I’m never going to McDonald’s again in my life. I hate the place. I’d rather eat sawdust and shoe leather like a stranded sailor and die of mania and scurvy. I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly why I detest the place so much, because it’s not just that McDonald’s food tastes like flavored feces.
Maybe it’s their annoying and insincere slogan: “McDonald’s, we love to see you smile.” Well that’s great. McDonald’s loves to see me smile. God bless you, McDonald’s, you and your magnanimous quest to spread joy!
First multiethnic consumer, age 14-35: “Hey guys! Should we go to Burger King or McDonald’s?”
Second multiethnic consumer, age 14-35: “Let’s go to McDonald’s! They love to see us have a good time!”
Here’s a more realistic slogan for you, McDonald’s: “McDonald’s, we love taking what little money you have and making you morbidly obese.” Or maybe instead: “McDonald’s, we love having our sketchy mascot give meat to your children, then pump them so full of our artery-clogging french fries that they become the wounded baby elephants of suburbia.” These are too long to be slogans, though. Maybe simply: “McDonald’s, our food will kill you”.
There’s a great disparity between what the food looks like in the commercials and the food that we actually get. The commercials boast hamburgers with crisp lettuce and thick, hearty burgers on fluffy rolls. What we actually get is a sloppy burger slathered with condiments and a burger with the girth of a CD.
Also, I don’t trust Ronald McDonald. There is just something a little off about him. He’s got that thin, freakish, bright red afro. And that red face-paint mashed all over his lips makes it look like he has blood all over his mouth, maybe because he personally bites the heads off of all the low-grade cattle at the McSlaughter House.
And for someone purporting to be a clown, he participates in suspiciously few clown-like activities. Clowns are supposed to make little balloon giraffes and do card tricks, not lure children into their maw by hiding behind a trash can, and then gleefully springing out in front of families wielding Grade-D cheeseburgers. I don’t want my kids following a grown man who has made a career of dressing up like a clown and asking children if they want a “happy” meal, a grown man who enjoys it a little too much when children frantically tug at his clown suit with their small, greedy hands.
I guess Ronald should be the least of my concerns when I go to McDonald’s. I should be concerned more about the Neanderthal man with an empty bag for a brain who is taking my order, furrowing his sloped brow in confusion as his gigantic ape hands fumble all over the Fisher Price/Chimp experiment-style cash register that McDonald’s uses, the one with little pictures of food on it.
These feelings of malaise and loathing aren’t about McDonald’s abysmal food, fake slogans, freakish clown-monsters, or even the parade of cerebral titans who man the registers and fryers. It’s the fact that McDonald’s is indicative of a greater appalling phenomenon within our society, a society where we all too readily sacrifice quality for speed, substance for efficiency.
We have more satellite televisions than novels; the national attention span is that of a 1960s acid burnout. Our movies are riddled with special effects, unrealistic violence and gratuitous sex; the scripts seem to be written by the same Neanderthal man who is nonplused by the McDonald’s register. And yet, the movies are still being made because we don’t have to think when we watch them, and America eats them up. Our music has reverted to simplistic, nondescript techno-pop with the lyrical depth of a kiddie pool, but it sells because people get drunk and dance like idiots to its “good-time” messages.
So next time the kids are screaming at you over the noise of their Gameboys to go to McDonald’s, threaten to drive the car off a cliff and kill them all.
John Phillips is a senior in Timothy Dwight College. This is his final regular column.