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McBastards: McDonald’s and Globalization By Paul Feine

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Does one honestly think McDonald’s is the company to blame for America’s obesity?

As narrator Paul Feine shows different perspectives of how McDonalds is viewed from different countries, one can decide who is to blame.

The author, Paul Fiene, starts of his article with a personal experience of his own. While on a trip to Paris with his family, he encounters an angry French man who evidently despises McDonalds. After Feine summarized the whole Paris vacation, Feine then talks about how McDonalds, as a company, is viewed badly by the whole world. Right after that he hits the readers with tons of statistics and anti-McDonalds websites and articles. Continuing, Fiene then supports his information with various books and articles relevant to the articles topic. Concluding Feines article, is an interesting piece of information were Fiene states that even though it is not true that no two countries that have McDonalds never been to war, but that McDonalds everywhere is, “encouraging healthy competition-competition that, in many cases, is leading to improved sanitation standards and civility. And sometimes, just sometimes, McDonald’s even brings people together and creates a few smiles…just like its commercials say it does.”

According to Paul Feine, “Critics demonize McDonald’s for its unabashed pursuit of profits, its disregard for nutritional value, and the environment and the way it panders to children”. Apparently, McDonalds is to blame for the health problems of fast food addicts. McDonalds controls 43 percent of the U.S. fast food market, and it is by far one of the most successful companies when it comes to pursuing exceedingly high profits. Even though McDonalds has been blamed on for many health problems, it has also made changes in other cultures. Golden Arches East by James Watson explains how McDonalds is affecting Asian culture. For example, in Hong Kong, McDonalds started the trend of having clean bathrooms in restaurants. In Korea mobbing the counter was the only way to get your order taken. When McDonalds came along, getting in line was something new that was introduced to their culture. Feine also states that McDonalds is encouraging healthy competition that is leading to improved sanitation and civility.

In the beginning of his article, McBastards: McDonalds and Globalization, Paul Feine uses the technique pathos. He briefly mentions how American children get anxious and excited when it comes to a McDonald’s happy meal. This technique works effectively on your emotions; Paul Feine does this purposely to connect with the reader. Furthermore, in the article he speaks of a French man who shows his hatred towards McDonalds by opening the door and spitting inside the restaurant. This is also using pathos, because it shows the different perspectives on how other cultures view McDonalds. While Americans seem to be fond of it, many other countries have not yet adapted to it.

The words “cultural imperialism” and “multinational corporate greed” are what other cultures would most likely define McDonalds as. This is because they view McDonalds as a threat to their ways of normal life. They believe that it will affect their culture. We as readers are aware of this through Feines’ choice of wording. He uses this kind of vocabulary to add a more emphasize to his article. Many times authors will do this to grab the reader’s attention and pull them deeper into the text, and Feine is able to do this successfully in his article. Moreover, Feine continues to use his figurative language in the example, in the sub-heading, “McWhipping Boy”, he uses the words, “…McDonalds has been condemned systematically seeking to addict naĂŻve youngsters to its fatty fare.” I feel that this really intrigued me into wanting to read more. And this again is done purposely by the author.

Comparison is another technique authors like Feine use to affectively support their argument. Feine uses this technique when he states, “…McDonalds has been condemned systematically seeking to addict naĂŻve youngsters to its fatty fare, just like its evil older brothers in the cigarette business.” This quote from the article persuades the readers into analyzing this subject, pausing, and to see it from another perspective. Not too many people can compare McDonalds with the Cigarette companies. Fiene is comparing the fact that the cigarette companies were targeting young kids with their Cool Joe Camel commercials from the mid to late 90’s.

Ethos is when an author uses credibility and authority to persuade you in to believe what he is stating. Feine does this by referring to reliable resources such as the book, Golden Arches East by James Watson and by Reason Magazine, Nick Gillespie. He also uses an anti McDonald’s website called, McSpotlight. By using these references, he establishes authority in the writing. These references help to advance his credibility in his article. Because of his credibility, the readers know that this author can be acknowledged. Not only does Feine use references, but also statistics and facts, as well. In this article, Feine mentions how 43 percent of the world’s fast food market is controlled by McDonalds, thus advancing his credibility even more by stating a statistic.

Logos refers to logic, in other words logos is used for reasoning to persuade in an argument. Feine says, even though people demonize McDonalds, It has its upsides to them. Throughout the article, Feine gives example of this like when he mentions how in Hong Kong McDonalds has raised the standards for the sanitation in their rest rooms. He also states that in Korea McDonalds’ established the practice of “lining up in an orderly fashion to order food”, before this their way of ordering was to mob the counter. In Moscow, people would get offended by the smiling employees, when in reality they were just simply being kind. That’s the part of culture that was brought from North America to Moscow, Russia. They were not use to this do to the cultural differences. It was necessary for an employee to stand outside and explain this to the customers waiting in line.

Feine states, “”McDonald’s is so desperate for customers that it’s held prices essentially constant over the past two decades, while boosting portion sizes (burgers, fries, and drinks are all bigger than they used to be), expanding its menu, and building elaborate play structures for kids while simultaneously throwing increasingly sophisticated toys at them.” This quote explains how, when it gets down to business, McDonalds is so successful. He is using logos to argue that McDonalds is molding the way the fast food market is marketing themselves. He also states that parents use McDonalds to their advantage especially if they have children. The McDonalds play lands and free happy meal toys are examples of how they market themselves successfully.

In the last section of his article, Feine goes back to a personal experience to connect with the readers by explaining another scenario in which he was in another country, and the sight of a McDonald’s restaurant made his mouth water. I’m sure that we have all experienced this before, being in an unfamiliar environment and not wanting to adjust to a different culture life style. Connecting with the readers is a very effective way to get your point across with a purpose. It’s a way of using pathos and ethos at the same time, because while maintaining your credibility, you are also getting in touch with the readers emotions toward the subject.

As a reader, personally believe that the techniques used in this article by Fein persuaded me into realizing that it’s not all McDonalds fault for the obesity it has been blamed for. Americans have to limit themselves and watch what they eat. Of course people are going to gain dramatic weight if they it fast food five days a week. McDonalds is not holding a gun to your head and saying you must eat our food as much as you can fit in your belly. Point being, McDonalds is just another company looking to make as much profit as they can. And if they do what they do very well, let it be. Americans in general, like to point the finger at other people. It’s always easier to blame someone else for our failures or mistakes.

Throughout this article, Feine has used many different types of writing techniques and rhetorical strategies. Some that work effectively and others not so well. Feine use of beginning and ending with a personal connection with the readers made a strong impression. He also used statistics and facts from outside sources to back himself up, which evidently gave him a higher level of authority on the subject. He uses a decent amount of ethos and logos with an exceedingly amount of pathos. Overall, the use of pathos is what got me, the reader, to be persuaded by Paul Feine to believe that even though McDonald’s well forever be a fast food giant, it has established a higher standard with restaurants in general. They really have found the secret of being a successful company; they give the people what they want. “The bastards.”


Emmanuel Ruiz

English 101

Ms. Rains

April 2, 2010

Feine, Paul. “McBastards: McDonald’s and Globalization.” Mercury reader: A custom publication. Ed. Southern Illinois University Carbondale. New York: Pearson, 2010. 186-189. Print.

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