Home Food Fast Food Forever: How McHaters Lost the Culture War

Fast Food Forever: How McHaters Lost the Culture War

by белый

“Super Size Me” helped lead a backlash against McDonald’s. Twenty years on, the industry is bigger than ever.

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The camera zooms in on a large woman, sitting on a cooler at the beach. It cuts to a shirtless man, also quite large, his face blurred out. The next shot shows another overweight man, sitting on a beach towel with plastic grocery bags arrayed in front of him.

“America has now become the fattest nation in the world. Congratulations,” a voice narrates. “Nearly 100 million Americans are today either overweight or obese.” At the end of this soliloquy, the opening credits roll — accompanied by Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

So begins “Super Size Me,” which was released 20 years ago this month.

Directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, the bootstrapped, lo-fi documentary was a smash hit, grossing more than $22 million on a $65,000 budget. Following Mr. Spurlock as he ate nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days — and the ill effects that diet had on his health — the film became the high-water mark in a tide of sentiment against fast food. McDonald’s, specifically, became a symbol for the glossy hegemony of American capitalism both at home and abroad.

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Fast Food Forever: How McHaters Lost the Culture War

“McJobs” became a term for low-paying, dead-end positions, “McMansions” for garish, oversize houses. In 1992, the political theorist Benjamin Barber used the term “McWorld” as shorthand for emergent neoliberal dominance; seven years later, protesters against the World Trade Organization seemed to agree, launching a newspaper box through a McDonald’s window during the “Battle of Seattle” marches.

Two years after that, Eric Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” was published. A broad indictment of the entire fast-food industry, the best seller accused the industry of being bad for the environment, rife with labor issues, culturally flattening and culinarily fattening.

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