Should Happy Meals be banned? A group of lawmakers in California says “Hell, yeah!” They claim the Happy Meal toys, often modeled after popular action film characters, give kids an unfair incentive to eat unhealthy meals; and they’re going to start fining McDonald’s at least $1,000 per location unless these kid meals are removed from the menu. Many of the parents are livid about this, referring to the new menu as “Crappy Meals”.
Okay, we all know hormone-infested food, drug companies pushing chemicals and a recent economic meltdown have all contributed to American kids blowing up like mini-Michelin tires; and I’m the first to say that’s a huge problem (No pun intended with that adjective….great, my fiance just said “No pun accomplished, honey.”)
However, McDonald’s is part of a larger public dilemma that we’re facing, and nobody’s talking about it. Allow me to propose a serious question: Does anyone else think we need to change our Fast Food chain mascots ‘cause they’re too creepy? Ronald McDonald is a freaky-looking clown hanging out on a children’s playground. His best friend, “The Hamburglar”, is not only named after a FELONY; but also dressed in prison garb, a cape, a black sombrero, two immensely fake ears and an incredibly phallic tie. (I don’t know what’s worse – that he looks like a rapist on peyote, or that his outfit is essentially a combination of 5 bad Halloween costumes.) The Burger King is the freakiest-looking mask I’ve seen since Michael Myers in the original HALLOWEEN. (The 1979 classic one; not the piece of T-Rex dung remake.) Even the Wendy’s girl looks like Carrot Top with pigtails. (Before the steroids and Asian eyebrows; I’ll give her much-deserved props on that.) Why do American fast food mascots look like pedophiles and freakshows? “In and Out” sounds like a porno. I’m surprised the mascot for Carls, Jr. isn’t some creepster named Carl in an icecream truck with no windows. (Sidenote: Fox News actually tried to get Carl’s, Jr. to hire Karl Rove to be its spokesperson, but to no avail. Rove was quoted as saying “I’m not interested; not enough innocent people die from this product. I mean, my name starts with a ‘K’.”)
So parents – let your kids eat Happy Meals and play with toys based on blockbuster flicks in moderation. But for the love of everything benevolent….help me campaign fast food restaurants to change their mascots. Let’s get spokespeople who are not only kid-friendly, but adult-friendly. I don’t think any sane adult would voluntarily hang out with Ronald McDonald. And let’s be honest – if you were walking down a dark street alone and saw the Burger King ambling toward you, you’d either run in the opposite direction or grab your mace. So Mommas and Daddies….mail a letter, send an email, start a facebook page; let’s do whatever it takes to replace our molester fastfood mascots. You know it’s a freaky industry when the most normal-looking person is Colonel Sanders. Only two white men in history have pulled off a white suit – Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and Steve Martin. (For my avid readers, make that Tom Wolfe and Mark Twain.)
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