To say we're living in strange times is an understatement. For example, a group calling itself the Corporate Accountability International (fancy name for food police) is calling on McDonald's restaurants to retire clown mascot Ronald McDonald. They claim Ronald McDonald has hooked kids on unhealthy food, spurring an epidemic of diet-related disease.
I'm happy to tell you that McDonald's is fighting back, saying Ronald McDonald is the face of their charity program, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and promotes good things for children.
While I haven't done any research on this, I feel pretty confident in saying it would be very difficult finding someone who says they started going to McDonald's because of Ronald McDonald. And even if that were the case, who cares? I know this will come as a surprise to the busy bodies at Corporate Accountability International, but McDonald's is a business. What you do in business is advertise your product to try to maximize your profits. The last time I checked, burgers and fries are still legal products. And in a free country if people want to consume those things, they have the right to do it.
And one last point: odds are the PARENTS took their kids to McDonald's for the first time in their lives. It wasn't Ronald McDonald pulling up in his yellow convertible forcing the kids into his car at gunpoint and forcing a cheeseburger down their throats. And if Mom and Dad decide it's okay to treat junior to a happy meal now and then, that's their business.