Supersize Me: The Rhetoric of French Fries

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Supersize Me: The Rhetoric of French Fries

The United States of America has long been considered a “big nation”, whether is has the biggest cities, houses, and on a negative note, biggest people. In 2003, Morgan Spurlock, a healthy-bodied film director, set on a quest to show America the detrimental effects of the fast food industry and raise awareness on the controversial issue. He produced the documentary “Supersize Me”, where McDonald’s meals were consumed for every meal of the day for thirty days. His film was released to movie theatres so that people could understand the devastating effects of McDonald’s on his body in a very short time span. At the end of his experiment, Morgan gained twenty-five pounds, developed a thirteen percent body mass increase, cholesterol skyrocketed immensely, and fat accumulation in his liver rose to. He became depressed and he only felt happy and in no pain when he was eating the fast food. By using ethos, logos, and pathos, “Supersize Me” became one of the most watched documentaries in the United States. Without these appeals, this documentary would not have developed the effect that it did.

Ethos is the credibility of knowledge and written word. Or in laments terms, that one has the authority to spread true knowledge. It shows the importance of what you are talking about and gives a speaker credibility to talk about the subject. “Supersize Me” fulfills this bin that it provides the viewers with facts and statistics about obesity and the fast food industry in America. It was reported in the documentary that each day, 1 in 4 Americans visit a fast food restaurant, and that in 1972, America spent three billion dollars a year on fast food where as today we spend more than $110 billion a year (Spurlock 2004). These statistics proved that the producers of the documentary possessed true knowledge of the issue and it gives credibility to their documentary.

Pathos is an emotional connection that the documentary provides to the audience. It is what causes the audience to feel emotion. It is manipulation and what is called the “pushing buttons” factor. Without pathos, the documentary would have not affected the audience to the extent that it did. The pathos can be found when the audience is shown the effects that McDonalds had on Spurlock. After just a few days, the viewers were able to witness the pain that he was going through and the emotional impact the McDonald’s had on him. “My body just basically falls apart over the course of this diet,” Spurlock told Newsweek (Lambert 2004). Spurlock’s relationship and his sexual relationship with his girlfriend changed so the viewers were once again able to feel the emotion that Morgan was feeling. The audience was shown how...

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