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The McDonald’s Great Wall of Affirmation

Posted in Uncategorized by cesco7 on March 3, 2011

I’ve been wandering the city more than usual these days. And during said wanderings I’ve been fortunate enough to happen about some of New York’s most emblematic landmarks. But perhaps none is more curiously symbolic of not only my city but of our world than “The McDonald’s Great Wall of Affirmation.”

Located right next to a McDonald’s on the Upper East Side, “The McDonald’s Great Wall of Affirmation” includes such hopefully community-minded yet globally-healing locutions as “heritage,” “harmonious,” “serenity” and “savoury” (no doubt harkening back to when McDonald’s served only pudding palate-cleansers to Victorian high society.) Assertions that when accepted without judgement or pause can seem reassuring, a salve not only for one’s troubles but for society’s ills. That is, unless you give the wall more than just a fleeting glance. Then the seemingly curative exclamations seem less like the result of profound, genuine reflection and more like words randomly shouted in a TOEFL prep class. No doubt had NYC zoning laws permitted the erection of a larger monolith we would be greeted with such additional random phrases as “windy,” “treated cedar” and “vehicular identification number.”

What’s most confusing, however, is exactly what or who “The McDonald’s Great Wall of Affirmation” is referring to with such declarations. Is it alluding to the human experience writ large? If so then why “appealing”? Is it commenting on the human experience in a McDonald’s? If so then why “appealing”? And while such expressions as “familiar” and “together” can address both daily life and communal dining, when exactly did “qualitative” become a feel-good expression outside of well-received marketing proposals?

Furthermore, what of the statement “prospecting comfort” near the bottom of this metropolitan menhir? Is McDonald’s searching for ease in its practice or tranquility in its very soul? Does it mean they admit they have yet to achieve a relaxing environment in their restaurants? If that’s the case then why mention “serenity”? Are these words simply the wishes of the McDonald’s marketing staff? Do they want for nothing more than a life that is “energetic,” “exciting” and “casual modernity”? Are we not looking so much into our collective desires as the desperate gasps of a handful of people crying for spiritual assurance in the confines of some corporate headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois?

Alas, I fear much like The Great Sphinx of Giza, “The McDonald’s Great Wall of Affirmation” will forever remain a mystery as to its origins or intent. But truly this is a monumental sculpture that will forever engender dissenting hypotheses, fanciful conjecture, transcendental awe and “savoury” desires.

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8 Responses

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  1. Ken said, on March 3, 2011 at 10:59 am

    McDonalds – promoter of goodthink since the founding of Oceania.

  2. jfruh said, on March 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I’m more hung up on “qualitative.” It’s always been pretty clear to me that the McDonald’s approach is all about quantitative, quite frankly.

  3. Skeltometer said, on March 3, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    E.B. White and a large barn spider are behind this. I think Templeton picked out “savoury” from a discarded London Times he found nearby. Terrific!

  4. Gen Crane said, on March 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    At least it doesn’t say “snack hole.”

  5. That Fuzzy Bastard said, on March 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Wait, you’re in NYC? My fair city just got a little fairer!

  6. cheech wizard said, on March 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

    At the bottom, shouldn’t the Wall of Affirmation read “Yes, I would like fries with that” ?

  7. peaches said, on March 4, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Savoury desires indeed. This reeks of focus group brain farts. I’ll bet it’s like outdoor decal/wallpaper…probably comes in different languages, too. Blech.

    I will say, in their defense, some urban McD’s have really excellent, thoughtful visuals. The suburbs are all cookie-cutter, but in certain cities, they pay tribute to the neighborhood…the people who eat there…the building itself…nothing huge, but they stray off-brand in ways that are pretty much unheard of when it comes to mega corporations. It’s not much, but it’s better than most. Brownie points in my book.

  8. Gil said, on March 8, 2011 at 6:36 am

    sponsibility? Mmm Mysterious indeed.


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