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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, Oct. 23, 200212:00 PM EST

Under Analysis

Under the Golden Arches

When the world thinks about the hallmarks of American Society, thoughts of trial by jury, democracy and capitalism immediately jump to mind. Not far behind, however, come the golden arches of McDonald’s. Ever since the fabled travelling milkshake machine salesman, Ray Kroc, sweet-talked the McDonald’s boys into selling him the rights to their diner operation, the McDonald’s story has been an icon for American success.

Unfortunately, it now seems that there may have been more to the story than met the eye. Like the tobacco purveyors before them, it now appears the powers that be behind the McFortune may have been playing on addictions, weaknesses, and other sore spots of the global populace.

It is time that these new truths find the light of day. Thus, this column, like the masked magician who haunts the halls of the Fox television network giving away the secrets of Blackstone and Houdini, will now reveal the not-so-pleasant secrets behind McDecades of success.

Early investigations have not yet made clear whether the secret partner is the devil, the Marlboro man, alien forces, zombie-makers, or some other addictive purveyor, but the ability of the hamburger chain to devastate willpower and take over the will of its would-be customers can be kept silent no longer.

The secret ingredient in McDonalds’ french fries is sugar.

There, I’ve said it. More insidious yet, however, is the shapes of the darn potato strips. At first glance, you would believe that your bag of fries is a random assortment of potato cuttings. Alas, however, if you were to empty out your bag and place the fries in three piles, arranged by length, you would find that in reality they are factory pressed totems of only three, specifically designed lengths. The three lengths are designed, when mingled, to give an appearance of randomness.

Designed to trick us into loving them fries.

Yet, the skullduggery does not end with fries. For years, the “shakes” at McDonald’s were made from potatoes, not milk or ice cream, a practice that only came to an end in the last decade or so. The Big Mac and its little cousin, the fish filet, are also made to fit in precise fashion upon a slightly sugared bun.

But alas, according to some, the true deviousness goes deeper.

Although not supported as yet by the same objective proof as that which supports the above, it is now suspected that the golden arches oscelate at a unique frequency, tuned to overwhelm individual thought, consciousness and willpower.

How else can you explain the poor plight of the two obese young women who were forced, against their will, to visit McDonald’s day after day, eating its food and developing life-threatening health problems? The girls acknolwedge they were not forced by guns or knives or adult admonition. Rather, they claim they were lured in by the tastes of the foods, the accessibility of the franchises, and the marketing and advertising programs that proclaimed to the world that McDonald’s is the McStuff that dinners should be made from. They haven’t alleged the oscelating arches, yet, but I assume that’s just because their expert witnesses haven’t finished their tests.

Unfortunately, this is no joke.

The parents of the two girls recently filed suit against the hamburger magnate, attempting to hold the chain liable for their children’s health problems. It is their claim that McDonald’s “caused” the children to eat unhealthily and are thus the cause of their medical conditions.

By filing the suit, the couple and their unfortunate daughters have once again thrust the golden arches into the forefront, and once again have linked the name “McDonald’s” with American society.

The lawsuit, however, does not represent conspicuous consumption or economic imperialism. Rather the symbol which results from this McWacky use of our legal system is one denoting a nation that has lost the ability to accept responsibility for our own actions, of a people who are quick to blame others for our own transgressions and circumstances, and of a people who believe every misfortune is an opportunity to make a fast buck at someone else’s expense.

A fine statement about our nation.

A fine comment on our people.

Would you like that supersized?

— Charles S. Kramer is an attorney in St. Louis and a member of The Levison Group, which provides columns for this newspaper.

He may be reached at [email protected].

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