Morgan Spurlock: From Supersize to San Diego Comic-Con
Documentarian Morgan Spurlock uncovers humanity and inspiration at the world’s biggest pop culture event. He talks to us about being a comic geek and whether we should ban the super sized sodas.
You say it in the movie that Comic-Con has very little to do with comics now. In what sense?
Comics are still there, but they are just a smaller part of a bigger convention now. I think what Comic-Con has done is cater to changing tastes and a changing marketplace. Books as an art form and commodity—period—are dying. There are still artists and writers creating some of the most innovative and beautiful stories around right now in comic book form, but they are not going too into books—they’re being created digitally. But I love where it is going now. That's something that happened in movies that was fantastic. There was a democratization of filmmaking that made the barrier of entry much lower for filmmakers, which is what enabled me to make Supersize Me. Suddenly, I could buy an affordable prosumer camera and a computer and if I had a good idea I could actually make a movie.
The same thing is happening now with comic books where now I don’t need a big publisher to publish a comic. Now, if you are a brilliant, smart, creative person you can digitally publish something and work it and try to get it out into the marketplace where people can have access to it. I think that’s really exciting.
You mentioned Supersize Me earlier. What is your take on the proposed New York City law that would ban large soda sizes?
I’m not a fan of banning anything. I think that, ultimately, the better thing to do is educate the populous. Rather than ban things in your city, why not say, “We’re going to change the education system.” So, literally from kindergarten, kids are understanding and getting a foundation on which to make better choices. My kid goes to elementary school and they’re cutting another day of physical education at his public school. These are things that are the bigger problem than just banning a soda. Why not fix the system rather than say you can’t have something? What do you ban next? Banning smoking is one thing because somebody who is sitting next to me can give me cancer by smoking a cigarette. Somebody who is obese isn’t going to give me secondhand obesity. They’re not going to roll over on me and hurt me... they could, I guess. I just think there is a better way to spend that money and effort through community outreach. The bigger one I still believe is our school system, our education. The number one place to teach a kid where they should be doing the right things is in an educational environment.
Watching the film the sixth or seventh time, do you ever just stop thinking of how bad it was for you and just think, “Man, those nuggets look so good.”?
To this day, if I eat McDonald’s food it immediately tastes like chemicals in my mouth. It doesn’t even taste like food to me anymore. Although to this day, if I even see a picture of a Big Mac, my mouth will start watering like Pavlov’s dog—just seeing it. I’ll watch the film and my mouth will just start watering. But there are so many places to get a burger than one of those chains. I would much rather go to a mom and pop diner down on the corner and get a great homemade burger.