Food, Inc. is not a documentary, it is a shockumentary. Its sole purpose is to make the viewer so outraged at the content that they react. It has done a very good job defending its position, using ominous music, blanket statements meant to frighten, and footage that’s not easily understood by the public. This documentary is the principle reason my brother decided to become a militant vegetarian. My response was anger, not at the food, but at the mismanagement of so many industries on so many levels.
The message: foods such as meats, soy, and corn are no longer produced in a way that is healthy for the people who eat it, the workers who make it, or the planet that produces it. Their goal is to force encourage people to buy locally, buy organic, and support businesses that do the same.
It’s a great message, I can’t deny that. It’s the delivery that bothered me. I’m an Animal Science major, none of the information about how meats are produced is new to me. Do I think feed lots, antibiotics, and mass production facilities are an ideal way of producing food? Heck no. But it’s the only way of producing it at the prices that people have come to demand. In my opinion, it comes down to a money issue – not a food issue. Mass produced food is cheaper.
The documentary talked about how some families, due to limited funds and hectic schedules, feel forced to eat fast food because they can feed their families a meal cheaply. They showed this poor family standing bewildered in the produce section deciding not to buy pears because they could only get 2 or 3 for a dollar. They mentioned that their diet has made the father diabetic and he has medications that cost hundreds a month. This is not a food industry problem, it is an education and health care problem. You can feed a family a healthy meal for less than is costs to eat fast food. I do it all the time.
Bringing this into the writing world – when writing do you have a code of ethics? Are there lines that you will not cross because it would violate what you stand for? Do you write with an agenda in mind? Is your goal to change the way your readers view a subject?
All writers should build their own code of ethics, a guide of what they will or will not do and how they will go about it. This doesn’t need to be a written document, although putting your thoughts down on paper will help clarify exactly what you think. If you haven’t taken a moment to figure out what your values are when writing, take some time and do it.
Would I recommend “Food, Inc.?” Sure. It is well presented and makes a good point. As long as you understand what the point is going in, you be able to see where they are manipulating the viewer.