Tuesday, March 27, 2007

"Fast Food Nation," or Crushing Guilt


I'm depressed.

It's because of McDonald's. Well, not just McDonald's; all of the fast food industry, really. Even Taco Bell.

See, I watched Fast Food Nation last night and... yeesh... let's just say that it's not a happy movie about people working together to put out a top-quality hamburger at reasonable prices. No, it's about sadness and exploitation and there's even a guy who gets a leg chopped off and, at the end of the movie, it doesn't magically become better. Ooooh no... because that wouldn't be how the real world works. In the end, the cycle continues and basically I now have the choice of eating only organic Bulgar wheat for the rest of my days, or just jumping out my office window right now and saving the cholesterol and shame the trouble of doing me in over the next thirty years.

And, okay, it's not like I didn't know all this horrible stuff before. I'm not stupid. Or not that stupid anyway. I generally know what's up. I even made an attempt at reading the book of Fast Food Nation back in college, though I was unsuccessful in my efforts due to the fact that it contained exactly zero pictures of naked ladies, which was all I was interested in at the time (Side Note: That hasn't really changed). Still, seeing the plight of those that are directly steamrolled by the fast food industry laid out in such a dramatic fashion really got to me; Richard Linklater wields this movie like a sword made entirely out of hard-forged Liberal guilt and, last night, he used that motherfucker to slice me open, but good.

So what now? With all these unpleasant images squatting in my brain, what do I do now? The obvious answer is, of course: Stop eating fast food and take the first steps down the road to living a better life that is made richer by not supporting a cruel, cold industry that crushes the disenfranchised under it's heels while it gleefully counts the fortunes it has made. And, were I a person who had any sort of willpower whatsoever, that's exactly what I'd do. Unfortunately, I've stated time and time again on this very blog how pathetically lazy I am and I wasn't really kidding. When I step through my office's revolving doors and out onto the street, my lunch money clutched excitedly in my hand, the McDonald's that's down the block beckons to me seductively. It promises scientifically-engineered-to-be-tasty food at prices that are sinfully low. It whispers to me of solace, of ease and comfort. It tells me lies like a beautiful Nazi spy that's only after our government's secrets.

And I am a weak, weak man. I am powerless to resist.

My soul for a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? God, I wish it weren't so. But it so is.

Yeah, I'm probably being melodramatic about what, essentially, is just a hamburger and the inherent commerce of same, but... still... it just feels so wrong. And not in the good, "making out behind the 7-11 with your girlfriend a half hour past curfew" kind of way. If that were the case, then we'd all be fine. No, these days, eating at McDonald's makes me me feel the same way that I assume other people feel after stomping a cat to death. And yet... here we are. Asking for the large fries with blood on our boots.

Look, what I'm trying to say is that Fast Food Nation was really a great movie and everyone should rent it tonight!!!


Blogger Jeff said...

Let me make sure I'm reading this correctly, Fast Food Nation is a feel good comedy, right?

You shouldn't worry so much about supporting this industry. At least living in NYC you can rest on the laurels that you don't shop at Wal-Mart, which is far more sinister than McDonalds.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Yes, it's the most delightful, heart-warming comedy that you'll find outside of a documentery on child coal-workers.

True about Wal-Mart. I know there's a movie about that, too, but I'm afraid to see it.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

Caring about stuff like this is one of the reasons I'm broke. Dammit. Because another thing is, fast food is friggin' cheap! And filling! And, to some people, tasty! Poor people almost have to eat this stuff, which causes health problems, and they have no health insurance, and so on. The circle of death.

12:20 PM  
Blogger lioux said...

Who stars in this film?

12:24 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have to admit I never eat fast food within the confines of NYC but once I leave for any reason it is fast food all the time. For me it is the drive through, just makes it so easy....

12:39 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Colleen... If had money to give, I totally would. But I'm barely afloat as it is (most of the time). Also, "circle of death"; awesome. Apt, and scary, too.

Lioux... It's a cast of 1000s. Oddly enough, Avril Lavigne's in it, though.

Midwesterner... I used to be so good about not eating fast food while living in NYC; for like three years, I never ate it. Then I started working in Midtown, where nothing's cheap EXCEPT fast food. Very lame!

12:51 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

If you are in Midtown near 6th Ave and 38th Street, there's a great deli that also happens to be cheap. And only 2 blocks from Brant Park, which is great on a day like today.

1:57 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Thanks for the Tip!

I'm at 40th and Mad, so not that far at all. And I do love me some Bryant Park in the Spring time. It's the ONLY thing that I like about working in Midtown.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

There are a lot more affordable lunch options on the west side of 5th Ave.
There's even a decent pub for happy hour beers on 38th.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Irish and Jew said...

Listen... In college I had to read Fast Food Nation twice. Once for my "Ethics" class and once for "Investigative Reporting" and let it be known that every time I picked up that book I had the urge for a number 2 from McDonalds... none of those horror stories could stop me from America's favorite hangover cure... The Number Two.


3:11 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Jeff... You wouldn't be refering to Blaggards, would you?

Irish... Don't get me wrong, my Liberal guilt only extends as far as my next craving for McNuggets.

3:34 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

That's the one! I would never make it a Saturday night destination but on days when you just want to grab a beer after work, its pretty good.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Ms. C said...

Colleen, you hit the nail of the real social issue right behind McD's on its issuey head when you said:

"Poor people almost have to eat this stuff, which causes health problems, and they have no health insurance, and so on. The circle of death."

McD's is aiming for the poor majority with it's cheap and easy food. Think of the latest trend in McD's advertising...it's urban and catchy with a decent sprinkling of attractive minorities. Sure, McD's has salads but have you checked the price? A "healthy" salad costs six time...SIX TIMES the cost of a double cheeseburger. If you make minimum wage what are you more able to afford?

Insult to injury, I teach at a poor special ed school that is RIGHT NEXT to a McD's. So where do you think the kids go right before and after school?

Bah dum bah bah bah...

3:48 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Jeff... Heh, who knows the bars? C-dog knows the bars. Yeah, I had an old roommate of mine that lived most of her life in Blaggards. I usually do my drinking in the East Village, but Blaggards is a great bar.

Ms. C... Yeah, what she said.

4:02 PM  
Blogger blythe said...

now read the omnivore's dilemma (michael pollen). you'll just stop eating in general. it saves a ton of money.

6:05 PM  
Blogger freshbread said...

hehe, a number two from mcdonald's

a wanna do a number two after going to mcdonald's.

9:56 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Blythe... Yeah, I've been trying to shake this whole "eating" habit. Thanks for the tip!

Gwiz... I find Chipolte to be the fast food place from whence number 2's are born. Which, gross, but still true.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just saw Fast Food Nation, it's an impactful flick to say the least... earlier today i passed up a sausage mcmuffin because of it. Evidently it is worth passing up fast food for more than the obvious health reasons.

6:02 PM  

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