October 17, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 27  

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EDITORIAL & OPINIONS

Back underneath the golden arches

On the DL
David Lee

Sports Editor

I'm a media, information and technoculture student. I should know better.

I've constantly been told McDonald's is a soulless corporation and its efforts at advertising to children has created some of the worst branding in our society today. I've also heard (though never substantiated, admittedly) McDonald's is the world's number one destroyer of rain forests, so cattle ranchers have more room to graze their commodity.

Though I remain unsure as to how evil McDonald's really is, I have long concluded the food at McDonald's (mass-produced though it may be) tastes great. McDonald's still holds a special place in my heart next to my blocked McArtery.

I've known this for years, of course. Any visit to McDonald's when I was younger sparked a radical change in behaviour. My sisters and I would stop fighting and line-up with wide smiles before my mother piled us into the family station wagon. We'd never do drive-thru - part of the appeal was going into the restaurant to see all of our friends: Ronald, the maniacal clown; Grimace, the slow-witted mesomorph; Hamburgler, the dine-and-dash expert and the pseudo-Irish burger cop, Big Mac.

Then there were the birthday parties. Whether they took place in the train caboose in the parking lot or the basement McDonaldLand, McD's parties were guaranteed to be the talk of the school yard on Monday morning. There were the slides, merry-go-rounds and riot-inducing ball pits. There were boxes of cookies and that famed sugar-loaded orange drink. Ah, what a time it was.

But times have changed. From what I've seen, there's less reverence today when kids go to McDonald's. They certainly don't behave themselves like my sisters and I did when we went. They yell, they whine, they spill food and drinks with little regard of what they're missing out on. It's no longer a big deal for kids when they go to McDonald's, but just another stop on the "morbidly obese by age 10" tour.

Recently, I've been reading a book called Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. I've only finished the first half, which looks at the political economy behind McDonald's. It's very well-written and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone the least bit interested in fast food culture. However, I don't dare read the second half of the book - which dissects how the tastes of McDonald's are created - until I have at least one more fling with my childhood love. I know it could very well spell the end of my relationship with McDonald's and that somewhere, Mayor McCheese will cry a single, fat-laden tear.

 

 

 

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