National Catholic Register


Happy Meals, Sex, Violence and Condoms

BY Matthew Archbold

| Posted 12/21/10 at 1:42 AM


The New York Times and their cohorts in kookiness have their pom poms out for a new lawsuit against a fast food giant for advertising happy meals. Why? Because parents feel bad about saying no to their children. Seriously.

It’s standard marketing: pitch your product to the most easily persuadable. Or as Roy Bergold, a former McDonald’s head of advertising, argued once: “Go after kids.” McDonald’s has done just that with the Happy Meal, a choice of burgers, nuggets, fries and other specialties with a must-have toy.

…The Happy Meal is up for some well-deserved scrutiny. Last week a mom from Sacramento filed a class-action suit supported by the center to make McDonald’s stop using toys as bait to lure children. Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a measure requiring that meals sold with toys meet a minimum standard of nutrition…

Parents are responsible for their children’s diet. And they certainly could do a better job: almost 17 percent of American children are obese, three times as many as in the 1970s. But it would be easier for parents to do their job if they didn’t have to push back against the relentless tide of marketing aimed at their children.

The only thing more horrifying than living in a society where this kind of lawsuit is filed is living in a society where this kind of lawsuit will probably win.

But the ironic thing is that we’re supposed to believe that fast food ads effect the behavior of children but sex and violence in the mainstream culture have no effect on children. In fact, we’re nuts for even suggesting it.

Dancing toys brainwash kids into being fast food zombies but handing condoms out at school changes nothing?

It’s hilarious that many of the same people for limiting children’s access to fast food, don’t want parents notified when children get an abortion. French fries bad, killing babies good. Got it? Maybe there could be a judicial bypass for minors to get happy meals without their parent’s notification.

Or maybe we should just throw our hands up and say kids are gonna’ eat happy meals no matter what we do so we should just try to make the happy meal toys safe…you know, by putting condoms on them. I’m kinda’ serious here. If fast food joints put condoms in their happy meals they’d likely be hailed as progressive heroes and would be made lifetime UN Ambassadors. But put a Bakugan trading card in your fatty meal and you’re public enemy number one.

So we can have judges, legislators and the United Nations making those calls or maybe parents could just look at their kids in the eye and say “No.” Or would that hurt their self esteem too much.