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Book Review One

Welcome to the jungle.

For some clandestine assignment that I cannot reveal on pain of non-payment, I was given the book “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser to read and review. This book is about the rise and plateau (though Eric calls it a fall) of the fast food industry in America…and all the blood-covered boots it has taken to get there.

I smell that this guy REALLY digs Upton Sinclair. He cleverly references “The Jungle” in order to throw me off the trail, but I see through the severed arms and slit jugulars. Eric Schlosser is Upton Sinclair reincarnated. I’m not making fun of him. (Here.) I believe that maybe the points about the dangers of meatpacking needed a modern revival, and who better than Upton Sinclair’s reincarnation?

I’m not calling plagiarism here. You know why? Because high school was exactly one million years ago and I don’t remember much about The Jungle, other than it made me hungry during third period to talk about all that raw meat.

I do think, however that Schlosser thinks that Americans have our big collective head in the sand, and up our asses, about I fast food preparation. I say “our” because I am an American. The author dignifiedly maintains his journalistic objectivity. You will never get that from me, I promise.

I, and many of my fast-food eating colleagues, are extremely aware of what goes on behind the counter. I had a good friend who counted the grease stalactites under the grill at a fast food joint in Oklahoma before laying on his back in sour mop water only to mingle his salty tears with the aged gray fluid in utter futility as he shoved the snaggle-toothed Company broom through the darkness to attempt to knock off years of hardened, dripping grime. Middle-class teenage torture…a medium-sized lesson in reality.

So I’m reading along, ready to never walk into a fast food again because I am so convinced he’s going to convince me that fast food chains are selling soilent green that I forget to be mad and realize that I’m…hungry.

Damn it all! That’s another reason I think he’s Upton Sinclair. Who else writes so well about rancid meat and human blood mixing with meat blood that I want to go out and buy some? And I did! I have eaten McDonald’s twice since I started reading that book. The last time was six months ago. I think he was hired by McDonald’s for advertising. I smell a conspiracy in my car. That’s where the McDonald’s grease smell has a half-life of approximately 800 years.

My favorite character is J.R. Simplot. He basically re-invented the french fry, making it possible for me to go spend two bucks and shove the entire pack of fries in my mouth at once. I wish I could have met the potato baron and rolled around in his dank warehouses on his nuggety pillows of pure starch.

I believe that some of what is said in this book is valid, but I also believe that we made fat-asses of ourselves, therefore we are not victims in that regard. I have driven a cab before and met people who work in packinghouses after their shifts. It’s a crappy, horrid job. And they smell bad, and apparently, the smell doesn’t wash off.

My heart foes out to the guy who rips the hearts out of cows for a living. All I can say is, if we want to get rid of the meat industry, we are all going to have to become vegetarians. You say you want a revolution…

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