The four years I’ve spent here at Kenyon College, this bucolic intellectual wonderland, have been some of the most special of my life. I’ll be walking away from graduation this spring with a profound conceptual toolbox with which to approach the world. However, as I leave the campus behind, I’m left with a sour taste in my mouth and a painful awareness of this school’s inexcusable shortcomings. That’s why, after much thought, I refuse to donate any money to the college until they do what’s right and acknowledge the academic value of McDonald’s lore.
Kenyon claims to be an oasis of bold ideas and rich culture. Why is it, then, that I must go out of my way to engage in any discussion about the inhabitants of McDonaldland, the fantasy world used in marketing for McDonald’s restaurants?
I was first made aware of this curricular failure in my Sociology of Crime class, where we were discussing Robert Merton’s theories regarding cultural goals versus institutionalized norms.
“It’s just like the Hamburglar!” I said, after raising my hand.
“Who?” my professor asked.
“The Hamburglar,” I repeated. “The meat-burgling antagonist of McDonald’s lore.”
“McDonald’s lore will never be a legitimate academic subject,” my professor tersely replied, silencing my discourse.
I was so embarrassed by this unexpected rejection that I sat there in silence for the rest of class, marinating in my own shame juices.
How can it be that an institution that teaches courses on every religion from Judaism to Catholicism consciously refuses to engage in a conversation with me about Grimace, the large, purple monster whose arms are used to steal sodas and milkshakes?
Stop calling, Kenyon! You’ll find no support from me.
The big-name donors may not have the courage to stand up for what’s right, but I do. This college won’t be seeing a single cent from my wallet until it does the right thing and opens up a sincere dialogue about why Mayor McCheese’s head is a cheeseburger, yet his body is that of a human’s. Until then, consider this student’s money off-limits!
Time to step up, Kenyon.