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McMind control


By Alex Blakley



I haven’t eaten McDonald’s for a few years.

The beginning of this departure from the cheeseburger dreams and french fry delights of Mickey D’s can probably be traced back to around the time when “Super Size Me” was cruelly shown in my sophomore geography class.

I’ll never truly understand why geography was a necessary class for me to take back then. I mean, I already know most of the states in the Midwest without checking a map, plus I’ve heard of Vigo County.

What’s more, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to figure out why we watched that documentary in a geography class.

I know there are McDonald’s restaurants all over the world, but watching Morgan Spurlock slowly poison himself with grease and trans fats didn’t really get me thinking about geography.

But it did get me thinking about McDonald’s. Since Ray Kroc founded the McDonald’s corporation in 1955, the restaurant has quickly grown into a bustling, booming fast-food empire. Boy, does it feel good to use the word bustling. Seriously, try it. Bustling.

And I don’t use the word empire, or bustling, lightly here. Think about it. These days, McDonald’s is not just a restaurant anymore. It seems to have somehow transformed into a power station of entertainment and accessibility, like something out of a Ray Bradbury novel.

They’ve always had toys, but now they have RedBox. You can go and rent a movie at McDonald’s. I’ve noticed many chains now have two drive-thru lanes, which seems like an excess number of drive-thru lanes if you ask me.

They even serve pie at McDonald’s! Pie! It may be McDonald’s pie, but pie is pie, people. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but once when I was in Japan I went to a McDonald’s and inside I found a McDonald’s.

Now, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see where this kind of product convergence can lead. Google has gone to great lengths to maximize their advertising potential, even if it means pushing the limits of some privacy laws.

What if companies like McDonald’s and Google were to merge? How far away are we from becoming the mind-slaves of these big companies? Are we already?

On a positive note, we may be closer than ever to being able to download a cheeseburger right to our homes. Please type the letter “p” if you would like pickles on your McGoog burger.

For now, it appears McDonald’s will simply remain the most dominant fast-food business in the world and the creepy, science fiction stuff will stay in the backs of the minds of kids with big imaginations.

Maybe we should just keep an eye out and make sure we don’t let McDonald’s become the one-stop destination for all our wants and needs.

Alas, at this moment, I am sitting in a van in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Florida getting ready to email this column back to Bloomington. My family and I are staying on the beach this week and unfortunately our room does not provide free Wi-Fi access.

But McDonald’s does.

­— aleblakl@indiana.edu

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