2 –Supersize Me
In the documentary film Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock emphasizes
on the effects that fast food can have on your body and the issues that it can
bring. While watching the documentary film, there were many elements that stood
out that were related to Burke’s views on rhetoric. Morgan seemed to identify
with the audience, in a way of wanting them to come together as one, with
seeing the harm that all the fast food can have on our bodies, and showing that
we can all face it together. Supersize Me
used identification, symbolism, terministic screens, and much more to show
the viewers all the issues that fast food brings.
In the documentary, Morgan Spurlock was
the narrator and his purpose was to prove to others all the detrimental effects
of fast food on our bodies, but also the problem of obesity in America. In the
100-minute long documentary, Spurlock commits to only eating Mcdonalds’ for 30
consecutive days, and promising to eat everything on the menu at least once. He
also sets up a few rules for himself that will help him with the project. The
rules consisted of: having to purchase everything he consumed through
Mcdonalds, having to supersize his meal every time he was asked, and not
participating in any type of exercise.
Throughout watching the documentary, I
realized that Spurlock wasn’t trying just to entertain the audience, but also
leave an impressive effect on the viewers about how fast food causes harm to
our bodies. I believe he did so by showing the way his body transformed
throughout the process of his project. At the beginning, Morgan was a healthy
guy. But by the end of the project, he had gained about 25 pounds, was
depressed, his cholesterol had extremely risen, etc. I felt that being able to
document this experience from beginning to end played a huge role in the
function of the rhetoric because it was supporting what Mark was trying to show
the viewers, and giving them actual evidence. For example, showing how over the
course of 30 days, his body had drastically changed, and providing all the
evidence needed from what he ate, to what he did from day to day, proved the
viewers that what was going on was actually real, and was showing many of the
fast food customers that they were actually being persuaded into having poor
nutrition by the fast food industry.
Spurlock’s tone throughout the
documentary is somewhat sarcastic but very easy to capture the audience’s
attention. You could tell that the effect that fast food has on our bodies was
very important to him, and he needed to make sure he spread enough awareness
about it to make the viewer’s realize that we needed to do something about
this. His word choice also helped keep the viewers attention because it kept
them entertained and made the viewer’s feel relatable to the subject.
Much of what is shown throughout the
documentary plays a role rhetorically because it leaves an impact on the
audience. I feel as if the part that left most of the impact on the audience
was towards the end of the 30 days when Morgan decided to film and show actual
examples of the amount of fat he had gained or sugar he had consumed, and when
the amount is so immense, of course it is going to really impact the viewer’s
and make them realize how horrible fast food really is for us and how something
in our society needs to be done about fast food.
Something that was also used a lot during
the documentary were logos, and pathos. Ethos’ were used too, but I feel as if
Logos and Pathos had more of an effect on the audience. Logos is a way of
persuading the audience by reason. For example, persuading with statistics and
facts. Throughout the documentary, Morgan used a number of statistics and facts
to persuade and show proof to the audience of the issue that Fast food brings
to America. For example, it was stated that America was known to be the fattest
nation in the world, with the most number of obese people, and over 60% of them
being adults. It also had statistics on how atleast 40% of American’s meals are
out, meaning it could be fast food and not home cooked. Logos has more of an
affect on the audience, I believe, because you are showing proof of what is
going on, and that’s exactly what Spurlock was doing.
In regards to Pathos, pathos is a way of
persuading someone with appeal to emotions. Throughout this documentary, I feel
as if Pathos was used quite often because in reality, if you have ever watched Supersize Me, you tend to be grossed
out. I remember the first time I watched this documentary, I ran home telling
my parents I was becoming vegetarian. Spurlock knows how to connect with the
audience through emotions throughout the documentary in a way that keeps the
viewers wanting more in the sense of keeping them more informed and teaching
them what really is going on in these fast food places.
Throughout the documentary, there were
other ways of catching the viewer’s attention rhetorically. Some of them being
by having kids and adults that were obese all over America talk about how it
has affected them, and what they like to eat, and what they do for a living,
etc. I would consider this a terministic screen. Many people only see one view
of this, but there is also another perspective to it.
All in all, It was stated that if nothing
was done to fix the problem with obesity in America, it might have become the
number one leading cause of death in America. I feel as this really touched
Spurlock, so he felt as if this documentary was a good way to persuade viewers
in changing something within our society, and have it under control in the ways
you could control it. For example, not eating it as much, or not buying it for
your children, or simply not supporting it are ways that could contribute to
it. It took Spurlock almost 15 months to lose the 25 pounds he had gained
throughout the 30 days, and I feel as that showed the audience what a toll it
can take on your life. By using many rhetoric terms, including terministic
screens, identification, logos, pathos, symbolism, etc., Spurlock created a
great documentary that persuaded and informed viewer’s on a change that needed
to be made in our society to end Obesity in America. Supersize me changes people, it changes their view, it changes the
way they think and feel about fast food and the growing issue of Obesity, and
it gives them more of a reason to want to stop it.
Spurlock, Morgan. Super Size Me.
New York, N.Y: Hart Sharp Video, 2004.
A. The History and Theory of Rhetoric: An Introduction. Boston: Allyn and
Beacon, 2005. Print.