The documentary film Fast Food, Fat Profits is aimed at exploring various issues such as the underlying causes of obesity in the United States, the eating habits of American people, and the factors that shape their dietary choices. This movie can be discussed with the help of frame analysis developed by Erving Goffman.
This approach can show how the authors convey their main message to the viewers. Moreover, this film should be evaluated from the perspective of radical doubt. In this way, one can evaluate the arguments or ideas more critically.
First, one can speak about social framework which implies that the events and trends described in the movie can be explained by the actions and decisions of individuals and organizations that can derive some benefit from current social tendencies (Goffman 22).
In this case, one should speak about the activities of fast-food companies that provide products that are rich in calories. These enterprises can appeal to many consumers because they can sell their foods at a much lower price. Moreover, these organizations resist the attempts of legislators to regulate their activities.
Apart from that, much attention should be paid to the unwillingness of public administrators to raise awareness about the risks of fast food. For instance, many employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture are affiliated with the producers of fast food. In fact, they can even lobby the interests of these businesses.
Thus, the epidemic of obesity in the United States can be attributed to the activities of corporations as well as governmental officials who have a conflict of interests. This is one of the messages that this documentary film conveys.
However, it is also possible to speak about the natural framework according to which the events should be regarded as undirected or unguided (Goffman 22). In other words, the outcomes should not be attributed to an agent that strives to influence the behavior of other people.
This perspective can be applied to this film. For instance, one can say that the epidemic of obesity is driven by the economic inequalities in the American society.
Many people are not able to purchase healthy food products; therefore, they have to buy fast food. Furthermore, many people do not know much about the risks of such eating habits. In particular, some of them are not fully aware of such consequences as diabetes or heart diseases.
Therefore, it is not reasonable to blame only fast-food companies or governmental officials for the growing rates of obesity in America.
By combining natural and social frameworks, one can argue that obesity can be viewed as the result of economic inequalities, the activities of fast food companies, and people’s lifestyles. Thus, the film-makers crafted the main message of this documentary by using natural and social frameworks. This is one of the issues that can be distinguished.
In addition to that, this film can be discussed from the standpoint of radical doubt. In particular, it is possible to assume that people, who spoke about the underlying causes of obesity, had an incentive to conceal or even distort information.
For instance, one can suppose that some critics of these products were affiliated with some competitors of fast-food companies. Therefore, they could be motivated to accuse these businesses of various health problems faced by American people.
Thus, the practice of radical doubt can help a person to examine the arguments of other people more thoroughly. Furthermore, this approach is useful for indentifying the limitations of the statements made by other people.
For example, one can say that the authors of this movie did not pay much attention to the sedentary lifestyles of many people. Similarly, the people, who were interviewed in the film, could be willing to accuse fast-food companies because it was difficult for them to accept their responsibility for their eating habits.
This is one of the details that should not be overlooked. In turn, the film-makers did not speak much about people’s unwillingness to do physical exercises which are important for controlling weight. Therefore, the main message of this documentary is not quite accurate. Thus, the notion of radical doubt is a helpful tool for the evaluation of information.
There are some limits to the practice of radical doubt. As it has been said before, this method is premised on the idea that a person has an incentive to lie. Thus, one must show or prove that this motivation is present.
Furthermore, by relying on radical doubt, one can question the validity of every study, report, survey, and so forth. The main problem is that in this way, one can reject virtually every source of information. This is one of the limitations that can be singled out.
Still, this discussion shows that the analysis of cinematographic work should be based on the application of critical thinking skills. In this way, one can better critique the arguments put forward by other people. These are the main benefits of this approach.
Goffman, Erving. Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience, Boston: Northeastern, 1986. Print.