mcdonalds and cultural imperialism: better than haggis and the other kind of imperialism

Miss Belgium and Miss Luxembourg moments before the swimsuit competition.

Says here sales at European McDonalds (McDonaldses? McDoni?) have surpassed those of the U.S. market. Sure, the euro/dollar exhange rate has something to do with it, but note that the Old World is outspending America while patronizing half as many locations.

The greatest beneficiary of this news, of course (other than McDonalds shareholders), would be Morgan Spurlock, who can now extend his career another 18 months or so by making the National Lampoon’s European Vacation of binge-eating documentary sequels. As we speak, he must be busy storyboarding scenes of his enormously engorged self struggling to pedal a bicycle up the winding cobblestone alleys of Nice. Or yakking over the side of a gondola in Venice.

Now. Having read the first line of this post, the Evil suspects that many of you heaved an eye-rolling sigh. In a sense, he sympathizes; we all wish the U.S. could be known for more than fast food, Die Hard movies, indifference to soccer and unilateral action in the Middle East. But the Evil isn’t here today to moan about America exporting its crass culture to the previously enlightened denizens of Europe. They’re the ones choosing to stuff their faces/brains/rapidly expanding waistlines with this junk, after all.

At moments like these, it’s important to remember that the people who invented the term “cultural imperialism” considered it an improvement over the original kind, with the smallpox and religious oppression and slavery in the diamond mines. Junk food and film may be overwhelming, even wiping out, indigenous culture, but that has to classify as progress over wiping out indigenous populations. At least by the populations in question. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

Besides, some of those motherfuckers can order a beer in their McDoni. Just saying: the Evil’s liver is having trouble feeling sorry for Europe’s clogging arteries.


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