Mar 072005
Authors: Tyler Wittman

Anyone who watched the Oscars last week must have been disappointed, yet again, at the blatant brown-nosing affair that slaps filmmakers in the face more than it rewards them for good work. Aside from the fact that "Million Dollar Baby" sucked and won far too many awards, there was one film that really got the shaft: "Super Size Me."

"Born Into Brothels" won the Oscar for Documentary Feature, but was hardly the best film in the category. For those of you who haven't seen "Super Size Me," go now and see it immediately. Skip class, run to Blockbuster and rent it.

After so many corruptions of the genre by Michael Moore, who has done more storytelling recently in his exposes than fact-finding, Morgan Spurlock takes documentaries back to what they should be. The premise of the movie is that Spurlock goes on a McDonald's-only diet for 30 days and sees what happens. The results aren't pretty, as you can well imagine, but the real meat of the movie is how he runs around the country examining the obesity problem we seem to be famous for here in the United States. Needless to say, I haven't eaten fast food since I saw the film.

The movie really opens eyes to the gross complacency that our society has taken with our own health problem. The problem stems largely from the way kids are being brought up today, not only by increasingly unhealthy families but also by their schools.

Spurlock visits one school where kids are making meals out of fries and pizza. The bad part about all of this is that schools aren't doing enough to provide healthy options for lunch. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger acknowledged this problem this past weekend by announcing new legislation that will enforce healthier eating at public schools. The process begins with replacing Snickers and soda in vending machines with fresh fruit and juice, and then continues with a healthier menu in the cafeteria.

This problem presents itself even on our own campus. Eating healthy in the residence halls is often an exercise in creativity, rather than simplicity. I walked in to grab some dinner the other day at Ingersoll Hall, and almost everything I saw was fried or high in fat. To eat a decent meal, I had to grab three chicken breasts and some spinach. Luckily, Ingersoll tends to stock 100 percent whole-wheat bread regularly, so it wasn't hard getting good bread.

Aside from the obvious choices of salads and fruits, all there was to offer in the way of a main meal was chicken and spinach. On the other hand, I could've grabbed some fried fish, a grilled cheese (made with butter, Wonder Bread and American cheese), a hot dog, a burger, popcorn shrimp . . . you get the idea.

Sometimes the residence halls offer very healthy meals that are delicious, but the majority of the time you have to improvise. Now think about all your options in the Lory Student Center. Subway is the only place you're really going to find a great-tasting, healthy meal. I think our campus could do better, don't you?

I'd encourage you all to go watch "Super Size Me" or read Eric Schlosser's "Fast Food Nation" so you can get a better picture of the problem that's making American cardiologists filthy rich. Spurlock's film should have won the Oscar for best motion picture because of what it accomplishes. Forget that horrible excuse for a boxing film.

The student center and the campus residence halls should also focus more attention on providing healthy alternatives to the grease-trodden food that headlines their menus. The "freshman 15" should be a thing of the past, and responsible eating should be the norm for all students.

Tyler Wittman is a junior speech communication major. His column runs every Tuesday in the Collegian.

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