In general I prefer to have my word be the last one and just leave it at that. Though I did receive another small flurry of nasty-grams referring to my stance on fast food (specifically, my refusal to denounce it as the work of Beelzebub). I’m not going to put up any excerpts, though suffice to say it was more of the usual chopping down the rain forests this, poisoning our children that, spreading the cancer of disposable culture around the globe blah-de-blah blah blah. As Mike Myers’ Saturday Night Live character Dieter used to say: you have grown tiresome.
However I would like to pose a question to one of my complainants out there who is particularly disturbed that McDonald’s is currently expanding with verve in the rural regions of India and China. That is: what exactly do you think people eat out there? More specifically, do you think people currently traveling around in places like outer Mongolia might have needs similar to those who traveled around rural America 60-odd years ago? I once spent two months of my life crossing central Asia, and believe me, it wasn’t Sunday brunch at the Ritz. I lost 15 pounds and two dress sizes…oop, did I say that?
There are great similarities between the China of today and post-WWII America. Namely, that one era saw, and the other is now seeing, the building of a great economy. And that means people on the move — hungry people — who can’t knock on some rural peasant’s door and ask to be fed 3 times a day. They need cheap, accessible and safe food, preferably delivered in a clean and welcoming environment. And that, in a nutshell, is McDonald’s. No wonder they’re going gangbusters over there right now: they are fulfilling what is arguably their raison d’être. If the Chinese and Indians are very lucky, one day they too will become affluent enough to despise fast food restaurants instead of seeing them as they currently do: as god-sends. Until then I say let them enjoy their quarter pounders.
Here endeth the conversation (at least until I embark on another caffeine-fueled rampage).