One Whopper ... and Hold the Ugly-American Sauce

Burger King Campaign Shows Off American Provincialism at Its Worse

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Chris Abraham Chris Abraham

Burger King has brought the Whopper vs. Big Mac taste test to the farthest corners of the globe in search of Whopper Virgins. According to the site, there are still people in the world who have never been marketed to by either McDonald's or Burger King, to say nothing of having tasted the two flagship burgers of each fast-food restaurant. For these people, Whoppers and Big Macs were either spirited to them from the closest restaurants--In the case of Bucharest, Romania, both were within 15 minutes--or the burgers were made by hand by a quality expert on a specially-designed propane travel flame broiler.

Whopper Virgins promised to be a proper documentary film, I was assured. The filmmakers would simply find people who have not been market-bombed by McDonald's -- a few of the uncorrupted -- and allow them to taste both burgers et voila! Nothing could go wrong, surely, from such a noble aim, right? I mean, their goal was to simply escape the mediasphere and find some folks who have remained (until, of course, now) pure from the media machine (Schrodinger's documentary!).

Of course, a lot of the buzz about this documentary happened on Twitter, especially in light of Motrin Moms and the Pepsi suicide ads. People have been very leery of the entire endeavor. And, of course, it has been called American imperialism.

The Whopper Virgins documentary reveals as much about the provincialism of Americans as it does possibly about the "primitives" they're documenting. Besides, the American obsession with the "Noble Savage" is so 18th century. And this sort of untoward behavior is the furthest thing from noblesse oblige. They are neither being noble nor are they honoring any sort of moral obligation.

My one question is whether authentic cultural garb was procured for these taste-testers. I hate to burst your bubble but Bucharest is a proper city with a major university. I have a friend who has her Masters in genetics and her Ph.D. in immunology. She almost never dresses in these Romanian costumes. Wait, actually never. Not only that, but this McDocumentary (sorry McDonalds) should have been edited because the open and honest interviews with the ugly Americans is appallingly insensitive and disgusting.

So, tell me, are those traditional cultural costumes authentic or monkey suits? Was this the decision of the bonehead producer or the director, or did this crisp, minty-fresh garb just happen to be what these folks were wearing? Were they just aching to be used there in the back of everyones' closet? Or, was this the regalia these test subject were wearing when and where they were discovered? I really want to know!

The most deplorable part of this documentary is the critique and unself-aware commentary of the way these test subjects took to the burger, along the lines of "These people are so authentic because they don't even know how to eat a burger to say nothing of a sandwich."

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