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Saturday, July 02, 2005

30 Duhs

I've been forced to become a cynical person. There was a time long ago when I could assume that the news was accurate. Once I thought newspapers reported just the facts. As much as life is made up of shades of gray, it would be a good idea to have a little black and white. I've had to give up on single source news about President Bush. When CBS can fabricate evidence and lie about it for weeks, there is no way to accept one reporter's assertions as fact.

It should be no surprise that FX's new series 30 Days is flavored with half-truths and served up documentary-style. This is the newsest offering of Morgan Spurlock, of "Supersize Me" fame and the former host of an MTV game show where he paid people to eat, among other things, their own hair.

Wednesday's episode was the subject of a story by Debbie Schlussel, frequent Howard Stern guest and all around critic of the Muslim community's tacit support of terrorism. She was interviewed for "Inside an American Muslim Family" but ultimately was not given the right to review the final edit. Even though she wasn't in the episode, she got a look behind the scenes.

First, David Stacy, was not some guy off the street. According to Schlussel, he was a childhood friend of Spurlock's. That fact was not mentioned at any point. In fact, the point was made that he did not know anything about the way Stacy really felt about Muslims in America. The deception continues as he was instructed in the ways of Islam by people who try to explain why a suicide bomber would feel justified by his actions and an Imam so respectful of Judiasm and Christianity that his mosque hosted Louis Farrakhan.

The article does a good job of deconstructing an episode that uses animation and Leno's "Jaywalking" shtick to present a dumbed-down lesson to the viewer who turned on FX in a misguided attempted to watch NASCAR. I would like to add in my own experience with the first episode about living on minimum wage.

Minimum Wage was the first episode of 30 Days and the only one with Spurlock as the participant. It turns out he was unable to get a minimum wage job, instead working for around $7 an hour. Even within that month he was getting better and higher paying jobs. They managed to get just enough breaks until two medical bills put them into debt.

Poverty is real. We know it exists. I'm living it myself. What we do about it is important. Spurlock's liberal guilt is pointless. Maybe something should be done about ER bills. Her's an idea. Maybe the government should stop forcing hospitals to take welfare cases at cut rates so they screw over people without insurance. Maybe there should be a sliding scale so that making just over the poverty line means you have to pay 100% insurance and just below the line you pay 0%.

Minimum wage isn't the problem. The problem is a workforce whose labor is being devalued by bored teenagers and illegal labor. Maybe Morgan Spurlock could spend 30 Days on the Arizona border.


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