May 23, 2011

This ignores the depressing fact that nearly all adults are likewise too gullible to discern when they”€™re being “€œmarketed to,”€ which is why advertisements aimed at adults even exist. Advertising by its very nature is selective in how it presents the facts, but legally they still have to be facts”€”which is not the same as lying.

Such semantic trifles matter not to those who hunger for “€œfood justice.”€ Although there’s absolutely nothing in the way of lies or falsities in the McDonald’s ads, children are being lied to because, well, they”€™re children, and when you lure them into your lair with your shiny toys, you”€™re still lying to them when you”€™re technically not telling them any lies, so, yes, this kind of speech can be silenced without it infringing upon the right to free speech.

How much more acid do I have to do before I begin to comprehend that sort of reasoning?

Law professor John Banzhaf claimed last week on television that the Ronald McDonald character “€œgoes into schools…and says to the kids, “€˜You can eat as much junk food as you want as long as you exercise enough,”€™ which is a lie….”€ Unless he presents documented evidence that the Ronald McDonald character has ever told kids anywhere that they can eat as much junk food as they want, I submit to the jury that the only one lying here is professor Banzhaf.

“€œI’d love to see Ronald McDonald retired,”€ Banzhaf added, “€œalthough I’d rather kill him off like we killed off Joe Camel.”€ Why, in the name of Willard Scott, should we trust a zealot who apparently tells lies about what Ronald McDonald says to kids”€”and who also, in his spare time, fantasizes about killing a cartoon character?

Much of the propaganda seeking to justify Ronald McDonald’s extermination is spewed by legal analysts who should have learned at some point in law school that correlation does not equal causation: Ronald McDonald appeared in the 1960s…children are now much fatter than they were in the 1960s…therefore, Ronald McDonald caused it. “€œSince Ronald’s conception, obesity rates have more than tripled among American children,”€ says one essayist. Another notes that “€œthe 6-to-11 age group…has seen obesity rates quadruple over the past 30 years, the same time that the Happy Meal has been on the market.”€

Sorry to be a dick about it, but is it impolite to suggest there are other possible causes for childhood obesity beyond Ronald McDonald? How about the fact that children exercise 20% less than they did in the 1970s while consuming only 3% more calories? Could their flabby asses be glued to the fact that six out of ten of them walked or biked to school in the seventies, while only one in ten does now? Might it be related to the stark reality that both mom and dad work now and still have less discretionary income, while in the seventies only dad worked?

Perish all such thoughts and stick to the script. The bogeymen are the evil corporations whose most recognizable public face is that of the sinister red clown who pushes cancer upon our children, those young and easily misled sprites who would really, really, really prefer to eat wheatgrass and tempeh if only they had the choice.

To their credit, McDonald’s issued a statement on Thursday basically telling their critics to go eat sprouts and that Ronald is an “€œambassador for good”€ whom they intend to keep alive for a long, long time.

I generally avoid McDonald’s and most fast foods, but I feel a lingering affection for the Ronald McDonald character and would like the McDonald’s Corporation to know that I have Ronald’s back if things should get ugly in the streets. This recent attack on one of America’s most enduring icons strikes me as yet another tiresome Frankfurt School admonition to destroy the host culture’s altars and tear down its images. I”€™m here to warn you that we will not let Ronald go lightly. He has more charisma in one of his flaming-red fake pubic hairs than you have in your entire bodies. To show my solidarity, I”€™m going out right now to buy a Happy Meal. The wife and kid will split the food for lunch, and neither one will be the fatter for it. And the kid will have a toy he can keep, which is more than you bitter and delusional burgerphobes have ever bothered to give him. For all your enlightenment, you show a rare degree of meanness that you are too blinded by your wisdom to see.



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