Super Size Me Essay

1256 words - 5 pages

McDonald’s is killing Americans, at least that is what Morgan Spurlock believes. In his documentary Super Size Me he embarks on a quest to not only describe and use himself as an example of the growing obesity trend, but to offer the viewers with base-line nutritional knowledge that will allow them to draw their own informed conclusions. Spurlock's primary intention is to prove through self-experimentation that eating solely McDonald's food is dangerous. His secondary intention is to denounce the rising obesity rate in American by using statistics, his own research, and the opinions of experts. His broader message is for a general audience while he tailors select chapters towards more specific demographics such as parents or McDonald's themselves.

It is the intent this essay to evaluate the rhetorical effectiveness of Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me by examining his use of pathos, logos, and ethos. Spurlock unmistakably succeeds with his ability to draw his audience in emotionally as well as making it easy for them to relate to him. Spurlock maintains a powerful emotional hold over his audience through his use of shocking images and compelling information throughout the movie. However, he is unsuccessful in his attempt to enhance his credibility by presenting misleading and skewed information.

Spurlock successfully elicits strong emotional responses from his viewers to help win their support. The imagery, humor, music, and responses of his doctors and family to his diminishing condition all aid in creating a bond between himself and his audience. His use of gruesome images such as vomiting after eating, close-ups of the bellies and butts of fat Americans, greasy and disgusting looking food, and the detailed footage of a gastric by-pass surgery repulse and disturb viewers. He undeniably causes the them to associate these repulsive images and feelings with the fast food industry. In addition to what you see on the screen Spurlock also uses what you hear to evoke an emotionally response. One scene shows a Ronald McDonald cartoon while the song “Pusherman” by Curtis Mayfield, a song about weed, cocaine, and drug dealers, plays in the background. This is undoubtably trying to draw a comparisons between drug deals and McDonald's this would certainly draw in over weight American's as well as parents. The humor Spurlock displays in the film makes him a very likable person and helps us to relate to him. If this bond between him and his audience was not created and nurtured throughout the film we might find it to be too gross or too serious and become bored with it. Furthermore the bond helps us feel compassion for him therefore, when his doctors and family start to worry about him we care more than we would if we weren't so emotionally invested. Additionally he manipulates the audiences' emotions by depicting McDonald's as a greedy and untrustworthy antagonist. To effectively create this assumption he documents not being able to find...

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