May 24, 2009

The truth is never beautiful.

I have never seen a documentary more vague or generalized, or sappy, than "The Beautiful Truth." Then again, "beauty" has always been such a hard thing to define, in a world than holds little "truth." The film is directed by Steve Kroschel, who narrates, while his son, Garrett, plays the part of interviewer and tool. The pair set off to investigate the claims of a Dr. Max Gerson, now deceased, who supposedly found a cure for cancer in 1928. The claim is bullshit, of course, but the film, its team, and the people they interview all believe otherwise.

One thing is for sure, that I am completely and utterly sick of every documentary comparing their antagonist to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. I have seen enough stock footage of an enraged Hitler, marching Nazis, and Holocaust corpses being tossed into ditches to fill a World War II documentary in itself. Comparing the food and medical industries to the Third Reich in the first ten minutes gave me a very good idea as to what to expect for the next eighty minutes.

Roughly halfway through the documentary I decided to do a bit of research on the subject myself. I stopped the movie and came across several sites on the topic, and once I felt I had read plenty from enough various sources, I had to go against every fiber in my being to finish that overindulgent piece of shit in order to adequately review it.

Gerson's therapy is described as "an alternative dietary therapy which he claimed could cure cancer and most chronic, degenerative diseases. Gerson described his approach in the book 'A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases.' However, when Gerson's claims were independently evaluated by the National Cancer Institute, it was found that Gerson's records lacked the basic information necessary to systematically evaluate his claims, and the patients who were 'cured' by his treatment were also receiving standard, effective medical treatment simultaneously. The therapy is considered scientifically unsupported and potentially hazardous, and has been blamed for the deaths of patients who substituted it for standard medical care.”

In the film, they place the blame all on major food companies and the companies that supply farmers with chemicals for their crops, but never do they blame the FDA or hold it accountable. In fact, they basically come right out and say those words, when addressing a letter from the company Monsanto, "Assuring its safety is the FDA's job." The filmmakers did not agree. The FDA responded with: "Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety." The only thing this tells me is that the FDA serves no purpose. Yet, the filmmakers continue to go after the food industry, completely ignoring the FDA's responsibilities to the public.

At one point they even claim that Monsanto wants to implement a new "terminator technology" that would prevent farmers from saving seeds, leading to no new crops, thus creating mass starvation. I am not even going to go into how fucking moronic the claims of a food company wanting to starve its customers are.


Of course, they were also not above blaming the more popular leaders of recent history for the last century of supposed food crimes, such as Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft. For the individuals that did not give permission to the filmmakers to use interviews or even their photos, Garrett drew pathetic cartoons, sometimes even caricatures, so crude and demeaning that I half-expected one to have horns and hold a pitchfork by the end of the movie.

But what exactly are Gerson’s methods? "Gerson's therapy required the patient to consume raw vegan food and to drink an 8-ounce glass of fresh organic juices every waking hour. Coffee and castor oil enemas were among several types of prescribed enemas, and some patients were given hydrogen peroxide orally and rectally. Rectal ozone was also applied. Dietary supplements include vitamin C and iodine. The diet prohibited the drinking of water and consumption of berries and nuts, as well as use of aluminum vessels or utensils."

Coffee enemas. Check. Drink hydrogen peroxide. Check. Do not drink water. Check. Nothing could possibly go wrong. Could it? "Coffee enemas have contributed to the deaths of at least three people in the United States. Coffee enemas 'can cause colitis (inflammation of the bowel), fluid and electrolyte imbalances, and in some cases septicemia.'" Well, that was only three deaths. Not so bad. “Initially, patients were required to drink several glasses of raw calf liver extract daily. Following an outbreak of Campylobacter infection linked to the Gerson clinic's extract, which sickened and killed several of the clinic's patients, carrot juice was substituted.” Interestingly, none of this was ever mentioned in the film.

As the documentary progressed, and each "recorded case" of a person being cured was shown, but not proven, I began to wonder what it was that made each case a "success." I knew that there had to be something different for each kind of cancer. But apparently the coffee enema, carrot juice, and organic fruit and vegetable diet cures absolutely everything, from diabetes, to breast cancer, to fibromyalgia. The Gerson Therapy even cures muscular dystrophy. It would seem that by eating only organic foods and shooting a latte up your ass every so often, you can live forever.


Not once does the documentary ever try to explain how this diet cures cancer. Nor does it ever delve any deeper than surface level of the supposed cases where patients are cured. Each interview comes off as shallow as a diet pill commercial, simply claiming “it works, it really works.” What the documentary does attempt to do is alienate and demoralize people who eat fast food, meat, corn, wheat, sugar, beans, nuts, and berries, as well as people that go to hospitals, dentist offices, and supermarkets, and not to forget doctors, dentists, and anyone who works at a non-organic food company. We all know the dangers of genetically-altered foods and monosodium glutamate, the food additive amino acid that shuts off the part of your brain that tells you when to stop eating. But what the documentary claims is that the food we normally eat everyday gives us cancer and the Gerson diet cures cancer.

I found it to be a nice touch when, while on the road, Garrett is shown in the passenger seat eating fast food. The voice over of the narrator says he wanted to tell him not to, but that it was "his own choice." Well, he probably could have prevented that by not pulling into a McDonald's drive-thru when they were hungry. It was also a nice touch, for the sake of proving his point, to have him eat two Big Macs, two large fries, and a sundae, then have him supposedly throw-up on the plane ride three hours later. It all just played into the MSG information only five minutes prior. It was perfect timing.

The real truth is not beautiful. The foods we eat may be giving us cancer. The obesity epidemic is only in America, even though MSG is found in food all over the world now. Americans are fat because they do not know when to stop: food, war, money, power, entertainment, violence, etc. We are simply overindulgent. And despite all fucking claims to the contrary, the Gerson Therapy does not cure shit. Beauty itself is simply a vain lie.

"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong." -Thomas Jefferson

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