recover and get back to his original state of health.


The second documentary I saw is called "What Would Jesus Buy?" Morgan didn't star in this one but he produced it. The star of this documentary is a character named Reverend Billy. And he is quite a character.

Reverend Billy is the stage name and character created by activist Bill Talen. He takes on the persona of Reverend Billy and goes out with his crew "The Church of Life After Shopping" formerly known as "The Church of Stop Shopping" He looks like the stereotypical TV Evangelist with the big hair, even bigger mouth, and the attire to go along with it. Even though I don't agree with all of Reverend Billy's tactics, I do appreciate his attempts to make consumers aware of what major corporations and mass media are up to. Reverend Billy and the Church of Life After Shopping also bring up issues such as economic justice, environmental protection, sweatshops, and the Iraq war.

Overall, I like the character Reverend Billy. I think he's misunderstood because many people think he's just another crazy street preacher and don't realize it's just a character. He has a great message to share about consumerism.


The third documentary is one I mentioned last week called "Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?". Morgan stars in this one. The documentary starts out with Morgan talking about his unborn son and the dangers of this world. He figures that if he's going to make this world a safe place then he's going to have to do what the US military hasn't been able to do yet; find Osama Bin Laden and bring him to justice. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but that isn't what the film is really about.

Morgan starts out by taking a survival class in case there is a threat of danger while he travels. As he travels to different countries in the Middle East he finds that the common people of those countries are a lot like you and me. They're not all anti-American. In fact many people of those countries have a positive outlook on America and some just don't have an opinion about America. The ones who think America is a selfish, fat, wealthy country think that way because partially that's all they see in their news media, and partially because it's true. America makes up less than 5% of the world's population, yet consumes 25% of the world's resources.
On average, one American consumes as much energy as 2 Japanese, 6 Mexicans, 13 Chinese, 31 Indians, 128 Bangladeshis, 307 Tanzanians, or 370 Ethiopians. (Those last few facts were not covered in the documentary but I wanted to throw those in there.)

Throughout the documentary Morgan askes random people where Osama is. Nobody knows and almost all of the people he askes could care less about Osama and they don't want to have anything to do with him. Many other people he interviewed basically said that Bin Laden's fundamentalist view of the Islamic faith is way off and that people who follow the true Islamic faith are very peaceful people and do not try to kill or hurt others that do not follow Islam.

But like I said before, it's only the extremists and the wackos of a particular group that make it onto our television sets. It almost seems the thing that has happened with Islam in the Middle East is the same thing that has happened with Christianity in America. Things get distorted beyond recognition.

I won't tell you anymore about these documentaries. I suggest going out and renting these films. They're filled with humor, interesting facts, and things that will make you aware of what's going on in this world. Plus, you've gotta love that handlebar mustache.

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