Review: Reefer Madness–Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market

3 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Civil Society, Consciousness & Social IQ, Culture, Research, Economics

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

3.0 out of 5 stars Three Articles, Lightweight Sequel to Fast Food Nation,

July 6, 2003
Eric Schlosser
Although the author is gifted, this is a very light-weight sequel to Fast Foot Nation and the author’s next book on prisons is therefore already suspect. This could have been a great book–indeed it could have been three great books–but in the rush to publish a second book in order to profit from the justifiable applause for his first one, the editor and publisher and author have all failed.There are three articles here: the first is about the inconsistencies of the drug versus the murder laws, the number of people in jail for marijuana, and the social implications of all this; the second is on the underground economy of illegal workers and profiteering abusive corporations (McDonald’s is especially evil in this depiction); and the third is about pornography but with a twist, focusing on how hotels and other major corporations are profiting.

The books ends with a very short but thoughtful observation regarding the need to change the law and punishment so as to back away from life-ending punishments for individual behavior that is merely self-destructive or distastement, and focus the heaviest punishments on those who commit economic crimes against society and entire sub-sections of society.

In each of these three cases, there are other books that are better–Deep Cover by Michael Levine on the futility of drug enforcement and the corruption of Drug Enforcement Agency “suits”; Forbidden Knowledge by Roger Shattuck, on pornography among other things; and The Informant by Kurt Eichenwald, on the sweetheart triangle between national-level white collar corporate criminals, big law firms, and a compliant Department of Justice that lets the richest bad guys off easy.

I would caution the author to not do this again–the next book had better be as good as Fast Food Nation, or he will fall into the second rank of serial writers rather than culture-changing authors, where he deserves to stay.

I would also encourage anyone considering buying this book to do so–it does have useful information–but more importantly, if you have not read Fast Food Nation, go to that page and think seriously about buying and reading it now–as McDonald’s gets blamed overseas for being the epidemy of all that is hateful to Islamics, as Kraft Food pays lip service to healthy food in its realization that Oreo cookies are killing kids, what Eric Schlosser did in Fast Food Nation is being appreciated more and more each day–with that book, he did indeed change national consciousness, an achievement that will stand in history as a turning point in creating a healthier America.

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Review: Fast Food Nation–The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

5 Star, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Consciousness & Social IQ

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars A *Nation-Changing* Book of Extraordinary Value,

July 6, 2003
Eric Schlosser
Edit of 22 Dec 07 to add links.

This is an utterly extraordinary book, and I am going to review it not from the point of view of fast food as a vice, like tobacco, with individual health consequences, but rather from a national security point of view, with obesity and the loss of the warrior ethic, of fitness, of the ability to run down and kill terrorists in your neighborhood. Strategically, in both political and economic terms, this book is a *major* contribution to how politicians, corporate chiefs, university and school administrators, religious leaders, and individuals themselves should think about their national diet.

In combination with “Pandora’s Poison” by Joe Thorton (a book about how chlorine-based chemistry is killing both America and the Earth), this book cuts to the very innermost corners of the national soul.

It is also more timely, in 2003, than when first published in 2001 to such acclaim, because a book called “Why People Hate America” has ably documented the Islamic and general foreign perception of how McDonald’s embodies the “hamburger virus” of capitalism run amok, and Kraft Food, among others, had just recently (July 2003) announced that it is completely revisiting its edibles, now that folks are realizing that Oreo’s kill kids and sodas have ten tea-spoons of sugar in every can. Food has become a fighting matter! Food has become a cultural litmus test, and America is failing the test.

We have also seen SARS, monkeypox, and multiple re-emerging infectuous diseases since this book was published. Infected fast food is a clear and present danger to the American nation.

What I find so dazzling about this work is its thoughtful integration and explanation of how fast food not only increases the gap between the rich and the poor by killing family farms and skilled labor as fast food corporations take over both farms and animal food chains so as to de-skill them and extract every penny of profit possible, but it is increasing the prospects for deadly disease entering the national bloodstream. If Microsoft is a “Dutch Elm disease” threat to national security in cyberspace (a view published in ComputerWorld by Paul Strassman recently after leaving his post as Director of Defense Information), then McDonalds and the other fast food companies are a threat to national security in multiple ways–by destroying diversity among farms and in eating habits that support unique food chains, by increasing the numbers of people in poverty, by creating massive means by which several different nation-wide epidemics could occur.

Obesity is actually the least threatening outcome of a political economy that permits fast food (and still does not regulate and enforce healthy meat processing).

At every level, from the philosophical architecture of the book, with its concern about the targeting of children as both direct clients and intermediaries in getting parents to accept bad food for their whining children, to the selection of the topics to be covered by the individual chapters, to the earnest and richly-developed sources that are quoted, this is one of the finest books among the 375 plus that I have reviewed here on Amazon.

This book is beyond five stars. In relation to poverty, corporate corruption, government ineffectiveness, fast food as a disease vector, and in relation to obesity as a symbol of a nation in decline, this book is about as important as a book can get. Totally, totally awesome. It’s not about diet–its about the health of the American Republic in every way conceivable.

See also:
The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster, and the Water We Drink
Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health

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