Friday, September 24, 2004

From Smoking to Fast Food

We know that the anti-smoking gig reflects middle-to-upper class disdain for the "sweaty masses." The anti-fast food crusade is more of the same. Brendan O'Neill at Spiked has the right take on fast-food bashing:
Bashing the McMasses
by Brendan O'Neill

In the docu-blockbuster-cum-human-experiment Super Size Me, released in British cinemas over the weekend, New York filmmaker Morgan Spurlock eats nothing but McDonald's meals three times a day for a month...[I]n one scene, having spent 22 minutes eating a Super Size Double Quarterpounder Meal, pukes it up out of his car window - all for the apparently worthy cause of showing Americans 'the real price they are paying for their "addiction" to fast food'....

Sounds radical, right, taking on the Golden Arches of America and charging them with making poor folk sick and miserable by forcefeeding them junk? In fact, Super Size Me, like so many other anti-McDonald's campaigns, comes with a generous side order of snobbery. Its real target is the people who eat in McDonald's - the apparently stupid, fat, unthinking masses who scoff Big Macs without even asking to see a nutritional and calorie breakdown first. Spurlock and his ilk might hate McDonald's, but they seem to loathe the McMasses even more....

On both sides of the Atlantic there's a large portion of moralising in the panics over obesity, school dinners, junk-food-guzzling and the rest. What is presented as straightforward medical concern for our health and wellbeing is often really a judgement on lifestyle and behaviour - and especially the lifestyle and behaviour of a certain class of people....

[I]n the faux class war between anti-McDonald's campaigners and the McMasses, I'm on the side of the 'happy eaters' every time.
Me, too. When I'm on the road I stop at a McDonald's only to use the restroom. But that's only because I prefer other brands of fast food. And I ain't no iggerant, fat slob neither.

If my allergies could stand the smoke, I'd be back on cigarettes in a flash, even though it would make me look like a redneck -- or a movie star.