Summarize the basic argument made by the movie — exactly why does the author believe McDonald’s is behaving unethically? Don’t summarize the MOVIE here, pinpoint the ethical argument
Talking about the ethical side of the movie Super Size Me and its hard critics of McDonald’s and the style of life offered by this company, it is necessary to admit that its author, Morgan Spurlock, truly believes that McDonald’s behaves unethically to its customers and people who cannot even imagine how dangerous the offered product can be. There are many reasons why American people suffer because of obesity the most in the world, and the idea of eating fast food is considered to be one of the most burning issues, among others.
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The idea to promote super-sized food for low prices is ethically incorrect with respect to people’s desire to eat more and spend less money. This is why the main argument of the author in the movie under discussion is all about the company’s attempts to attract more people to their products without considering all those dangers and health costs of its customers.
What logical flaws or biases do you see in the movie? Whether you agree or disagree with the film, discuss the holes in the arguments presented in the film
Though this movie is educative indeed, there are still some flaws and mistakes which have to be admitted. In my opinion, it is wrong to accuse McDonald’s of being unethical to its customers, relying on the experiment offered only. Of course, if a person quits sports, starts smoking, and eats in fast food restaurants only, it is not surprising that some problems with health and obesity start bothering this person. The main bias of the movie is that the author does not try to combine fast food with other ordinary to everyday life activities which promote healthy-style life. He just underlines what may happen if he starts eating all this fast food day by day. I think that such an approach is absolutely biased, wrong, and not enough to make the decisions that are offered by Morgan Spurlock.
What facts or conclusions most surprised you about the film? What was “news” to you?
Actually, almost all the outcomes of the experiment presented in this movie were quite new for me. First, I cannot guess that fast food eating may influence sexual life. It is very interesting to observe how family relations may be damaged by the wrong food and constant eating at fast restaurants. On the one hand, it is possible to believe that fast-food restaurants provide people with the necessary time to enjoy this life, and on the other hand, the same restaurants may deprive these people of all joys of this life.
I also cannot believe that the effects of the fast-food industry may be observed within such a short period of time and impact almost every part of the body (from headache to wrong blood pressure). In fact, this movie helps to comprehend that each industry and each human action are connected to each other, and people should be very careful with what they eat all the time.
How might the author’s argument be extended to other retail operations? (i.e. if McDonald’s is unethical based on this argument, what else might we say is unethical?)
According to the movie, McDonald’s is present everywhere: next to shops, hospitals, airports, gas stations, rest stops, amusement parts, department stores, etc. (Spurlock, 2004). And the fact that these fast food restaurants are available at hospitals are the most amazing. In hospitals, the places where people try to improve their health and to be recovered, people are also under a threat to use wrong (harmful) food and worsen their health. Considering such spreading of the McDonald’s industry, it is possible to admit that other organizations which allow to build McDonald’s restaurants close to them are characterized by unethical behavior that makes harm to people.
What ethical responsibilities do you think retailers have regarding consumer health?
Ethical responsibility is that kind of responsibility that is characterized by the promotion of proper living standards for the whole society. Though it is not imposed from the legal perspective, moral and social values are considered. Regarding consumer health, retailers have to be responsible for human awareness of how fast food may influence their physical, psychological, and emotional state. I think that such responsibility has to be underlined as the most integral one because it has a certain impact on any other spheres and productions.
What ethical responsibilities do you think consumers have regarding this issue?
Regarding this issue, it is possible to suggest that consumers also have certain ethical responsibilities. As this type of responsibility leads to the improvement of human well being, consumers have to be responsible for their families’ well being and awareness of how McDonald’s food may influence their conditions. Ethical responsibilities also presuppose the idea of ignorance of what is known. People are aware of the harm to health as a result of eating fast food, this is why they cannot neglect their awareness and consider it as a powerful means to improve their health and conditions and to inform the others about this fact.
How would you handle the PR crisis of this movie’s box office hit if you were McDonald’s? (Or is it a crisis?)
First, I cannot agree to the idea that this movie lead to some kind of PR crisis. Mr. Spurlock makes an attempt to describe the outcomes of humans’ desire to eat fast food and worsen their health. He just shows what may happen if a person starts neglecting the healthy life-style and forgets about all those necessities to take care of personal health. Those, who still think that this movie is a kind of threat to the PR of McDonald’s food, should admit that people do not stop visiting these types of restaurants even being aware of this kind of threat.
It is the question of personal taste and preferences: if a person wants to eat at McDonald’s, no one is able to forbid it. Even more, this movie may be regarded as one more attempt to attract more attention to McDonald’s production and its attempting ideas. This is why Super Size Me is not a hit for McDonald’s but one more advertising that makes McDonald’s popular.
Spurlock, M. (Producer & Director). (2004). Super Size Me. United States: Samuel Goldwyn Films.