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Feb 14, 2006

Cartoon Wars: Here's What You Can Do With Your Egg McMuffin

Ronaldmcd

Any irony to the fact that this crappy food and this stupid icon is considered America's primary cultural export?

This is not a new point, but... looking at this guy seeming to contort Ron's leg, it makes me think about how the Danish cartoons (simply) constituted a "tipping point" for Islamic frustration over more serious physical degradation, symbolized by Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Bagram....

Maybe McD's shouldn't have to be concerned about such things, but shouldn't RMcD be fastened down so he can't just be carted off?

As a slightly surreal clown character, isn't RMcD essentially a 3-D manifestation of a cartoon?

There was a point in time where I was interested in the psychological effects of color.  Although there are many aesthetic and design conventions having to do with color, the research was inconclusive in relation to uniform psychological effects.  Still, there is something inherently sickly about that bright yellow and red.  And is there something "prison-ish" about those horizontal red stripes?

And what about the symbolism of the quintessential "slave wage customer service" uniform RMcD has on?  Here's my frickin name tag.  Here's my frickin order pad.  Here's my frickin corporate logo.  (Isn't Lahore, by the way, a major location for western telemarketing call centers?)


(image: Arif Ali/Reuters.  February 14, 2006.  Lahore, Pakistan.  Via YahooNews)

Comments

Ronald is looking very caucasian in that photo. He's a foriegner. I look at his expression and he doesn't seem to understand what's going on around him.

The other expressions are interesting too. The one guy is obviously pissed. There are some people in the back that are just calmly watching what's going on. Everyone else is super amused. It's pretty rare to see people smiling that much unless they are professional actors in an Old Navy advertisement or something.

Fake garish plastic vs. real human beings. I can't help but side with these guys. I wonder how other Americans see this? Do you think it will scare some people?

McDonalds isn't a symbol of AMERICA! They are an international corporation! They are no more a symbol of the US than say Pizza Hut would be a symbol of Italy. I think most Americans could agree those "hamburgers" are little more than a pale watery mockery of good diner food anyway.

McDonalds is a foreign place, an international zone that looks the same in every country. I'll tell you what it symbolizes globalizm.

But, if we started to think of ourselves as Ronald well, then, we've already lost. Have we lost whatever scraps of unique "American culture" we might have had once?

The yellow and red is mustard and kestup—but not real mustard, the bright yellow stadium kind. Ronald started as a folk icon for a roadside stand. He might have had charm and appeal then. He was kept in service out of corporate tradition and theories of brand loyalty. Now they have consumer scientists calibrating the width of the strips of his socks.

Ronald is fastened down, look closer, he's still on his bench! :)

They're just taking him and the bench away. I'm not sure they could have done much more to fasten him down since I suspect the bench itself was once fastened down.

It looks like an inverted crucifixion.

"Tipping point" is a good way to explain it.

I am curious as to what other people feel when looking at this picture. Is it frightening, or do you kind of feel yourself cheering them on, if only inside your head? Poor Ronald McDonald does look clueless...

There's the Golden Arches over behind them; did they pull Ronald this far? Or maybe he was just sitting on his bench closer to where they are now.

This is one of the primary cultural exports, but don't forget TV and movies. Baywatch used to run on one of the Asian (which includes most of the Middle East)satellite channels, and it advertised itself as the most watched TV show in the world. So that's the message that gets sent out.

I don't know if Lahore (Pakistan) has calling centers, but Bangalore (India) has a lot.

So much for Thomas Friedman's 'Golden Arches' democratic peace theory (no two countries with a MickeyDs would ever dust it up)...

It does look like a crucifixion, but I don't think Ronald gives a shit: Look at that grin on his face! You want fries with that, punk? What a cold-hearted killa!

A group of men and boys attack a seemingly indestructible statue of Ronald. What is he made of? Fiberglass over bronze? He seems impervious to the mens' attempt to damage him. The men and boys look jubilant, but that's no surprise since Ronald is the Chief Happiness Officer at McDonald's. The McDonald's is in what looks like a somewhat upscale shopping plaza. There's a cameraman in the background (in addition to the photographer who took the picture shown here). The men are obviously aware that they're being photographed--does this spur them on? Probably eventually, the men and boys gave up trying to trash the statue and moved on. This indestructible Ronald mirrors the strength of global corporations who, like this statue, can easily withstand the anger of ordinary citizens. And do it with a smile.

Would you like fries with your sheikh?

The current TE has the "cartoon wars" as the cover.
I totally misunderestimated the legs of this story.

Looks to me like a bunch of mostly kids having great fun doing silly stuff (the guy in white looks greatly irritated and as if he is trying to push the clown back upright).

Basically though, it seems to be a tug of war (only with pushing) between three or four people, with an amused audience, and with no visible stress among any of them, except for the guy in white, who is probably an oldest child and might work for McDonalds ;).

Have we(Americans)given the impression that we worship Ronald McDonald as one might worship God? Is Ronald McD a prophet? Are they attacking the clown because they think that will upset us? Does it? I wonder how this icon of American "culture" has been allowed to exist in that context in the first place. My inclination is to cheer them on. They may be reacting to the Mohammed cartoons, but they could just as easily be reacting to the commodification/homogenization of culture. I find it embarassing that Ronald represents the United States to the rest of the world.

I'm sure that they don't think Americans worship Ronald McDonald. But they see this whole thing as the West insulting Islam, and the U.S. is right in there, even if it's not specifically involved in the cartoon issue. They're sick of condescending statements that describe them and their religion as ignorant and uncivilized. They're sick of being told what do by the U.S. (How many times do I see headlines like "Condoleeza Rice demands that government X do this" or "Condoleeza Rice threatens government Y if they don't do this"?) Many of these people resent this and resent their own government's... shall we say.... "capitulation" to these demands.

Basically, they're saying, "We're mad as hell
and we're not going to take it any more." This controversy will probably calm down, but a lot of rulers must be very worried that one of these days, the Muslim world might really stand up and say that, and really mean it.

More like this "Icon" of the west is the only thing within their reach that won't fight back.

McDonalds in Pakistan? LOL!!! I am sure that McDonalds does a slammin business there as well. KFC too! What about the Taco Bell's?

ooohhhhhh!! owwwww! It hurts when you deface corporate property in belief that anyone besides McDonalds gives a flip about it. HAHAHAHAHA!

If this type of hate is the word of the day in Pakistan, then stop buying western crap! DOH! Stop eating the KFC chicken, the Big Mac's, and stand for something besides destruction and killing over a stupid cartoon. That is right, stop going to these western establishments to get your food. Harrassing Ronald in this fashion just proves how insecure and immature these "protestors" are. Get over it.

anybody remember that cartoon about pulling down Saddam's statue in that square in Baghdad? The cartoonist showed Americans replacing the destroyed statue of Saddam Hussein with a huge one of Ronald McDonald, while Iraqis looked on nervously. It may still be on Slate's cartoon website.

I thought about that cartoon when I saw this picture in light of the cartoon controversy. Like it or not Ron McD stands for American culture, and many people in the world do not want their cultures replaced by this junk.

ummabdulla: I am curious as to what other people feel when looking at this picture. Is it frightening, or do you kind of feel yourself cheering them on, if only inside your head?

It makes me want to go to the nearest fast food joint and do this. Right now. Globalism has gone too far. DOWN WITH MCDONALDS!!!!!! Emotionally I'm on their side.

This is one of the primary cultural exports, but don't forget TV and movies.

Do the exports say anything about the people? Why do we let these products become a symbol of who we are?

marganonymous: I find it embarrassing that Ronald represents the United States to the rest of the world.

Me too!

marysz : This indestructible Ronald mirrors the strength of global corporations who, like this statue, can easily withstand the anger of ordinary citizens. And do it with a smile.

As long as we think there is no way to change things there will be no way to change things. I think these recent crisis have scared the guard of the status quo more than they will ever admit.

I've been wanting to do the same thing to that stupid clown for a long time.

Seriously, does anyone like clowns?

ANN, Condi's inflammatory commandments might incite CEO's for a chat about future collateral damage.
Ronald leads McDonald's with $ 19.1 billion in revenues, will Walt's, Mickey with 31.9 billion be next ?

MARYZ your "smile" survival analysis of G/Corps is unhappily correct.
but to ANN's "... their own government's... shall we say.... "capitulation" ( I say US supported ) but agree that dictatorships being deposed though internal struggles has a greater potential for putting a lot of smiles on faces in the Muslim world

COY its less life threatening for protesters to get at Pervez Musharraf thought Ronald, the cartoon by the way is simply one insult which has become a catalyst in protesting the on going threats, destruction and slaughter from uninvited foreigners into Muslim lands. Defacing property is a minor misdemeanor compared to the criminal acts that have defaced thousands of people and continue to do so at this very minute

TINA, remember a US soldier covering Saddam's Statue (staged photo op) with the Stars and Stripes very telling until an Iraq flag was quickly found.

Fear, Fantasy, and fast Foods are major US exports, from this foreigners perception.

Yeah, I know "what did the Romans ever do for us?" right?

If Fear, Fantasy, and Fast Foods are what you consider to be major US exports, you are delusional. The attack on the supposed "icon" to "get to" Musharraf shows the childlike (immature) nature of the control YOUR OWN LEADERS HAVE OVER YOU AND OTHERS, for their own agenda's. Not the US, not Great Britain. No one BUT YOUR OWN LEADERS.
You want respect? Earn it! Just like everyone else on this blue marble.
As far as uninvited foreigners in Muslim lands. Cause and effect buddy, cause and effect. Should have reigned in the coward before he put into play the plan that found the planes in our buildings. Everything else that has followed since 9/11, the tens of thousands of "muslims" that have died for what? A spoiled rich kid and his followers that could not take on their own governments, so they take us on, so we will change it for them.
That is okay though, it must have been hard....too hard to ask us for the help that was needed in changing these regimes of death. In that sense alone Bin Laden is your hero, for because of him and the hate he and others in Pakistan generated, the US WILL TAKE CARE OF IT, just not exactly how you see fit. We have done it in the past, and we will continue to do it in the future.
It still amazes me how these "civilizations" that have been around so much longer than the US, still have never gotten their crap in one sock, then turn to us for help, cussing us the whole time.
Your misguided attacks upon Ronald won't change it, or Musharraf.

Keep it up kids, and we will go home. We will take all of our crap with us, the billions of American dollars (My tax dollars)flowing into your supposed countries will dry up, and for once your bitch will be legitimate. Then we will wait for your attacks, and meet it with our women soldiers and put your society in the perspective it belongs in. Third World. Grow up!

COY its less life threatening for protesters to get at Pervez Musharraf thought Ronald, the cartoon by the way is simply one insult which has become a catalyst in protesting the on going threats, destruction and slaughter from uninvited foreigners into Muslim lands. Defacing property is a minor misdemeanor compared to the criminal acts that have defaced thousands of people and continue to do so at this very minute

Well put!

Coy Hensley :Keep it up kids, and we will go home.

Like we have a choice. If the "american lifestyle" is going to stay well fueled we have no choice but to stay. Going home means making sacrifices, a concept that is almost unimaginable for a nation of "consumers" who spend more than they save. What exactly does the US produce? I mean besides that clown? If they don't like the clown we're going to be hard up for things to trade for those cheaply made plastic goods and from other nations the oil...

Wow, Coy, that's an impressive number of successive non sequiturs!

COY HENSLY, Greetings;

MAKING BIN LADEN'S DAY !!!
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Pres. Jimmy Carter's Nat Sec Adv.

"..it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.
The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war.."

Q:And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists.

B; "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or... Some stirred-up Muslims .."

Q: Some stirred-up Muslims? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B:" Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam".
Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 !!!

Who is the clown, Jimmy, Zbigniew, Pervez, Bin or poor plastic Ronald ?

Other helpful facts, B.C. means British Columbia, Canada, the largest supplier of oil to the U.S. by the way.

Further impressions or exchanges of information regarding US Foreign Policy from this Canadian neighbor is welcomed.

Keep it up kids, and we will go home. We will take all of our crap with us, the billions of American dollars (My tax dollars)flowing into your supposed countries will dry up, and for once your bitch will be legitimate.

No, how about you pay us all the money you owe us?

The US is the world's largest debtor, you maroon. Your lifestyle depends upon the billions of dollars they invest in your economy to keep your extravagant overspending afloat. How about the Chinese take their money home, and your economy collapses?

Then we will wait for your attacks...

Why? You usually attack first. Why change now?

Third World. Grow up!

They are. Are you aware that India will be sending an unmanned mission to the moon by the end of 2007? And that NASA will be paying the Indians to take a payload for them since the shuttle is rapidly becoming an expensive white elephant?

American Empire. It's so, like, last century.

I am curious as to what other people feel when looking at this picture.
I think of King Canute, ordering back the tide. The McDonald's wouldn't be there if there were no customers. What we see here is the attempt by a small passionate minority to impose its will on the silent majority.

Alternatively, one can wonder at the staged nature of the picture. Here we have people protesting globalization via the global media. A tad ironic, eh?

They're sick of condescending statements that describe them and their religion as ignorant and uncivilized
And the way to stop that is to act ignorant and uncivilized in front of cameras?
No[w], how about you pay us all the money you owe us?

The US is the world's largest debtor, you maroon. Your lifestyle depends upon the billions of dollars they invest in your economy to keep your extravagant overspending afloat. How about the Chinese take their money home, and your economy collapses?

Uh, no. The USA could simply print all the money "owed" to foreigners without any effect on the American economy. As someone else said, if you owe the bank $10,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $1,000,000,000,000, you own the bank. Welcome to the American Hegemony.

You might give some thought to why American debt is so popular around the world, and what that says about the state of the American economy vs. the economies of the nations buying the debt.

Uh, no. The USA could simply print all the money "owed" to foreigners without any effect on the American economy. As someone else said, if you owe the bank $10,000, the bank owns you. If you owe the bank $1,000,000,000,000, you own the bank. Welcome to the American Hegemony.

Only of course, if the US dollar remains the world's fiat currency. Wanna hedge a bet on how long it stays that way?

Case in point - the rapidly developing Iranian plan to start selling oil in Euros (and Yen). Sound familiar? Oh that's right - it's what Saddam did before the US launched Operation Iraqi Fiasco. Hmm. Venezuela and Russia are both talking about doing the same thing.

If this catches on, there won't be much point holding onto US dollars, since the main reason for doing so is to buy oil.

China is already starting to ditch dollars - any challenge to the US$-Oil monopoly will turn that into a flood.

You might give some thought to why American debt is so popular around the world, and what that says about the state of the American economy vs. the economies of the nations buying the debt.

Well, since China is lending the US the money so overstretched US consumers can keep buying cheap Chinese shit in Walmart, I'd say that does say something about the relative states of your two economies.

You know what, you and others can sit there and plot the demise of the US with your so called currency theory. I see it and I see a misguided high schooler mentality, that only knows what has been fed to you by the hate machine.

What is your excuse for the preceeding years? You know the years before the US was founded?

What will be your excuse for hate if your dreams of US collapse come true?

Who are you going to hate next? Who are you going to blame for your problems then?

I know, ask your women, they will tell you what the answer is.

I have travelled the world, and for how much the world supposedly hates the US, they loved taking our money and cursing us all the while.

Keep hating, but mind you this, it ALL will come back to you. You can eliminate the whole world then finally, maybe it will be understood where the problem lies. From within.

Learned along time ago, want to change your life, change what you read. But that is the issue here is it not? You and those like you are comfortable in your hate. It is all you know.

floopmeister: Well, since China is lending the US the money so overstretched US consumers can keep buying cheap Chinese shit in Walmart, I'd say that does say something about the relative states of your two economies.

This scares me. I keep asking people what do we (the US) produce? How do we pay for all this consumption? No one seems to have an answer that makes sense.

AOG: The McDonald's wouldn't be there if there were no customers. What we see here is the attempt by a small passionate minority to impose its will on the silent majority.

How american...

coy:Who are you going to hate next?

I don't see much US hating going on. I want to save my country. I'm not in to hopeless causes. There is a lot to love about this country-- but the face that bears our name overseas is far from being our own.

floopmeister: Well, since China is lending the US the money so overstretched US consumers can keep buying cheap Chinese shit in Walmart, I'd say that does say something about the relative states of your two economies.

This scares me. I keep asking people what do we (the US) produce? How do we pay for all this consumption? No one seems to have an answer that makes sense.

I'm all for the small passionate minority kicking the shit out of Ronald McDonald. Why someone hasn't kicked his ass long ago is beyond me.

And torching a KFC can only make the world a better place.

Now I must return to the hate machine for nourishment.

You know what, you and others can sit there and plot the demise of the US with your so called currency theory.

Who's plotting? Can't you see the little warning signs yourself? You national deficit is insane, and you need 2 billion dollars of foreign currency a day just to service it and keep all the plates spinning.

How long you gonna be able to keep that up - especially as your deficit is growing?

How long do you think the rest of the world will keep financing your McMansions and Hummers?

What will be your excuse for hate if your dreams of US collapse come true?

Gee, I don't know.

That is, I don't know what the hell you're blathering about.

I have travelled the world, and for how much the world supposedly hates the US, they loved taking our money and cursing us all the while.

No, you are taking their money. Hasn't that sunk in yet? You are in debt to the rest of the world.

Who are you going to hate next? Who are you going to blame for your problems then?

Well, considering my country is placed nicely to supply the raw goods for the booming economies of India and China, I don't think I'll need anyone to hate next.

Those two countries certainly don't need yours or my pity, my friend.

Keep hating, but mind you this, it ALL will come back to you. You can eliminate the whole world then finally, maybe it will be understood where the problem lies. From within.

Are you going to start singing 'Kumbaya My Lord' now?

Listen, what needs to happen here to save US ALL from a crash, is that you, as a country, need to start thinking logically about your true economic position.

It aint good.

I know, ask your women, they will tell you what the answer is.

Well, as I'm not a bigamist, what exactly do you mean by this?

Or are you simply shooting blanks, rhetorically speaking?

COY HENDSLEY, in my "greetings" to you, what remarks were hateful or inaccurate ?
If the information is troubling I understand, in discovering the darker side of my country's history I find many half truths and outright lies. Knowledge acquired contrary to conventional mythology is disconcerting, but curiosity inevitably trumps emotion.
I do not wish to see the demise of the US, with more informed citizens making better choices its life span could be extended. The Afghanistan experience intimates we may be our own worst enemies. A cursory reading of history suggests that empires primarily fail because of internal corruption which manifests itself in a variety of ways and forms. Time for a Homeland check ?


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