Monday, April 26, 2004

It's taken me a little while to figure out why I found the full-page image of Ronald McDonald crying in my Saturday Globe & Mail so disturbing.

Yes clowns are creepy. The Day the Clown Cried is creepy. But I don't think this is the reason why.

The image of Ronald McDonald crying is a tribute to Jim Cantalupo, McDonald's chairman-CEO, who died on April 19 of a heart attack on the opening day of the McDonald's worldwide convention. .

Now, you think that the fact that the World Chairman (as McDonald's Canada fondly addresses him) dying of a heart-attack would be something that McDonald's might be ashamed of and not something worthy of advertising. I have to admit that I think this ad is a a pre-emptive strike against this line of thought. I think this ad was created to remind the public and the media that at the heart of the matter, a man had died and we should act accordingly.

And yet, I can't help but think that this extreme public outpouring of grief is disturbing because it gives me the impression that the corporation of McDonald's will only grieve if a CEO dies. It's only CEOs that matter: they rule.

I've read Fast Food Nation. I know fast food takes a toll on human life. I'm blogging this moment so I can try to remember it when something McDonald's does that directly causes the death of a customer or employee. Then I want to see if it will be a day when the clown cries.

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