Utne Blogs > Arts and Culture

There’s Something About Ronald

by Will Wlizlo

Tags: Ronald McDonald, fast food, McDonald's, arts and culture, The Smart Set, Will Wlizlo,


“In 2012,” writes Greg Beato for The Smart Set, “Ronald McDonald is essentially a clown without a country.” Beato is referring to the rapid modernization of the McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain, which has abandoned the primary-colored, dine-n-ditch, gee-whiz simplicity of its past and embraced chic aesthetics, comfortable ambiance, and more sophisticated flavors. As a symbol of McDonald’s garish past, Ronald is being left by the wayside. Quips Beato, “Amidst the sleek walnut paneling and modernist dining chairs, however, the chain’s longtime mascot looks less like a crown prince than a red-headed stepchild.”

Ronald McDonald’s “job” at the restaurant chain best show’s the company’s changing relationship with its diners. Beato explains Ronald’s career path from burger slinger to what amounts to a community outreach volunteer:

That only scratches the surface. Beato’s description of Ronald’s history at McDonald’s is well-sourced and extensive—all of it fascinating.

Source: The Smart Set 

Image by Valerie Everett, licensed under Creative Commons.