Political Incorrectness Around the World
by Warren Apel, author of David Hasselhoff is the AntiChrist and Elvis Lives, Princess Dies
I've got this big collection of funny photos that I've taken in various places I've travelled to. OK, maybe I'm the only one who thinks they're funny. Maybe not. Who knows. Anyway, I figure if that photo of the dachsunds dressed up like hot dogs or that one of the cat with the orange peel on its head have been laughed at by millions of people, maybe I ought to throw a few of my photos out there and see if anybody gets a kick out of them. Besides, I haven't done a new "funny" web page in a couple of years. Now and then, someone will read one of my other ones and say "hey, Warren, when are you going to write something new for me to waste time at work reading?" And it always makes me wish I had more free time when I read those emails.
Anyway, here you go. Some examples of horribly inappropriate or just funny things I've seen around the world. McDonalds, of course, is a big player here. Let me get some legal garbage out of the way up front. All these photos are taken by me. Copyright 2005 Warren Apel and all that. All rights reserved. If you want to use them for a commercial purpose, email me and I'll probably say OK. The other legal garbage is that all the trademarks and copyrights here are held by whoever holds them. Probably McDonalds. I'm displaying them here for the purposes of parody and satire, and if your lawyers come at me demanding that I take the photos down, I'll re-post the nasty letters they send and write a whole separate webpage making fun of those letters and those demands.
First off, Spain. What a country. Wackiness abounds. It's quite a culturally diverse place, but they just don't get the whole "this might offend someone" that we take for granted in the US. Check this out.
|Look, you just shouldn't name food after a group of people. Someone's bound to get upset.||And let's hear it for truth in advertising! American cereals took the word "sugar" out years ago, in an effort to pretend that Golden Smacks are healthier than Sugar Smacks were. But just plain old "SUGAR" Cereal is straight up.|
|Now, here's a cereal that's just going to get people mad. Sure, he's a cute little cartoon character, but this is just plain wrong. Funny, but wrong. (Hey, don't email me to say that you're mad that I find this funny. I didn't invent the Chocotrebol mascot. And I think the "wrongness" is half of the funny part.)||Another totally wrong mascot. Jar of chocolatey drink mix, like Quik or Horlicks. Decorated with kerchiefed slaves carting bags of cocoa on their heads. But then, maybe Cola Cao is actually made that way. Heck, maybe Quik and Horlicks are made that way and Americans and Brits just choose to ignore it. Having this mascot for your drink mix is like having a cute T-shirt featuring a big photo of the child laborer who sewed it for you.|
|According to Google's translation device, this says "Olimpicao in the interior plays the Olympic Games of Colacao. Free."|
|I like how sometimes you can see the marketing gears in action when you think about stuff. "Rock and Cream" just doesn't make sense to me. But I bet that Spanish test markets wouldn't buy something called "Sour." Can't blame them. Now that I think about it, Sour Cream flavored chips do sound a little gross. But Rock and Cream sounds worse.||Here's another dark-skinned worker. Only this guy isn't working hard in the cocoa field. He's kicking back and sipping coffee, reinforcing all sorts of negative cultural stereotypes.|
|I actually really like McDonalds. People frequently don't believe me when they hear me say that. I'm a vegetarian, and I've read Fast Food Nation and seen Supersize Me. But most of what people dislike about McDonalds are policy decisions made by the American corporate office. Overseas, local francises have a lot of decision-making power. The McDonald's restaurants in India have 6 or 7 different vegetarian sandwich options.|
|McDonalds in Rajasthan, India. My favorite is the Paneer Salsa Wrap, but the McAloo Tikki is pretty good too.||The famous "first McDonalds" of Moscow. People in Moscow are fairly famous for not being so friendly. The staff at McDonalds is the exception. They were the only Muscovites I saw smiling.|
The McDonalds in Cairo, Egypt delivers to your home! This is their fleet of delivery scooters.
|This is the McDonalds in Xian, China - home of the terracotta warriors. (It's a cultural heritage site, not a football team.)|
|In Bangkok, they have big statues of Ronald greeting you.||
My favorite is the traditional Sawadee-Thai-greeting Ronald
|This is in downtown Beijing, China. I think it's ironic that you can see a poster for the Communist party and a sign for McDonalds at the same time. That's progress for you, I suppose. (There's a small golden arches in the upper left of the left photo. I don't know if you saw it or not. It's easy to miss.)|
I know what you're thinking:
Hey, those last eight photos weren't all that funny! What's going on? Warren, why are you sucking up to McDonalds instead of making fun of them?
Well, that's because page two starts to get . . . well, bad. So I thought I'd soften you up and let you know that I really do like McDonalds. I'm not some violent anti-fast-food protestor. OK? So now, you're ready for the next page .