What are the SWPLs watching on Netflix? It’s now a matter of time at any SWPL party before someone brings up the “d” word: documentary. I will admit the Hogocaust scene in a food documentary had me spooked out for weeks, and I will honor the pigs that die in gas chambers by eating bacon. I am not going to go full SWPL, and build a party small talk persona around watching one life changing documentary. My wife saw a preview for “Fed Up”, and was intrigued by the idea. It was one of those documentaries on food and obesity. Would it go the whole way and lay much of the problem at government policies? Sort of, but the quality production values are the cue that no way will deeper problems be touched.
The documentary is narrated by Katie Couric and has interviewees like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Clinton. There is no way that a documentary with that star power is upsetting the apple cart. This documentary does tackle some obvious villains like food industry lobbyists, capitalism and grrr, bought off, corrupt physicians. My God! Sugar is the big villain here, which is a good thing. The documentary follows three teens who are obese and their struggles. A fat white guy who has two thin siblings. A fat white girl who looks like she has a deeper disorder since her face looks like she is in pain and misshapen, and a fat black kid with the voice of a 60 year old man. We’re not told the whole story about them or shown it because something seems up. There’s just a few too many steps one could take that the documentary will not do. This is standard Narrative talk with a focus on sugar being the bad guy.
One problem they dance around is carbohydrates. The doc mentions how guidelines were manipulated to not talk about scaling back eating, but I was alive in the ‘80s and ‘90s and remember the “reduce red meat” propaganda. Beef lobbyists fought that one but lost. If the documentary wants to say the government did not recommend that or set the tone, okay, but we know the media did, and well, it's more proof that the media is sovereign. The film has a speaker who states that the carbs in cereal get turned right into sugar by the digestive system yet the documentary does not them follow the line for the major shift in dietary guidelines starting in the ‘80s. They show the food pyramid but do not fill it in because if they did, they’d show you a diet based on more and more carbs. Those fat teens dieting looked to be scarfing down carb heavy foods on film. Sure, it is “healthy” to normies who buy the standard dietary narrative. This documentary had Gary Taubes as an interviewee, yet did not let him hammer home the point on fat and protein that he is being vindicated on with new research. This film is not going there because the progressive blessed food guidelines would be shown as a sham, and then, what else that they say is a sham?
Some other problems that the documentary would never ever touch are our national mental crack up, scale and our political system. We cannot touch on the emptiness of modern life in drug documentaries, did anyone think this one would tackle it with food? I've spoken to gastric bypass patients, and their descriptions of the dessert they miss the most sound like a heroin addict describing the rush. The sheer scale of “America” the entity makes these kinds of problems practically unsolvable. The documentary kept harping on how big food chains and fast food has entered our school systems. Well, what kind of tight budgeting are school systems facing and who is going to be the low cost provider? Keep ratcheting up school spending elsewhere and there will be less for food. How weird is the importance of schools providing food? Did the documentary want to avoid the free lunch explosion in America? The problem of lobbyists and fiddling with national policy and guidelines is from the government getting into farming policy with FDR. Money only fiddles with government because government messes with the economy. Agricultural policy is what it is because people once needed the votes, and now the system can be used for looting and graft.
Is this documentary just another “Big Food is Big Evil” documentary? Yes. Humans have little agency, advertising destroys their decision making ability and this film follows the Supersize Me format of treating people as automatons who have no power. Katie Couric, Bill Clinton and Mike Bloomberg are not going to be involved in a probing documentary. Clinton even does his sad eyes, bite the lip, "I'm sorry" face when asked about '90s food policy. This is just enough to get people mad at Big Food and create an external villain, "sugar". There is something weird with one family eating the same but not everyone gets puffed out fat. Why not explore any genetic reason? Why not wonder if there is a biochemistry reaction to food that differs? Is there something in the food? While this documentary mentions multiple items, it really focuses on sugar as the bad guy we need to eliminate. "Attack sugar and it all gets better!" sounds like a retread of "Get rid of fat!". Our global obesity problem is a multivariable problem. No one solution will fit. Even if we had the solution or fixes, would our system allow them? While this documentary is a nice one to watch, it is frustrating for the two steps it takes rather than the ten steps it could.