The CEO of McDonald’s said something yesterday that made me spit out a mouthful of Big Mac: “Ronald McDonald does not hawk food. He is a force for good.”
“Yeah, right,” I thought. “And The Hamburglar stands for justice.”
The CEO made his announcement at a Mickey D’s corporate board meeting to defend the giggly clown with the scarlet ‘fro. Nutrition advocates have insisted that Ronald pimps carbs to kids the way the phallic Joe Camel pushed tobacco, and you know what happened to Mr. Camel.
Before protesters start throwing bags of liposuctioned butt fat at freelance Ronalds, let’s acknowledge a few facts. We claim to prize health, but it’s really a skinny appearance at all costs we worship. And, of course, banishing Ronald to the Capitalist Icon Hall of Shame won’t erase the reality that salt, fat, and carbs in concentrated doses offer tangible pleasure to many people. Anyone for a new round of Prohibition? I didn’t think so.
Still, it’s stunning that the McDonald’s CEO would claim Ronald “does not hawk food.” He certainly doesn’t hawk ab loungers. All the Happy Meal apple slices in the world can’t obscure the fact that Ronald might as well be wearing a trenchcoat and handing out french fries in plastic baggies at the playground. He wants to instill a bad habit in children that will insure they are lifelong consumers of his product. That’s what companies do. Teaching moderation – not censoring clowns – is the way to combat the plan. And if I had a recipe for that, I’d be happier (and skinnier) than Mayor McCheese sitting in the Hamburger Patch.