In a long report on how McDonald’s is seeking to boost its image, Keith O’Brien describes the new “McDonald’s Channel,” which will one day play in its franchises:
The content on the nascent channel is breezy (think Top 10 lists) and anodyne. The objective is “an agnostic view of the world,” according to Lee Edmondson, the founder of ChannelPort Communications, the California company building the channel for McDonald’s (its only client). In the test markets, at least, this means there will be no jarring images from CNN or Fox News. Instead, every few minutes between short features, the company’s catchy jingle — ba-da-ba-ba-bah — serenades the dining room as a reminder that all is right and good.
The next time you’re inclined to dismiss observations about how global capitalism is at odds with traditional belief and social practices, recall this anecdote (remember as well that real agnosticism is something far more serious than what Lee Edmondson has in mind). The company that begins by seeking to serve all does not simply ignore the particularities of its customers, it actually fears them. The existential commitment involved in religious belief and political solidarity interferes with our role as consumers, and so agnosticism—or at least a very loose and low conception of it– becomes the one true corporate faith.
None of this, probably, will change whether or not one goes to McDonald’s (I do sometimes, for reasons of convenience and economy), but I’d rather get affordable food without the side order of religious and political indifferentism.