Food Inc.’s Blind Spot

I fixated on the carrera marble backsplash of Eric Scholsser’s kitchen throughout Food Inc., even though only a few scenes were shot in his kitchen. I sincerely admire the muckraking work of Fast Food Nation, and Scholsser changed how I eat, as did Michael Pollen’s Omnivore’s Dilemma. But as I intimated in another post, the elitism that marks the reception of their books– I believe I called this, inelegantly, the “whole fart smelling aspect of it”– puts me off. I don’t believe the books themselves necessarily lean in this elitist direction, but the uses of the book do. I liked aspects of Food Inc., as a film can capture image in a visceral way that is difficult for a book to replicate. I would challenge anyone to catch a glimpse of a typical Tyson chicken house and then eat a Tyson chicken. That is, if they can afford to make that choice. The central thrust of Food Inc is that real food costs more, and we should be willing to pay more. The people who can’t may more? I found that the film demurred on that point, and at moments, like in the trophy kitchen shots, appeared totally clueless. People with money telling everyday folks to spend more on food seems really nutty to me. And I found and still find myself hoping that future work aimed at challenging the food industry and consumption habits could show people how to alter their diets for the better while spending the same amount of money at the grocery store. At this point, it seems to me that a good batch of bean recipes would have a broader political impact than the entire film. If we aren’t coupling muckraking with viable solutions, what are we doing but talking to each other, and patting ourselves and our heritage pork on the back for it?

htg03

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Food Inc.’s Blind Spot

  1. jke4

    Have you see Food Fight, another food politics documentary? I haven’t seen the whole thing, but I’ve seen clips from it that specifically address class and race issues in relation to food. And in general, its focus is not simply on changing purchasing habits but on grassroots activism.
    http://www.foodfightthedoc.com/foodfight.html

  2. htg03

    I haven’t, but I will check that out, thanks!

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