Friday, 22 May 2009

A famous character

Villeneuve lès AvignonDo you know this clown? I'd be surprised if you said no - he must be one of the best known characters in the whole world. I actually find that idea quite disturbing because I have no sympathy for what he represents - the spread of American junk food to the whole planet. I'll tell you tomorrow what he was doing in Villeneuve lès Avignon on Wednesday but in the meantime I must admit he was quite entertaining in showing the kids how to put a smile on your face: first you attach a string to each corner of your mouth, then pull the first string, and then the second.... eeek, here's the smile! Ooops, don't let go of the strings or the corners of your mouth will drop again!

Connaissez-vous ce clown? Ca m'étonnerait que vous disiez non, c'est sans doute l'un des personnages les plus connus au monde. C'est d'ailleurs une idée qui me perturbe car je n'ai aucune sympathie pour ce qu'il représente - la malbouffe américaine s'étendant sur toute la planète. Je vous expliquerai demain ce qu'il faisait hier sur la place du marché à Villeneuve les Avignon, mais en attendant je dois dire qu'il était assez divertissant quand il montrait aux enfants comment s'accrocher un sourire sur la figure : d'abord s'attacher une ficelle à chaque coin de la bouche, tirer sur la première ficelle, puis sur la seconde.... iiiiii... voilà ! Oups, attention de ne pas lâcher les ficelles sinon le sourire retombe !Come on, everybody do the string-pulling smile - you too, the lady with the camera!

Allez, tout le monde fait le sourire avec les ficelles - vous aussi, la dame avec l'appareil photo !

42 comments:

Laurie said...

Wow! A Corporate Clown - very alarming. I am surprised you weren't arrested . . .
Great shots, though.
Best wishes
Laurie

Babooshka said...

He absolutely terrifies me as a clown and everything he stand for. Shudder at this image, but I will have to find out why he's here.

Owen said...

Oh no ! ... Ronald in Avignon... he is one big reason I left the USA, but even across an ocean can't seem to escape the homogenization of human life as personified by this robot clone of a clown.

Tom Robbins did a piece about Ray Kroc, the founder of McD's in his book "Wild Ducks Flying Backwards", which I've been meaning to do a short review about soon, as I just finished reading it. Tom Robbins said this about McDonald's and Ray Kroc :

"So what if democracy tends to sanctify mediocrity and McDonald's represents mediocrity at its zenith, its most sublime? Fast foods are perfectly suited for America, for a population on the move; a fluid, informal people, unburdened by a pretension or tradition; a sweetly vulgar race, undermined by its own brash naiveté, rather than by Asian stoicism or European angst. Today there are McDonald's in Tokyo and Vienna (and Villeneuve les Avignon?) but they don't blend in and never will. Here, they are at the heart of the matter, reductive kitchens for a classless culture that hasn't time to dally on its way to the next rainbow's end."

And for anyone who has not yet read all of Tom Robbins' work, I would highly recommend any and all of his books ! He is a visionary.

Bob Crowe said...

Oh, here he is again polluting french culture! My son and Chicago photoblogger just dressed as one of Ronald's henchmen when he visited San Francisco last weekend (http://dailyphotobutcherfortheworld.blogspot.com/2009/05/robble-robble_17.html).

raphaelleae said...
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raphaelleae said...
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Babzy said...

Un peu de pub pour ce drôle de clown , j'attends les explications ;)

raphaelleae said...
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raphaelleae said...
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Linda said...

Presumably the next thing you do to put a smile on your face is to buy a hamburger?

Olivier said...

c'est comme ça qu'ils envahissent l'imaginaire des enfants, c'est une tres bonne communication..au fait la dame à l'APN, elle a souri ?

Avignon said...

Il y a en juillet au théâtre du Balcon deux pièces en une qui s'intitulent "L’HISTOIRE DE RONALD, LE CLOWN DE MCDONALD’S" et "J’AI ACHETÉ UNE PELLE CHEZ IKEA POUR CREUSER MA TOMBE"...

Comment a-ton laissé cet individu nuisible s'adresser à des enfants ?

D'accord pour 7 h au Rocher, mais QUEL JOUR ???

delphinium said...

je veux les mêmes pompes! :-)
La malbouffe américaine. J'avoue que de temps en temps, càd trois fois par année, je rentre dans un macdo.
C'est une expérience toujours épatante. Des tas de familles avec des enfants. A croire que les enfants et les familles ne peuvent pas aller dans les autre restos. Il y a du vrai là-dedans, le macdo reste un endroit peu cher, accessible à tout le monde, à toutes les bourses.
Il y a à réfléchir là-dessus n'est-ce pas? Bises et bon WE.

claude said...

Mon macDo à moi, c'est à la maison, je fais d'excellent hamburgers moi-même. j'attends de savoitr ce que ce clown faisait hier. Pro ou anti MacDo ! That is the question !
Tes photos sont excellentes,
J'aime bien celles du post précédent aussi.

Chuckeroon said...

Am I right, or mistaken? The Senior management of MacD's is now French and Australian? It / they are having a transforming influence. I'm careful not to join general attack on poor old MacD, but like most Europeans I regret their style. The same goes for that awful Starbuck's brand. The sooner that goes, the better. But even they, in the early days did help to raise the game.
So how's all this for "sitting on the fence" ;-) Perfidious Albion!!

Frank said...

Thank you for reminding us in the USA how widespread are the brands we take for granted here. When I travel and find a Starbucks in Paris or Prague it seems like a bit of home to welcome and comfort. But I fully understand how just the opposite can be the feelings of our friends in other countries. I guess if no one, anywhere, shopped/ate/drank at these places they would close up and go away. Here. There. Anywhere. The photos BTW are really good. I sincerely wish more of France would move to Florida. Please.

jeff34 said...

Ben dis-donc ! Comme quoi Ronald déchaines les passions ! Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirais qui tu es !... Il m'a fallu 5 minutes pour faire défiler le curseur de ta barre des commentaires ! Sans dec. !... 5 minutes ! Remarques 5 minutes, c'est le temps que ça m'a pris la dernière fois que j'ai "bouffé" ( sorry ) chez Ronald ! J'avais pris quoi... un big Mac et un café ! ça fait presque un an et j'ai pas encore digéré les frites !... et j'aime bien manger léger pourtant !
Et dire que les enfants adorent McDo...! Faut éduquer toute cette génération de Ronald...! Et ça marche... crois-moi ! Rien de mieux que de préparer soi-même les repas pour ensuite découvrir que Ronald, aussi con vivial soit-il, c'est pas encore ça !...
Au fait, à bien y regarder...! Je vois un M...! Tu vas pas nous poster un H tomorrow ?
Salut Owen ! coment vas-tu ?

Ben moi aussi, ça ma fait du bien de parler de R ! 5 minutes...!
Je t'invite la prochaine fois...! Disons Plusieurs minutes !...
Bises Nath !... ;-)

Starman said...

I haven't eaten anything from McDonald's in many, many years and it's not likely I ever will again. But having said that, it is all those who do eat there that indirectly sponsor the Ronald McDonald House where children who could not otherwise afford hospital care, can be treated for free, or at least very little. Whatever else you may say about McDonald's, you have to admit that is a good cause. Of course, there are those who might point out that eating at McDonald's is probably the reason so many are ill in the first place.

Nathalie.avignon said...

Starman, if the only purpose of McDonald's restaurants was to raise funds for Ronald McDonald houses, we'd know about it. Unfortunately it is not so.
RMC houses are just a penny in the ocean of profits that the company makes.

And if it's so costly to have a sick child in the USA, perhaps it is time your country introduces a healthcare cover (perhaps using Europe as an inspirational model?)
Just food for thought...

Abe Lincoln said...

I don't like clowns. Especially the weird ones.

jeff34 said...

Starman...! You really understand business and... business writting with a M like MoneyCold DOing !

Adam said...

I think it should be pointed out that all clowns are scary, and that original clowns were representations of the devil!

As for this Ronald, well, it's the first time I've ever seen one in France! Where was the Harmburglar?

Owen said...

Oh my, looks like this issue touches some nerves. One could also say it is ludicrous to make sweeping dismissals of other points of view simply because one does not agree with them.

Funny that the word "lucre" as in the expression "filthy lucre" comes immediately before "ludicrous" in my dictionary. Although any individual performing clown may be amusing in his own right for a funny moment on a sunny afternoon, with his antics, big shoes, and makeup, which will naturally charm children, I can't help but cringe at the notion of using a clown so cynically to promote a major corporation, while working to brainwash kids into becoming future customers. Sort of like cigarette companies promoting the production of candy cigarettes for kids. We are talking about a corporation that had 23.5 billion dollars in revenue in 2008.

Tom Robbins is far too subtle, complex, and sophisticated a writer to be dismissed as a jokester or worse, as naive. His story, which was first published in Esquire magazine in 1983, is not a biased or totally harsh criticism of Ray Kroc, or of McDonald's. It might help to read the entire article to get a more balanced sense of his thoughts on this fatty subject. As mentioned above, it can be found in his wonderful book, as in full of wonder; "Wild Ducks Flying Backwards".

His article finishes with this charming assessment :

"Best of all, a hamburger doesn't take itself seriously. Thus, it embodies that generous sense of humor that persists in America even as our bacon burns and our cookies crumble. McDonald's has served forty-five billion burgers, and every single one of them has had a smile on its face. So, to Ray Kroc grant a pardon for his crimes against cows, stay his sentence for having ambushed our individuality at Standardization Gulch, order him to perform no more than, say, fifty thousand hours of community service for turning us into a waddling race of lard-assed chubs. Yes, he has changed our habits, undeniably for the worse, but a man who can say of himself, as Kroc did, that "it requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun" is a man who can cut the mustard."
============================

And I might add, in closing here, that if anyone has not yet seen the film "Supersize Me", it is worth watching...

Ronaldo McDonaldo, Esquire. said...

Pour utiliser ma photo ici il faut promettre par écrit que tu vas manger trois fois par jour chez McDo pendant deux ans... okey dokey???

raphaelleae said...
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claude said...

Sur un autre mur de la maison, nous avons planté il y a trois ans une clématite bleue et une rose.
L'année d'après, un des deux meurt mais lequel ? le bleu ou le rose. On rachète un bleu. l'année suivante les fleurs roses sont blanches et va donc savoir por que, le pied meurt. L'année d'après de l'année suivante de l'année d'après, on rachète un pied de clématites roses. Va donc savoir per que, les fleurs sont bleues, incroyable, non !!!
Je crois que je n'arriverai jamais au mélange rose,bleu. C'est bien ce qu'on achète, maintenant !

jeff34 said...
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Remember said...

Children are wonderful !...

raphaelleae said...
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H.Peter said...

Nothing like a little controversy.
Not in defense of Mcdonalds, but in defense of convenience, one must admit that "fast food" can be OK.

Let's just say that a simple Baguette Jambon tastes better, but for sure we should question it's nutritonal value, non?

Avignon said...

Incroyable ! Les Américains ne semblent absolument pas conscients du mal que ce clown peut faire !

Incredible! Americans seem completely unaware of the harm that this clown can do !

Jilly said...

Nathalie, a lovely set of photographs and goodness what a lot of 'interesting' comments. Well I'm going to talk about the photography because I love it and as I don't eat meat, I guess I don't have to enter the conversation, except I wouldn't go into a McDonald's if you paid me. I was astounded, when I first moved to France on a permanent basis to find them here. There's one in Menton and one in Monaco too.

raphaelleae said...
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raphaelleae said...
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Dina said...

I don't like his attitude in the last photo.
Since childhood I always feel sorry for clowns.

Avignon said...

Maintenant je sais ce que dit Ronald dans la dernière photo :
« Toi, Nathalie, tais-toi ! »

raphaelleae said...
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Avignon said...

Puteng Ronald et la malbouffe : 37 commentaires et c'est pas fini !

Où il est ? Où il est ? que je le photographie !!!

Nathalie said...

One of the commentators above made vigorous attacks against another, something I really wasn't happy about. I'm all for exchange of ideas but personal accusations are not on. Finally this person decided to remove all her comments. Readers coming now might find the reading difficult as they are missing half the conversation and the controversy some of them refer to is no longer there.

Some very interesting points were raised however and I hope you will enjoy everyone's reactions as much as I did. Thanks to all for your input.

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R Ways said...

I love and hate Ronnie at the same time that red flare of hair can mean so much fun and grease.


Ew what a crash of words here..Someone got sandwiched in like a big Mac or it looks like a triple big Mac!

Again on behalf of the kids in America I will never hate Ronnie but I can never love him!

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