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Monday, April 26, 2010

Madison Avenue Death Camps

There is a movement that has been sweeping the country in the past few years. Ultra-nutjob-extremist groups have been targeting and rounding up those they consider to be problematic individuals. These individuals do not look like the rest of us and therefore they are deemed undesirable. Additionally, these groups believe that the actions of these “individuals” are responsible for degradation of our youth and our values and must be eradicated.

In 1992, these extremists began their crusade against an individual. Not only did they disapprove of their public perception, they also disapproved of the lifestyle of a female parading as a male in public. The individual disappeared and mysteriously died of kidney failure the following year. Four years later, an individual by the name of Joe was targeted and removed from the public eye, never to be seen again. He was thought to have led to the corruption of minors. Five years prior, they began these extremists began their crusade against these Since then, the phasing out of these public personas has taken place without intervention and now they have set their sights on what they believe is Public Enemy Number One. If we allow them to take out this intended target then there will be no stopping them.

Ronald McDonald has been a corporate icon for the McDonald’s Corporation since 1963. He is now being pushed into retirement by a group known as Corporate Accountability International. They feel that McDonald’s has been using the friendly faced clown as an enticement for children to eat and crave fast food. Well, duh?!?!?!   Come on, it’s a frickin’ clown. Who else are they marketing to?  You want to go one step further?  Who the hell is the demographic for Happy Meals?   The damn thing comes with a burger, fries, soft drink and toy!   Of course, that is by choice not the only option when it comes to picking the meal.  

To say that Ronald McDonald is the leading cause for the increasing levels of obesity among children is like saying that the lingerie section in the Sears catalog is leading cause of sex addiction. While it may be true that kids eat too much fast food, it’s not because a damn clown said to. It’s because the parents buy it. Unless these kids are taking their allowance money and riding their big wheels to McDonald’s I don’t think they are doing the buying. That being said, if they DID DO THAT, we probably wouldn’t have an obesity problem because these kids would be getting exercise going to the Golden Arches.

Why is it that these nut jobs keep blaming corporations for what’s wrong in the world. I admit I have no warm fuzzies for huge, multibillion dollar/cannot fail type corporations and I’m sure that there are a lot of things being done wrong within the walls of HQ but to blame them outright for a problem that has started in the home is ridiculous. Look, I go to McDonald’s and I have a child. She hasn’t acquired a taste for hamburger yet and pretty much eats only the cheese from the sandwich but I agree that it’s not healthy for any of us. We go as a reward for doing something especially good and we go mostly so she can play on the slide. In other words we go to a fast food restaurant for her to get exercise. They one getting fatter is me and I’m old enough to make my own decisions not ones based on clown influence. Besides, most kids are scared of clowns. Hell, my kid is afraid of Santa but will walk up to a six foot tall mutant mouse named Chuckee and kiss him on his fake oversized nose. She loves the mouse not the pizza.

Back in 1992 and 1997 when Spuds Mackenzie and Joe Camel were given pink slips the claim was that the visage of these anthropomorphic mascots was contributing to underage alcohol and tobacco use. Still, the safeguards for preventing this consumption was in place. You had to be of a certain age and furnish identification in order to obtain these vices. The fact that the usage of these things was so prevalent among teens and underage children wasn’t so much the fault of the lovable and cuddly mascots on the advertisements but the safeguards in place failed to prevent the acquisition of such things. Fake IDs, lazy or incompetent store clerks, PEER PRESSURE and oh, heaven forbid, unaware or uncaring parents were failing to protect the impressionable.

If you want to ban something, ban kids. Peer pressure and desire to imitate role models is far more of an incentive to do something. They learn it by watching others who they look up to and they want to emulate that behavior. It could be their parents or that older kid who looks cool lighting up a cigarette. They get into these bad habits and form addictions either because of the nature of the behavior or the drug itself has addictive properties.

And since we can’t ban kids, let’s ban professional athletes. The recent indiscretions of my own state’s team is enough cause to shield the impressionable youth from their off the field antics. When a kid with an Internet connection can read a twitter feed from their favorite football player and see the atrocious use of language and demeanor towards women and another kid can come home from school wearing their favorite quarterback’s jersey and ask their parents, “What’s sexual harassment?” Then we know that there has to be some type of intervention. But it has to be on the parents’ part, not the pro or anti groups.

But back to food, my favorite vice. This attack on corporate mascots is a veiled attempt to somehow correct the problem that parents do not take care of their kids. They give them too much freedom and convenience and expect them to make the right decision before they have the maturity to do so.

I’m just as guilty. My kid has way too much awareness of the English language and she’s not even three. But I do not blame shows like The Family Guy for teaching my child the word douche bag. I blame myself for allowing her to watch The Family Guy at an age where she absorbs anything that makes me laugh, when I see it, and then wishes to be funny and see her Daddy giggle uncontrollably. We don’t watch it anymore and the effects are still apparent and she knows that it’s wrong but we’re slowly reaching her with our admonishment of that sort of behavior. But we try to do other things, continually, to get her into the habit of eating better foods. We are still working at it and admittedly she doesn’t get all the good foods that she should.

Who’s next, Ernie the elf. Him and the other Keebler elves will be rounded up and forced to stop selling cookies. Their only chance for a sustainable income will be to get their own show on TLC like Little People Big World, The Little Couple, Our Little Life, and Little Chocolatiers. Honestly, what the hell is going on with TLC, they’ve suddenly become The Lilliputian Channel. Then, look out Jack in the Box and Chester Cheetah. If Ronald falls you are on notice. They’ll be coming by and putting you on a train to the Little Debbie Death Camps.

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