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Brooke Cohn English 1101 Dr.

Branyon October 22, 2012 Rhetorical Analysis of Morgan Spurlocks Super Size Me America has an overwhelming problem thats been sweeping the nation ever since fast food chains first opened. The average American citizen is familiar with the famous golden arches, properly known as McDonalds. This fast food chain, as well as many others such as Burger King, Wendys, and Taco Bell helps to create impact on the obesity problem Americans are facing today. Morgan Spurlock, an independent filmmaker, went on a 30-day challenge to test and see how fast food can really affect ones daily life. For this period, he ate McDonalds for all three meals of the day and could not eat any food served anywhere else. He had to try every item on the menu at least once; and if asked to supersize his meal, he would accept. At the beginning of the documentary, his health was impeccable, and he was at the perfect weight for his age and size. Morgan started off with a clean slate before he indulged in an 8 year olds heaven for thirty days. This film covered Americas newest and most major problems of today, obesity and nutrition. Through rhetorical analysis and effective use of logos, ethos, and pathos, Spurlock persuaded many people throughout the country to eat healthier and improve their daily life. Back in the day, families shared home cooked meals and hardly ever ate out at a restaurant. Fast food wasnt even a thought, and people all around America had a much healthier diet. In 1948, the most famous fast food restaurant opened under

the McDonald brothers with a simple menu, which became a hit. The little restaurant once was a tiny food stand, and became the multi-million dollar corporation it is today. Spurlocks documentary portrays many examples of logos to back up his argument as to why McDonalds is a leading cause to obesity in America. He explains the fact that 25 percent of Americans eat fast food every day. This number, being extremely large, is a strong indicator that the fast food phenomenon is highly influential in the average Americans diet, and therefore leads to the obesity problem in some way. Also, Morgans healthy calorie intake to maintain his weight was a total of 2,500 calories a day. With the McDonalds he was eating daily, the nutritionist notified him that he was taking in around 5,000; twice as much as what he was supposed to be eating. This fact is drastic, and shows exactly how unhealthy these processed foods are. Morgan gained twenty-four and a half pounds in just thirty days, a drastic amount for just a month. His body fat went from 11% to 18%, and he doubled his risk of heart disease. He consumed 30 pounds of sugar over the course of his documentary, almost a pound a day. These statistics are overwhelming to say the least, as well as logical and proven. Secondly, Super Size Me uses ethos throughout the film to ensure the documentary is believable. Morgan visits several doctors and nutritionists to receive many opinions, instead of just one that could be biased. It shows their offices and equipment as well to show off a more official view. Throughout the film, Morgan interviews people on the street and asks them questions about their fast food experiences. This is a good example of ethos because he utilizes the opinion of the

average American citizen. People tend to agree with people they can relate to, so these interviews are an excellent persuasion technique. One of the people he interviews is also from France, and compares the size of meals in both countries. According to her, the portions are noticeably smaller in France, and America has sizes that are considerably bigger than the ones in Europe. This is effective because it portrays a real foreign woman to show the difference is real, and to show where America stands in terms of its fast food appeal. It also provided allusions to political figures and government officials when they talked about its relationship with the food industry. It related to congress, and how they passed a bill in 2004 to make it illegal to sue fast food companies for ones health. Last of all the rhetorical appeals, pathos, is used effectively in the film. Morgan visits a class of first graders, and holds up pictures of famous symbolic icons. George Washington, Jesus, the Wendys girl, and Ronald McDonald are all featured on the cards. A few of the children guess George Washington, none guess Jesus, but all of them are familiar with McDonald because theyve seen his face on commercials or advertisements. This actually evokes emotion because it wakes us up to the fact that children know fast food characters better than important and historical figures. The same effect was shown when they asked the family to state the pledge of allegiance, and failed, but knew the big mac slogan. Another example of pathos would be the man who has to get gastric bypass surgery because of his obesity. The fact that this was his last result and it had to be done is upsetting, to see that people can go so far as to not be able to work off their weight, and need to get medical surgery to rid of their problem. It was shocking to hear that he would drink

around two gallons of soda a day, as well as kind of disgusting. The visual image of him getting the surgery done was disturbing, and turns you off to this procedure and achieving the weight to result in needing that surgery. It was emotional as well when Morgan was on the phone with his girlfriend after talking to his doctor about his health. He was in danger of really damaging his body because of this experiment, which neither of them had expected. Seeing the change in him and their relationship was extremely upsetting. At the end of the video, Morgan sums up his point by showing the drastic changes in his body. He then cuts to a scene where he points out that if people keep eating this way, they could end up in a hospital, or a graveyard. These two visual images are definitely scary and a reality check at best. Although this film produces many facts, statistics, and back up for its case, it does include some underlying bias. Although many Americans consume fast food several times a month and sometimes even a week, it is highly unlikely and uncommon to eat it every single day, three meals a week. The body needs many different types of food throughout the food triangle to intake a healthy diet, so eating the same fatty food at McDonalds was bound to produce this result. An average American who eats McDonalds only sparingly, a few times a month, would be perfectly healthy as the fast food is eaten in moderation. This problem is extremely overbearing in our nation right now, but can be resolved. As the doctors in the documentary stated, you should eat at fast food restaurants a total of slim to none. Its fine every once in a while, but trading it for a healthier option can make an extreme difference in ones diet. It showed many dieting techniques and scams that many Americans will try to use as a last result, but exercise is the main element to

losing weight that all of those seem to forget. A balanced diet and more exercise can easily resolve health problems if done correctly. This documentary was effective indefinitely, as Ive been turned off to eating McDonalds and many other fast food restaurants for good. Although its a quick, cheap, and convenient alternative to healthier, balanced meals, the effects I saw on Morgans life showed me my health is more important than a fast food meal. Fast food hasnt been a big part of my diet since I was little, but although Ive only sparingly had it recently, Im probably going to cut it out of my life even more. This film must have opened many others eyes, including McDonalds, because at the end of the movie it stated that McDonalds had rid of their supersize option six months after Super Size Me was shown. After researching into it, I also found out that McDonalds had started more healthy campaigns as they scrambled to produce a better image. I thought this movie portrayed fast food companies and the effects of their food well, and the documentary overall ended up being very enlightening.