Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)
November sees the U.S. release of the movie, Fast Food Nation. This is an adaptation of Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name, which offered a chilling exposé of America’s fast food industry. The book was a detailed – and horrifying – account of just exactly what is involved in the production of the things we eat at chains like McDonalds. The film, on the other hand, is a fictional dramatisation and follows the lives of immigrant workers in industrial meat factories and fast food restaurants. It is directed by Richard Linklater, whose adaptation of another cult book, Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly, was also released this year. Linklater and Schlosser, who co-wrote the screenplay to Fast Food Nation, presented the film at this year’s Cannes Festival. Schlosser talked about the book’s remarkable impact:
I really cannot claim any great cosmic impact because of my work and I wouldn’t presume to do that. What’s been amazing for me, as a writer, is to have individuals come over to me and say that the book affected them.
The book was published in January of 2001, and I think that’s significant because that was the month in which our president “took office” – literally! So I think the book appeared when people were beginning to wonder what’s going on, what’s going on in the United States, maybe opened to questioning8 what’s happening and then, after that, there was a mad cow scare, there was hoof and mouth in the UK, and I don’t know... I think if the same book had been published 10 years earlier, maybe no-one would have read it, but something about the timing and the Zeitgeist. And that was five years ago and, as a writer, I’m amazed that people are still interested in the subject or that it still feels relevant. So I think, in the United States, it was one of the first books that began to question the conventional wisdom and the prevailing, accepted opinion and there have been a whole series since then, but I think it’s really better for other people to judge its impact etc. And, for me, I’m just amazed that people are still reading it.