Would You Like Fries With That?

My name is Jeremy and I am an addict. Hi Jeremy. I’ve been eating McDonald’s for as long as I can recall. As a kid it was an occasional treat and in high school I spent a couple of years behind the grill, flipping burgers and gorging on fries.

A few years ago I was eating at McDonald’s every week - basically it was cheap and I was lazy. Who am I kidding, I was lovin’ it – to use a phrase I picked up somewhere. Then I read Eric Schlosser’s brilliant expose, Fast Food Nation, and cut my consumption considerably. So when Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me hit theatres a few years later, a small part of me avoided it as I figured it could kill off the last vestiges of my desire for greasy, salty goodness.

As fate would have it, the CBC aired Super Size Me last night, likely as a way to spur on those who made New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. While I can’t say it has curtailed my taste for Mickey D’s any further, it did get me thinking about McDonald’s pop culture impact and to follow up my posting from last May. I may have cut down, but how I did I come to love it? Mostly the ubiquity, I figure. No matter where you travel, you can almost always find the Golden Arches. And make no mistake, they target the very young, something I am keenly aware of as a new father. Anyone recall the ad where the baby cries every time he can’t see the logo outside of the window? Or how about this ‘McDonalds is akin to breast milk’ print ad? Tristan doesn’t stand a chance.

Of course I’m far from the first to make this connection and many artists have created art and parodies to comment on McDonald’s empire’s impact on health, culture and our way of life. Canadian artist Chris Woods, whose work explores the effects of consumerism on society, was one of the first I ever saw back in the late ‘90s. I love how his paintings evoke religious awe and a disturbing amount of patriotism.

A more of-the-moment version of parody is the McVideogame, an online flash game that lets you run every part of the company, from the South American pastures to the feedlot, all the way to corporate HQ. I only made it a few months in when environmentalists were protesting over the bulldozing of rainforest and my cows were going mad from ground animal meal I was feeding them. I knew I should have bribed some more health officials!

Ron English is another culture jammer who uses McDonald’s imagery in his work. His work was featured in Super Size Me, but my favourite is his version of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, with an original-style McDonald’s franchise replacing the village and the church with the arches replacing the cross.

For even more examples of McDonald’s parodies that I found while out trolling the web, including Grease from AdBusters, which has always been a fantastic source for anti-McDonald’s ads head over to my McDonald's Parodies Flickr set.


  1. There is an extra on the Supersize Me DVD where he does an experiment with McDonald's french fries that freaked me out sooooo much, I can't imagine ever eating them again.

  2. See... McDonald's is taking over the world.... MUHAHHAH

  3. I mean absolutely no offense to you, personally, at all, but Supersize Me shouldn't be what teaches people about eating right. I certainly hope that you can keep away from the MickeyD's and stay healthy. :-)

  4. What is this MsDonald's you speak of?

  5. Marilyn - I saw that bit online. Still eating them though, but certainly not after they have sat in a jar for days on end.

    Rashenbo - yup, but whatcha gonna do?

    Dustin - it makes perfect sense to me. We absorb countless hours of commercials, so some counter-programming is the perfect antidote. Of course I'm not cutting it out of my diet - just exercising moderation.

    Fab: Yeah, I never heard of it either but they say they have over 2,000 locations in this state alone. Hmm... Must've sprung up over night.

  6. Ditto with Fab..

    Who is still eating at Mcdonalds?



  7. Funny, ater all that, I almost feel like defending McDonald's. It's all about moderation folks. If you eat there all the time, ya, it's going to harm you. But the occasional indulgence is just fine - in all of the fine vices life has to offer.