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Essay on the American identity and fast-food places with image analysis


hlatif01 1 / -  
Feb 3, 2020   #1

unhealthy eating mannerisms



The infamous phrase "American dream" was once associated with the great prospers that this nation had to offer, but now this beloved dream has been shifted into an American Nightmare. The nightmare that this country is currently experiencing involves a risk of deteriorating health. The nightmare is rapidly turning the people of America dependent on corrupt foods, especially fast food. Surely, with the large, bright, in-your-face signs of fast food logos, one cannot resist a quick stop for some nuggets. Once, twice, and maybe thrice turns into an addiction and normality for these inexcusable practices. And fast food places make it so convenient to the point where within a span of a few minutes one is handed food without having to leave the comfort of their cushioned car seat. It sounds like the ideal way for people to get quick, cheap and arguably delicious food. Because it is. That's the reality of this hidden, severe, on-going issue that the nation tends to turn a blind eye towards. With consumers eating fast food in immense quantities, the consequences of such can take one's life away. Not only is it deadly for one's well-being but it pollutes the land of America as well. Americans constantly rave about how magnificent the land they reside in is, however, they are destroying the environment they claim to protect. In Kuczynski's art piece, Balloons, he shows exactly how fast food is portrayed in America and how it affects the nation negatively in quite a morbid manner.

Kuczynski conveys a sense of realization on how Americans treat fast food as well as how they perceive it in general with his drawing "Balloons". The well-known clown mascot for McDonald's, Ronald McDonald, appears to be holding a set of floating animal heads attached to strings. He is dripped in various shades of yellow and red, whose colors are known to belong to McDonald's advertisements. However, he is missing his iconic red "M" on the side of his bright yellow jumpsuit. Kuczynski may have done that to not only exclusively represent McDonald's but the majority of fast food places as well. He's wearing a giddy smile on his white-painted face as his overdrawn red lipstick goes from ear to ear, unconcerned about the damage he is causing. He has his arm on his waist as a sign of patience and the other hand holding the animal heads. The animal heads resemble a similar structure of balloons, as their heads have been severely cut off with the remainder of the blood still intact around their necks. The animals that are shown range from pigs, cows, and calves. These are all considered meat that Americans naturally consume on a regular basis and that are especially sold at popular fast-food chains. Moving on to the little boy with the red cap and an orange-colored shirt that is obviously two sizes too small for him. His shirt has such an awkward fit on him that his tummy starts to reveal itself. He is pointing at the collection of animal head balloons that Ronald is presenting to him. Ronald's eyebrows are raised as he seems to be satisfied with the answer that the little boy has given. Though it is not shown, one can assume the little boy is unphased by the gruesome imagery placed in front of him. Otherwise, the little boy would not have been so quick to point at which bloody animal head he wants. With the boy's tummy sticking out while choosing something from the face of a renowned fast food place, clearly illustrates the concept of unhealthy eating habits. The young boy shows signs of how eating at such institutes can lead to the negative outcome of obesity. It's a simple and straight to the point piece that captures all the horrific elements of fast-food restaurants.

The choice of Kuczynski showing the boy's obesity by having his large tummy stick out represents the detrimental health hazards fast food can have. Fast-food is extremely fast to serve to customers, as the name suggests, but many people don't seem to link the timing with the quality of fast-food. Many diseases and illnesses are caused by eating these quick-paced meals such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as stated by the Food Empowerment Project. This is no longer an enjoyable meal that one can have with their loved ones, this is a growing epidemic. Many Americans don't view this as a gateway to cancer, because it very much is the norm to them. The Food Empowerment Project also identified that "eating fast-food more than twice a week" is linked to a "higher risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and death from coronary disease." This is crucial information as nearly half of Americans eat fast food at least once a week as mentioned by the Food Empowerment Project. The emphasis on how these horrible side-effects of eating at these well-established fast-food chains can ruin one's entirety is apparent. The low cost of fast food items and its questionably great taste is what entices Americans to not give up on their American dream meal. Not only did Kuczynski make a standing point by clearly highlighting the little boy's overweight concerns but he chose a child as the victim instead of an adult. It's quite interesting because kids are the most vulnerable and companies can take advantage of these kids with their plastic-like food. A 2016 survey has shown a 12% increase in children buying fast food since the survey was done back in 2010 according to the Food Empowerment Project. The new generation will be living in despair as they are going to live a not-so sustainable lifestyle for themselves. As for Kuczynski's choice for choosing McDonald's to represent all of the fast-food industry is accurate for the nation. McDonald's is notorious for selling toys with their kid's meal as it is only a marketing scheme to bring more consumers to buy their non-nutritious food. Though fast food is an accessible way to build up one's calorie intake, it is certainly not the most efficient approach of doing so.

Not only is fast food lethal to the bodies of many Americans but it's also destroying the land they live on. Climate change is a part of the current status quo for it's an environmental issue that has to be reduced. With the planet heating up, carbon emissions are only worsening those effects. As Americans swear they will protect the land they love, they need to put their words into action before it is too late. The food system that includes the large fast-food industry accounts for around "25% of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of water use and 38% of land use" (Hadjikakou). These numbers should be a major warning sign to the nation as the high demand for unhealthy fast food promotes these major losses in the environment. The only mainstream solution is to have more "sustainable diets" that will positively decrease these high percentages (Hadjikakou). As shown in Kuczynski's painting, Ronald Mcdonald is holding a selection of animals that one can assume is to produce animal-derived foods that are normally available in most fast food places such as hamburgers, hotdogs, and bacon. These animal-derived meals have a much more damaging environmental footprint than plant-based foods (Hadjikakou). Plant-based foods undoubtedly use fewer amounts of land and water which is more tenable for rescuing the environment (Hadjikakou). Hadjikakou highlights the fact that plant-based diets are the most efficient in sustainability for the atmosphere. Fast food corporations' tactics to attract customers to pull up to the drive-thru to get their mouth-watering greasy fries is tampering with the natural state of the world. Americans need to be more conscious about the environment and where the food that they put on their dining tables come from. If the nation continues to revel in these plastic-like foods that are unexceptional, many Americans will see their beloved land cripple right in front of them.

All matters considered, fast food companies dominate American's unhealthy eating mannerisms that could cost their lives and the land of opportunity. Kuczynski illustrates the obsession that Americans have with fast food and being oblivious to its atrocious outcomes. With malignant diseases coming out of eating at such institutions, the nation should be more aware of what they choose to put inside their bodies. Furthermore, the United States will eventually collapse into anguish if the citizens continue to consume fast food that is already murdering the environment. Modern problems require modern solutions, which is to stop giving these money-hungry corporations hard-earned cash for the food that is noxious for the planet's health. Americans need to stop giving into fast-food companies' elaborate strategies as fast food places have fooled the nation once more before.

Holt [Contributor] - / 7,895 2170  
Feb 4, 2020   #2
There are only 2 sections of this essay that I have a problem with. The first, is the introduction of the American Dream as a nightmare related to food. The American Dream is more identified with the possibility of dreams and ambitions becoming a reality. It is rarely, if at all, associated with food, fast-food, and health. I found myself lost when the painting was suddenly introduced in the second paragraph. Maybe finding a better introduction that ties in the fast-food epidemic with the painting would be better. The American dream reference sounds a bit forced and doesn't create a seamless introduction to the actual topic, which is the painting. Then, the sudden shift to climate change later on in the discussion doesn't really connect well with the fast-food and painting discussion. It is either you need to create a better transition paragraph, or you should better present the climate change discussion in a manner that reflects its meaning or reason within the painting. The paper in itself is interesting to read, when focused only on the painting discussion. The other parts tend to muddle the discussion. Nothing that good editing and better transitioning won't fix though.


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