Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation is the movie by Richard Linklater based on the book by Eric Shlosser about how nasty, evil and corrosive Fast food is to our lives, our health, our economy, and our communities.

The movie follows the storylines of people who are in or affected by the fast food industry.

It has that documentary/slice of life style reminiscent of Robert Altman's "Short Cuts." You can't help but feel like something is on the verge of happening - something big and perhaps very tragic - that these worlds will collide . Of course they don't. In the way that they are interconnected there is no reason to suppose that they would except through some artificial dramatic device inserted specifically for that purpose. No in this movie each story plays out in its own way and from the very short time that we spend with these characters, we get a sense for how nasty, damaging, and corrosive Fast food is to our lives, our health, our economy, and our communities.

The footage at the end of cows getting slaughtered and processed is really disturbing. The working conditions at the meat packing plant as depicted in the movie are also really disturbing.

Meatpacking is incredibly dangerous work yet pays 24% less than an average factory job in America. Those in charge do what they can to keep it that way. Increases in wages, better work conditions would effect their profit margins. We, Americans, spend $134 billion a year on fast food. It's big business. Really big business.


At 10:56 AM, May 28, 2007, Blogger cafiend said...

When Upton Sinclair wrote "The Jungle" in 1906 he wanted to expose the hideous working conditions in the meat packing industry. Instead he just grossed people out about their food. Government standards for food safety were enacted, but no improvements in the lot of packing-house workers.

Sinclair is said to have complained that he aimed for America's heart, but hit them in the stomach instead.


At 1:03 AM, May 30, 2007, Blogger ergo said...


Surely, things have changed since 1906. Then again, being able to boast that your meat packing conditions are better than those of 1906, well that might not be saying much.

And it seems like the use of undocumented workers generally leads to treating those workers in ways that echo the bad old days of the industrial revolution. Getting away with it so long as the economic disparities make it worth a person's while.

I get the same feeling with regard to stories of factories in China or elsewhere. A case of history repeating itself in the worst of ways.

It's ironic to think that a country with roots in Communism and the rights of the worker can now be so damn ruthless with regard to their treatment.

As to the process of processing meat ... it seems like there's always something cruel and dangerous about the application of large scale industrial processing to the slaughter and preparation of edible animals.

I had heard about this with respect to the fishing industry but had been willfully sheltered from it with regard to meat processing up until now.

But I ramble. Good point Cafiend. I hear you.

At 12:13 PM, March 19, 2008, Anonymous patrick said...

just watched 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 health reasons.


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