Thursday, July 05, 2007

reason # 378 not to rent movies while sleepwalking…

A week or so ago, my roomie and I were looking for movies to veg-out to. Remembering that she has never seen Adventures in Babysitting, I suggested we go and track it down. We walked around the video store for awhile trying to make something else jump out of us, but realized we were both exhausted and should just go home before I fall asleep at the wheel.

We walked downstairs to checkout, when I suddenly remembered a movie I wanted to grab. In browsing
old posts a while back, I was reminded that Ramón had suggested I watch Fast Food Nation. So I made my way over to that section (luckily I didn’t have to walk back upstairs, too much physical exertion for my collapsing state), located the movie and joined Candy at the counter.

We didn’t last long that night. She went to sleep as Chris and the kids were entering the frat house, and I didn’t even make it to Thor.

The next day, we decided to finish off the Babysitting highlights and dive into Fast Food Nation. I completely missed the fact that this was directed by Richard Linklater (which would be why it was suggested to me in the first place) until the end credits, further proof of my growing lack of attention to the cultural landscape that surrounds us. There is plenty to disturb you about this movie… which is the point, after all. And I knew the premise going into it, as a pseudo-sociologist. Yet I still failed to adequately prepare myself. In fact, had I really thought through the rental process, I probably would have avoided this particular title altogether.

See, I have a history with films and media depicting where our food comes from. My first year of high school, many of the Seniors were involved with organizations such as
PETA and Greenpeace, and they made it their duty to remind me what I was eating, how it was processed and where it came from. That was my first experiment with vegetarianism. My parents were not supportive, so my food choices were limited, and I eventually got over it. I enjoy vegetarian dishes, and even created my own recipe for vegan chocolate-peanut butter cookies when my aunt (who is vegan) was visiting last summer, but I don’t have a problem with eating meat.

That is – I didn’t have a problem with eating meat. I haven’t touched red meat or pork since I saw the film. I’ve eaten chicken once, but only because I thought the salad came with black beans only and I didn’t want to send it back… because I’m not a vegetarian… because I don’t have a problem with eating meat. I’ve had eggs and shrimp, but even those have caused me pause. I am floating around in a fog of heightened awareness of what has come to pass as food – the chemicals in my sweet rolls, the pesticides on my veggies, and the mass processing of my meat products.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time, nor can I afford to grow my own organic farm. I can’t even afford to purchase all of my food from existing local, organic farms. Heck, I can’t even afford to purchase most of my foods from distant, organic farms. It’s cheaper to eat cheap-quality foods. And that sucks.

I’m hoping I get over this – not because I don’t think eating organic is a noble goal, but because I don’t like feeling sick to my stomach every time I eat something (because I’m thinking about everything it has been through). But maybe I should be feeling sick. Maybe I shouldn’t be ok with what is being fed to me (or, that I am feeding myself).

So, I don’t particularly recommend the
movie. But I would recommend the book, which is more of a sociological study on the impact of the fast-food industry on American culture. Unless you want to continue eating undisturbed, in that case avoid the book as well.


sound/fury said...

Kim - Too funny!! I actually became a vegetarian the morning after seeing this movie. It took me about four months to eat any kind of meat again after seeing it. I still eat mostly vegetarian dishes, but am not as strict as I was early on, as long as the meat is organic and free-range/grassfed.

I had actually eaten a large steak before watching the movie and felt nauseas all night long.

Jerusalem said...

That is great. Nathan checked with the organic "Chicken Man" at the Rivermarket and found out that for $12 you can get ONE CHICKEN. Yep. One chicken. $12. And it isn't even cooked...