Don't Consume Junk TV

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Morgan Spurlock was big last year. Literally. He made himself fat and famous by overeating and not exercising. By doing that only at McDonald's and making a film out of it, he tried to make the case that it was fast food, not his absurd consumption and inactivity, that was to blame. But people like Soso Whaley and Chazz Weaver showed why this is not the case.

All too often, ideology gets in the way of sound science. We have long suspected this was the case with Morgan Spurlock and Super Size Me. His new show 30 Days, which premiered last night on the FX channel, provides plenty of confirmation for this concern.

In his new show, he spends thirty days living on minimum wage, trying to make the political case that the marketplace is unfair to minimum-wage workers. (It is easy to be compelling when you're the writer and the sympathetic subject.)

Yesterday's New York Times review of 30 Days hit the nail on the head when it said "Without [Spurlock's] humility, the show could have felt like a version of Wife Swap larded with rhetoric from the website." Strip away that veneer of humility, and even the Times would have to admit the show is trash combined with heavy-handed political advocacy.

That brings us back to Super Size Me. Spurlock himself has said, "Getting this film into every school in America is a priority of mine" and has addressed school children about the issues raised in the film. If schools really want to educate kids about nutrition instead of subjecting them to an unopposed political rant, how about having actual scientists and doctors address them instead of an expanding and contracting activist?

Jeff Stier, Esq., is an associate director of the American Council on Science and Health, the staff of which has produced publications such as Toxic Terror that criticize excessive health scares.

Related links:

30 Day McDiet: Results Are In (from TechCentralStation)
A Diet to Go (from the Eagle Tribune)
A Supersized Distortion