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Friday, August 18, 2006

Rat Eat Dog

I am reading in my spare time (pause to allow laughter to die down) Chew on This: Everything Your Don't Want to Know about Fast Food by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson. It is nothing too groundbreaking, most everything I have run across can be found in Schlosser's earlier work Fast Food Nation. But the two following quotes from Ray Kroc caught my attention:

"If you believe in it, and you believe in it hard, it's impossible to fail. I don't care what it is -- you can get it!" (p.30)

and, on competing with fast-food rivals:

"This is rat eat rat, dog eat dog. I'll kill 'em, and I'm going to kill 'em before they kill me. You're talking about the American way of survival of the fittest." (p. 33-34)

There is so much that can be said about either of these quotes, but they seem especially jarring when juxtaposed like this. The venom of the second quotation makes the vapid ideology of the first just that much clearer: it doesn't actually matter what you want or what you believe in or how hard you work, because it is entirely likely that you will run up against someone who wants to 'kill' you. It is striking just how primal the myth of ultimate violence is in the second quotation; even more striking that this dispassionate 'killing' is likened to 'the American way'.

And, just in case the buzzcops out there think I am being one-sided, let me add: And all the more striking when one considers that Kroc's widow, Joan Kroc, contributed millions of dollars to the centers for peace and justice studies at Notre Dame University and University of San Diego, as well as a substantial contribution to the Salvation Army. When she was alive, she also contributed million for nuclear disarmament. So I suppose this poisonous ideology doesn't always have the last word.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Aaron G said...

As a San Diegan, I can say that Joan Kroc was a much loved person. I've been to USD and to the Salvation Army complex she funded and they are magnificent!

Ray A. Kroc was known as a crazy...especially for the time that he grabbed the mic at the Padres game (he owned the team) and apologized to the fans that the team was so horrible.

Oh...and I HATE McDonalds.

Monday, September 25, 2006 6:47:00 AM  

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