NEW YORK, N.Y., Jan. 6th...Fast food franchises are "insidiously" planting sexist, anti-labor and neo-imperialist propaganda in their commercials, a consumer advocate charged today.
Leah Schildkraut, Corporate Malfeasance specialist with the Anarcho-Feminist Coalition, called for an immediate boycott of Taco Bell, Carl's Jr. and Burger King.
In a press conference to kick off a nationwide campaign, Schildkraut spotlighted three commercials which she said "reinforced reactionary tendencies in the young male demographic."
In the Taco Bell ad, a customer is about to tip the counterman. "Keep the change," he says. But his friend stops him and says he can get another Taco Bell for what he just tipped. The customer changes his mind and quickly scoops up his change. "You only pushed a button," he explains to the stiffed counterman. As he walks away his friend shrugs as if to say "sorry, but he's right."
"Close analysis of this commercial reveals a very subtle message of class prejudice," Schildkraut said.
A man in the audience jumped up. "Get a life."
Schildkraut ignored him. "The customers are young, smug and obviously more intelligent than the counterman who is portrayed as an unskilled, retard, undeserving of a tip. This is a not so subtle attempt to devalue labor in the minds of the young and produce an anti-union mentality..."
The heckler who identified himself as Efraim Durg, founder of Males in Revolt. com, looked to the crowd for support. "It's a not so subtle attempt to sell burritos, you mean."
"Only on the surface," Schildkraut said. "What's important are what advertising people calls hidden persuaders..."
She cued up another commercial. "Now we turn to the blatantly sexist Carl's Jr."
A young man is seen devouring an enormous Carl's Jr. burger while mechanics sand splashes of white paint off his car. A voice informs us that the man has several girlfriends and "there was nothing wrong with that" until they found out about each other. The mechanics work away with knowing, complicit smiles. As the commercial ends we see that one or all of the scorned females has painted "CHEATER" on the man's car.
"Notice his gloating look," Schildkraut said, seething. "This commercial endorses infidelity, deceit and male conspiracy against women."
"It endorses cheap food for young guys on a budget, you mean," Durg said.
"Everything has a political context," Schildkraut said. "Have you ever seen a commercial in which a woman is congratulated for cheating on her boyfriend?"
"Maybe not, but it happens in real life every day," Durg said with an aggrieved look. "Young, broke guys can't get women..."
"You really believe it's all about money, don't you?" Schildkraut said. "You're a victim of fast food propaganda..."
A large woman stood over Durg. "You're pathetic," she jeered.
Schildkraut screened a Burger King spot entitled "Whopper Virgins." A picnic table of Greenlanders in colorful indigenous dress, taste a Burger King Whopper and a Big Mac. They choose the Whopper.
"The manifest content of the commercial is that unspoiled palates will prefer Burger King," Schildkraut said. "But the subtext is that fast food - American popular culture- is embraced by all. The fast food empires, having saturated their domestic markets, have now invaded these unspoiled lands...They hope to create a colonial dependency with their new weapons of conquest--- transfat, sugar and sodium..."
"It'll still be a whole lot better than seal blubber," Durg said.
The crowd erupted.
" Burger Kings, Dunkin' Donuts, Kentucky Fried will pollute the pristine beauty of Nuuk," Schildkraut warned, her voice rising. "Imperialism will bring obesity, diabetes, cardiac arrest to the Inuit just as it brought alcohol opium and syphilis to other unsuspecting people in the past..."
The audience was inflamed.
"How about that Taco Bell commercial where the dude sends the valet parking lot guy to get him a Triple Steak and doesn't tip him or even say thank you," somebody shouted.
"Or the Del Taco where the kid's mom turns out to be a cougar."
Schildkraut clapped. "Shut 'em down..." The audience joined her, clapping and chanting. "Shut 'em down...Shut 'em down..."
"Hey don't take our cheap food away," Durg pleaded. "It's the only thing we have."
The audience quieted, struck by the anguish in his tone.
"Imagine, you're a young guy who just got laid off from his dead end job," Durg said. "You're back living in your old room. Mom does your laundry. You have to borrow from dad to gas up the car. Can't even take a girl out for a non fat vanilla latte. But you know for a coupla bucks you can get a cheeseburger, fries, a coke and feel satisfied...Don't take this small consolation away."
Chairs scraped. There were murmurs of sympathy.
Schildkraut looked intently down at Durg. "Wait a minute, I know this guy." She jumped off the platform, pointing an accusing finger. "He's the manager of the Jack-in-the-Box at the Paramus Mall."
The crowd surged...
"He's a spy."
Durg was immediately surrounded by members of the Lesbian Cage Fighting Cooperative, who had been providing security.
"Okay buddy, take a hike..."
"Hold it!" Durg with a dramatic gesture.He pushed through the crowd to confront Schildkraut. "I know you too,bitch," he said. "You come in every morning for a breakfast bowl. I didn't recognize you without the Mets cap and the sunglasses,""
Schildkraut turned away, blushing.
"I'm trying to kick the habit," she explained to her stunned colleagues. "I'm off Wendy's and Long John Silver's...But that nitrite rich bacon, the molten plastic cheese..."
"Busted!" Durg shrieked with a demonic glee. "From now on no more extra cibatta for you..."
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