“Fed Up”, Louis Theroux and Making Your Point

Yesterday I watched “Fed Up” on Netflix and became very scared.

Catchy title, intriguing premise, biased viewpoint?

[The official site for “Fed Up” – http://bit.ly/1cqeVON]

It is a documentary, claiming to be revelatory, about the negative impact that sugar and Big Food has on the health of Americans particularly; though it does extend to the rest of the world as so-called Big Food is made up of worldwide brands.

The facts and figures it represents are alarming but may also be alarmist. And wrong.

[From Science Based Medicine – http://bit.ly/1cqgqwv]

If nothing else, it made me consider the amount of sugar in my diet and in the foods I enjoy (though unfortunately also made me crave a trip to an American supermarket, certainly not the intended reaction).

The claims it makes for regulation of the food industry in analogy with tobacco were compelling. But watching it, there was no attempt at balance. As mentioned in the above article, David Allison – who seemed to hold views opposed to that of the documentary – asked for time to collect his thoughts, was shown in contemplation and then never returned to. I am always wary of such editing, knowing that the film-maker has chosen not to show any such stumbling or hesitation in the people who support the view of the documentary.

A documentary usually exists to make a point. Those who watch it must then decide for themselves whether they will find out more to form their own opinion. I’m glad I have done so with the subject of Fed Up but am certain that others would not.

There is a better way. I have been a huge fan of Louis Theroux for a long time. He started out as a playful documentarist, introducing the world to lifestyles and people who live in a very unique way. But nowadays, he makes documentaries like this.

[BBC Link to info on Louis Therous – Transgender Kids – http://bbc.in/1cqojC9]

His approach throughout the variety of his career has been to let people represent themselves to him, and thus his audience, with as little judgement on his part as possible. He does comment on the story of what he experiences and occasionally brings his opinions to bear in narration. But he lets us see as much of each side to a story as he possibly can. He has been able to interview and get to know people easily prejudged as utterly abhorrent. He doesn’t intend to reverse that opinion or to promote further vilification, he only tries to represent them.

[BBC Link to info on Louis Theroux, America’s Most Hated Family in Crisis – http://bbc.in/1cqtOkl]

The Transgender Kids documentary presented real people and their lives dealing with a situation that will seem alien and unnatural to some who might watch it. All he does is represent their struggle, including parents with opposing views on their children’s lives and welfare. Through doing that, he makes us think about his subject and thus urges us to find out more. A message of knowledge rather than fear.

You can watch an awful lot of Louis Theroux on Netflix, just as I have. I urge you to do so.

[Louis Theroux on Netflix – http://nflx.it/1cqsoGn]

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