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The 7 - Movies & TV - 30 days of Islam
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too-old-now
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#1 Posted on 30.6.05 1417.31
Reposted on: 30.6.12 1418.04
Did anyone else catch Morgan Spurlock's latest episode, where he recruited a devout Christian friend to go live in a Muslim community for 30 days.

I thought this episode was a bit choppy, but still I rate it highly.

As someone who was raised Catholic, and studied comparative theology at a Jesuit college, with in-depth emphasis on Islam, I recall some of the same issues being discussed then.

The focus of the episode seemed to be on UNDERSTANDING each other and mutual respect, and I think it scored here.

A couple of highlights for me were

the stares noticed at the airport,

the language barrier - Dave was reluctant to join in prayer as he was unsure of what was being said, and he didn't want to compromise his own beliefs, finally to the point he sought assistance beyond the spiritual adviser provided beforehand

the explanation as to why women pray behind the men (so the men don't check out the women's asses)

Morgan's cartoon examples describing the basics of the belief systems.

I wasn't sure how well the series would do without Morgan himself more heavily involved (the minimum wage episode was also very good) as discussed in an earlier thread, but I'm glad it seems to be working well enough.
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CubsWoo
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#2 Posted on 30.6.05 1835.46
Reposted on: 30.6.12 1836.01
After reading about the behind-the-scenes stuff, I wasn't too sold on the show. From Debbie Schlussel's column (opinionjournal.com):


    Last year, I received a request to appear on Mr. Spurlock's new reality show, "30 Days." The episode for which I was being recruited, "Inside an American Muslim Family," airs next Wednesday. It features Mr. Spurlock's childhood friend from West Virginia, David Stacy, spending 30 days "living as a Muslim" in the Detroit area.

    While Mr. Spurlock is often referred to as a journalist, and touts "30 Days" as a "documentary," the outcome of the show was decided before production began. A show summary sent to me before taping said: "This process aims to deconstruct common misconceptions and stereotypes. . . . Our character will learn firsthand about Islam and the daily issues that . . . Muslims in America face today. The viewers will witness our character emerge from the immersion situation with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Muslim-American experience. . . . The potential is great for this program to enlighten a national television audience about the Muslim American experience and increase their compassion, understanding and support."

    And indeed, The Wall Street Journal's own Dorothy Rabinowitz, writing about the show last week from a preview tape, noted that Mr. Stacy, by the end of his 30 days, "has become so enlightened that he is pronouncing, if incomprehensibly, on the meaning of Islam, his knowledge of the Quran, the real definition of jihad."

    I asked the show's executive producers--all of whom worked on "The Awful Truth With Michael Moore," a cable TV show--how this could be a documentary when they had decided the outcome in advance. Wasn't it possible that Mr. Stacy would come out seeing that there isn't Islamophobia to the extent that the Muslim community claims? Might he see that there is disturbingly strong support in the Detroit-area Islamic community for terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah--a fact regularly documented even in the normally pliant Detroit media?

    No, the producers told me. "Morgan wants the show to demonstrate to America that we are Islamophobic and that 9/11's biggest victims are Muslims." With this in mind, I agreed to be filmed only with final approval of my appearance, which I never gave. Thus I will not appear in Wednesday's show.

    When I met David Stacy, about halfway through his 30-day experience, I was amazed at how uninformed he was. This new "expert" on Islam never heard of Wahhabism--the extremist Sunni strain of Islam that dominates Saudi Arabia and informs the terrorist-breeding madrassa schools throughout Arab and other Muslim lands. He was unfamiliar with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. He did not believe me when I told him that Hezbollah had murdered hundreds of U.S. Marines and civilians in Beirut and elsewhere. He seemed mystified to learn that President Bush shut down American Islamic charities, like the Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, for funding Hamas and al Qaeda.

    ...When I told Mr. Spurlock's executive producer that I felt David Stacy was, well, a moron, she replied that Imam Husham Al-Husainy, a prominent Dearborn Shia cleric, "said the same thing" and refused to continue teaching him about Islam for the show. The biggest morons, though, will be not Mr. Stacy but the critics and viewers who fall for this supersized phony "documentary."


Of course, this is from the guy who nearly won an Oscar by telling us that if we eat McDonalds for 30 days, 3 meals a day, and avoid as much movement as physically possible, we might just gain weight and have health problems. Spurlock is starting to drift into Moore territory - and he's already got Moore's old producers working for him.

(edited by CubsWoo on 30.6.05 1837)
Torchslasher
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#3 Posted on 30.6.05 2048.37
Reposted on: 30.6.12 2048.55
That is some shady stuff right there (referring to the column from Debbie Schussel). I was already leaning toward the opinion that this was definitely not a documentary and thus had more of an agenda, and now I know I'm right.

After watching the previews of next week (another "right-winger learns about the other side" episode, this one about a conservative who has to live in San Francisco and learn about the "gay" lifestyle), it does seem to not be exactly "above board" in its earnestness and objectivity.

That being said, I watched the Muslim episode, and I didn't think that Dave Stacy was a moron. In fact, he showed intelligence in wanting to learn more about prayer before observing that practice (he wanted to know what he was saying and if it compromised his religious beliefs). The first "advisor" that he went to didn't have the answers Dave needed (and even seemed to be trying to egg Dave on), so Dave went to someone else.
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#4 Posted on 1.7.05 0706.32
Reposted on: 1.7.12 0706.55
Insider drama aside--wasn't one of the most interesting things that Dave got stopped and starred at (which he was able to admit had NEVER happened to him before)? I admired that he wanted to know what he was saying/praying, etc. Policitcal waxings aside--I still think there is much to be garnered from this show.
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#5 Posted on 2.7.05 1234.49
Reposted on: 2.7.12 1235.12
I really wish this show was broadcast in Canada. I'm fascinated by Islam, and Id love see how the episode turned out.
It's False
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#6 Posted on 2.7.05 1520.23
Reposted on: 2.7.12 1520.43
This series has been very good, although I'm not sure how long Spurlock can keep the hits coming.

But even if this show lasts only one season, I can see the inevitable DVD set becoming a cult classic if marketed properly.
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#7 Posted on 7.7.05 1249.42
Reposted on: 7.7.12 1249.44
    Originally posted by CubsWoo
    Of course, this is from the guy who nearly won an Oscar by telling us that if we eat McDonalds for 30 days, 3 meals a day, and avoid as much movement as physically possible, we might just gain weight and have health problems.


Except that McDonald's was actually saying that their food was healthy enough for people to do this. Which we all know is a load of crap, but until someone went out there and did the obvious, was a statement that couldn't be countered by hard evidence.

McDonald's does not say the truth, which is "Our food is not very healthy and shouldn't be eaten very often, only as the occasional treat" because that'd ruin their sales; instead they hammer the drum as loudly as they can that they're a perfectly viable eating alternative. SSM called them to the carpet on that; only after the movie did well did McD start making serious menu changes that would actually push them towards being a viable alternative that won't kill you. Notice you can't GET supersized fries anymore.

As for having a predrawn conclusion nullifying the documentary status, I don't think that's the case. EVERY documentary out there has a purpose and a statement it's trying to prove, even if it's just "Here's an accurate representation of the mating rituals of lemmings" or something. The footage they present, the order of shots, the editing, everything moves towards the purpose -- and even something as harmless as lemming mating could be skewed to an interpretation that decieves. The Wonderful World of Disney started the whole lemmings-over-a-cliff "fact" by literally driving them off a cliff on purpose.

If a documentary has to be 100% objective fact finding then the only way to accomplish it is to drop a pile of unedited videotapes on you can call it a day.
CubsWoo
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#8 Posted on 7.7.05 1633.44
Reposted on: 7.7.12 1634.16
This isn't an issue where there's just a notion of how the documentary would go. This is a documentary director deciding that regardless of what actually went on during filming, that the footage that was contrary or disproved the way he wanted the show to go cut, removed, unimportant. It's like if I said I wanted to document flipping a coin and having it land heads 20 times in a row. Coin lands tails? We can't have that - cut it!

RE McDonalds: Honestly, if you needed a 2 hour documentary to tell you that getting a Big Mac value meal was very likely not a good health choice, that's a big problem. After the film came out, nutritionists DID show you could eat healthy at McDonalds - Spurlock's rules were pretty flawed. Getting one of their big salads, or a single cheeseburger with a small order of fries would have been much more health-friendly, but it sure as hell isn't as interesting a documentary as him waddling up for a super-sized Double Quarter Pounder combo.

And it was stupid, stupid, STUPID for McDonalds to remove the Super Size option. Nobody twisted your arm to get the largest size. I'm an adult, I should have the choice to Super Size it if I feel like it.
Karlos the Jackal
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#9 Posted on 7.7.05 1731.23
Reposted on: 7.7.12 1731.54
    Originally posted by CubsWoo
    This isn't an issue where there's just a notion of how the documentary would go. This is a documentary director deciding that regardless of what actually went on during filming, that the footage that was contrary or disproved the way he wanted the show to go cut, removed, unimportant.


Eh, I dunno. If the guy is -- as the column says -- Spurlock's "childhood friend," then they probably knew him well enough to be pretty confident that he'd "emerge from the immersion situation with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Muslim-American experience."

Is the set-up tilted to one side? Sure! (Now that I think about it, some of that set-up is inherently necessary since they had to get a guy who was willing to go through this experience in the first place, which automatically tilts the odds in their favor.) And clearly they have (and get) to choose which footage to show.

But I don't think it's a question of saying, "no matter what happens, we'll twist the facts to fit our agenda" so much as setting up the situation such that they were pretty sure of what would happen (which is the case with Super Size Me, as well). That seems less sinister (and kind of obvious) to me.

Anyone see this week's show? Even though the guy realized that many of his previously held stereotypes were wrong (and how could he not?), he sure didn't change his core premise, which is that homosexuality was a sin. And again, they necessarily have to find a guy who would be willing to do this -- if he was really homophobic, he would've refused to go. It's an unavoidable truism of the show that the subject must be at least a little open-minded.

    Originally posted by Torchslasher
    After watching the previews of next week (another "right-winger learns about the other side" episode, this one about a conservative who has to live in San Francisco and learn about the "gay" lifestyle), it does seem to not be exactly "above board" in its earnestness and objectivity.


I was trying to figure out what they could do in the "mainstream culture person learns about subculture" mode while making it "left-winger learns about the other side." It's difficult for me to think of ways to do this; if we had switched the premise of the last two shows, for instance -- Muslim deals with living in a white Christian world, gay man deals with living in a white Christian world -- that's kind of like, you know, actual everyday life and kinda boring. There must be a ton of possibilities that just aren't occurring to me right now. Any ideas?

Next weeks show seems more apolitical -- city dwellers live "off the grid" -- but I guess it'll depend on the political leanings of the subjects and their hosts -- tree-lovin' hippies? Or survivalist militiamen? (I think I'd be more interested in seeing the latter, actually.)

--K
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#10 Posted on 7.7.05 1800.13
Reposted on: 7.7.12 1800.14

    RE McDonalds: Honestly, if you needed a 2 hour documentary to tell you that getting a Big Mac value meal was very likely not a good health choice, that's a big problem. After the film came out, nutritionists DID show you could eat healthy at McDonalds - Spurlock's rules were pretty flawed. Getting one of their big salads, or a single cheeseburger with a small order of fries would have been much more health-friendly, but it sure as hell isn't as interesting a documentary as him waddling up for a super-sized Double Quarter Pounder combo.


Yes, I personally feel it's stupid it takes a documentary to get people to stop eating McDonalds all the time. But the simple fact is, it take this documentary for some people, and whatever it took, them not eating McDonalds all the time is a good thing.

Also, their salads are made with ingredients completely devoid of the nutrients you should be getting from vegetables. Iceburg lettace and white tomotoes is not eating healthy, it's eating less fat, big difference.
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#11 Posted on 8.7.05 0806.48
Reposted on: 8.7.12 0807.02
    Originally posted by CubsWoo
    This isn't an issue where there's just a notion of how the documentary would go. This is a documentary director deciding that regardless of what actually went on during filming, that the footage that was contrary or disproved the way he wanted the show to go cut, removed, unimportant. It's like if I said I wanted to document flipping a coin and having it land heads 20 times in a row. Coin lands tails? We can't have that - cut it!

    RE McDonalds: Honestly, if you needed a 2 hour documentary to tell you that getting a Big Mac value meal was very likely not a good health choice, that's a big problem. After the film came out, nutritionists DID show you could eat healthy at McDonalds - Spurlock's rules were pretty flawed. Getting one of their big salads, or a single cheeseburger with a small order of fries would have been much more health-friendly, but it sure as hell isn't as interesting a documentary as him waddling up for a super-sized Double Quarter Pounder combo.

    And it was stupid, stupid, STUPID for McDonalds to remove the Super Size option. Nobody twisted your arm to get the largest size. I'm an adult, I should have the choice to Super Size it if I feel like it.


Did you watch the Movie? There were a few premises:

1. He had to eat every single menu item at least once during the 30 days.

2. He would only SuperSize an item if the employee asked.

And as Messenior said--their salads are that healthy either.

Click Here for a McDonald's site that allows you to examine their nutritional information by item.

I remember when this info use to be on the paper food tray covers that they gave you.

CubsWoo
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#12 Posted on 11.7.05 1516.07
Reposted on: 11.7.12 1516.09
Right - but that doesn't mean the premise isn't flawed. Spurlock was eating 4000-5000 calories a day and avoiding as much physical exercise as humanly possible. It's a classic example of twisting a subject to meet whatever agenda you'd like.

Now, if he'd done it like the http://www.mcles.com/ (McLes Diet) (that is, eat a moderate amount of calories a day, and keep up an exercise program) you can LOSE weight and improve your blood pressure while eating McDonalds every day for 30 days.

If you take Spurlock as an entertainer and not a documentary filmmaker, it's easier to swallow what he brings to you. But he wants to be known for documentaries, and that's going to draw stricter criticism.
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#13 Posted on 12.7.05 0653.49
Reposted on: 12.7.12 0653.54
Are you implying that documentaries never have any shred of agenda in them? Because that would suggest that people live without bias, which suggests that people don't bring their unique experiences and perspcteives to everything they encounter--and I don't buy that.

I'm a fit person and I sure as hell know that *I* can eat McDonald's while exercising 5 times a week and be healthy but most people can't. Moreover, I choose to NOT eat it evryday so I can be in better shape than I would be if I did eat it more often. In fact, most people, on average, don't exercise enough and don't monitor what they eat closely enough. People drink soda, eat snacks and play video games. What's more, these things are marketed at children who are, year by year, becoming more sedentary and more obese.

To suggest that ANY fast food is healthy, to me, is treading on dangerous ground. There ARE people who, because of job schedule (i.e., being on the road, living out of a car) eat fast food all the time and don't find time to exercise. They rotate between McDonald's and Burger King and Wendy's and Chipotle, etc.

So, to me, his point is well taken--if you eat this (food rich in sugars, fat, processed ingredients) all the time and don't exercise--you risk your health (which a gazillin studies have proven). Further--this food really isn't that good for you to begin with; He goes beyond Micky D's to talk about processed foods in general, especially the foods we serve in our schools.

Thankfully, there are new, stricter guidelines about school lunch programs that are basically going to stop the proliferation on unhealthy food in schools. No more candy bar sales, snack machines, etc. Should be interesting.

Everything in moderation. But when have the masses of Americans ever done ANYTHING in moderation? (That was a rhetorical question).
CubsWoo
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#14 Posted on 12.7.05 1107.20
Reposted on: 12.7.12 1107.32
The true test of a documentary filmmaker is that he or she doesn't let their bias get in the way of the film. But when Spurlock decides, before filming, that his films/shows are going to show one side, and only that one side, that makes me question if he's really being a documentarian or if he's just pushing a personal agenda.
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#15 Posted on 12.7.05 1225.11
Reposted on: 12.7.12 1225.28
    Originally posted by CubsWoo
    The true test of a documentary filmmaker is that he or she doesn't let their bias get in the way of the film. But when Spurlock decides, before filming, that his films/shows are going to show one side, and only that one side, that makes me question if he's really being a documentarian or if he's just pushing a personal agenda.


McD's claims, in the lawsuit against them, that no one would EVER eat their food three times a day because EVERYONE knows that their food is unhealthy. Plus, the judge said there was no data on the effects of someone eating that food for every mean

The two girls that sued said that they had McD's almost every meal and were not warned of the dangers.

Spurlock decided to take on the judge and McD's and eat the food for 30 days.

What other side was there to show? Eating that vegetarian stuff his now wife wanted him to eat for 30 days?
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#16 Posted on 12.7.05 1825.40
Reposted on: 12.7.12 1825.51
I think CubsWoo's comment was about *this* documentary, "30 Days Of Islam", as CubsWoo mentioned earlier.


    Originally posted by Cubswoo

    While Mr. Spurlock is often referred to as a journalist, and touts "30 Days" as a "documentary," the outcome of the show was decided before production began. A show summary sent to me before taping said: "This process aims to deconstruct common misconceptions and stereotypes. . . . Our character will learn firsthand about Islam and the daily issues that . . . Muslims in America face today. The viewers will witness our character emerge from the immersion situation with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Muslim-American experience. . . . The potential is great for this program to enlighten a national television audience about the Muslim American experience and increase their compassion, understanding and support."
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#17 Posted on 12.7.05 1847.12
Reposted on: 12.7.12 1847.19
    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
    I think CubsWoo's comment was about *this* documentary, "30 Days Of Islam", as CubsWoo mentioned earlier.


If that's the case then I was way off. CW and DrOp were going back and forth between "30 Days" and "SSM."

My reply was in reference to his last two posts in the thread, one of which reference the McLess diet.

I hope that clears up any confusion (by me).
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#18 Posted on 12.7.05 1918.41
Reposted on: 12.7.12 1919.06
    Originally posted by Zeruel
    Plus, the judge said there was no data on the effects of someone eating that food for every meal


There is no data that shows jumping out of a plane at several thousand feet will kill you every time, either. Any hope Spurlock will take up the challenge?
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#19 Posted on 18.7.05 1701.54
Reposted on: 18.7.12 1702.07
Speaking of Spurlock, there's a blog now that does nothing but fact checks his claims...pretty interesting. He had better tighten up his ship if he wants to be taken seriously.

http://spurlockwatch.typepad.com/
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