A Special Guest Blog By: Courtney Mueller, Co-Producer of “Finding Thin”
When I was little, my best friend and I would rollerblade to our local McDonalds once a week. Every week we shakily crossed the busiest street in town, rolling with determination towards our favorite meal. We didn’t mind the threat of speeding traffic, we didn’t consider our journey to be exercise, we just focused on the payoff: Chicken McNuggets, french fries, and hot fudge sundaes. The golden arches beckoned us closer. The red and yellow colors were as bright as the vegas strip to two hungry 10 year olds. Fast, hot, greasy food was the jackpot. As my best friend and I enjoyed our happy meals, we were joined by another friend: Ronald McDonald.
This May, an open letter was sent to McDonalds CEO Jim Skinner from more that 1000 health professionals. They urged McDonalds to stop marketing fast food to children, implying that Ronald McDonald was a tool of manipulation to to entice children.
They want to fire Ronald McDonald.
Personally, the clown was never really a draw for me. Granted he’s a clown, so he’s automatically interesting to kids. He also comes with french fries, which makes him more appealing to the terrified-of-clowns-set. Sporting his red and white overalls, giant red clown shoes, and the classic red nose, Ronald McDonald is as recognizable as Santa Claus. But his mechanically waving hand from the parking lot didn’t spur me into a feeding frenzy. It was the smell. It was the taste. It was the immediate satisfaction of greasy delight.
I was never there to visit Ronald, I was there to satisfy my hunger. And there’s something so comforting about ritualized eating.
It would be nice if McDonalds continued to evolve their menus. It would be nice if McDonalds needs to promote healthy eating. It would be even nicer if we could take the responsibility to lay off the fried foods altogether.
Parents can get out of the drive-thru line and choose another place for a healthier meal. They can even (gasp!) cook a meal at home. Kids can be taught better eating habits. Americans can even pick healthier choices on McDonalds growing and health-friendly menu.
So why blame the man in the clown shoes for what is ultimately our decision?