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June 19, 2005

SPURLOCK ON MINIMUM WAGE:

What's up on the screen is a simple, hard truth: it is possible for two healthy young Americans (a) to virtually immediately find living quarters and work in an unfamiliar city (b) at or around minimum wage, and (c) to live on same with certain hardships for 30 days thereafter.

Spurlock (Super Size Me) and his producers designed the show as propaganda for minimum wage hikes, socialized child care, and expanded social insurance. The realities of the situation dilute the purity of the intended message in interesting ways.

First and foremost all those minimum wage jobs are scarcer than the producers apparently thought. All the easily-found jobs pay more than minimum wage. Spurlock signs on with a temp agency at $7/hr; his companion Jamieson dickers her wage down to minimum so as to not cheat the show's premise. (Spurlock quits when he finds deductions bring his take home down to a measly $4.26. This is important. We return to the puzzle of his deductions shortly.)

Read the whole thing, for some questions that other reviewers seem to have missed.

More story ideas for Spurlock, at Michael Duff's place.