Watson, J. L. (2000, May/June). China’s Big Mac attack. In Berndt & Muse (Eds.)
Composing a civic life (pp. 359-370). NY: Pearson / Longman.
Summary: According to Watson in China's Big Mac Attack (2000), fast food restaurants have made significant inroads in Chinese culture; therefore, he asks the question: "Is globalism - and its cultural variant, McDonaldization - the face of the future?" (p. 360) - an important question as we initiate our study of western influences on the rest of the world. Watson answers his own rhetorical question by
Pattern of organization: Cause and effect (and a hint of problem / solution)
First Watson claims to review the literature and the theorists who "argue that transnational corporations like McDonald's provide the shock troops for a new form of imperialism that is far more successful, and therefore more insidious, than its militaristic antecedents" (p. 360). But instead of academicians, he highlights op-ed writers such as Ronald Steel and Thomas Friedman, who has noted that no countries with McDonald's have ever fought each other in a war (p. 361).
To further investigate the secrets of the successful inroads made by fast food industries, Watson next explores the history of McDonald's in Hong Kong (a British consulate where McDonald's was "promoted… as an outpost of American culture" (p. 361). Because of changes in family life and traditional family values in China, Watson notes that McDonalds has taken advantage of an emerging focus on the "needs and aspirations" of the modern Chinese family, particularly given the "lavish attention" being given to the single child, the "little emperors and empresses" who are particularly vulnerable to the entertainments of "Uncle McDonald" (p. 363).
Admittedly, there are resisters who "grimace"; Watson points out that McDonald's has become a target for public protests against America, which has increased the "symbolic load" carried by the golden arches (p.... [continues]
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