13 May 2006

A few ethics short of a Happy Meal®

by Phil Johnson

A PyroManiacs special Mother's Day news bulletin for Homeschool Moms

Apparently Ronald McDonald isn't wearing white makeup, orange hair, and striped stockings for nothing. McDonald's sponsors a website that wants your daughters to embrace the Goth lifestyle.
Christian parents who think the large portal websites designed for little kids must be perfectly safe ought to take a second look at the KidzWorld site, whose biggest corporate sponsor is none other than McDonald's. (In fact, McDonald's name and logo are so ubiquitous at KidzWorld that it looks like a McDonald's-owned site.)

"Get the Goods on Goth Style"

According to KidzWorld, death as a "lifestyle" is really cool. "If you identify more with Marilyn Manson than Britney Spears, or if you'd rather date your mom than be caught wearing anything floral or J. Lo inspired, you should check out the ins and outs of gothic style," the page tells little girls. The graphic to the left, replete with skull and crossbones on the bottle, is from the KidzWorld site.

Overall, KidzWorld's pages are brightly colored, and that may not seem to fit well with the Gothic mood, but no worries. The article carefully gives your daughter all the helpful tips she needs on Goth basics like black nail polish, black boots, hair dye, studs, and black eyeliner ("Great for lining lips, eyes or drawing stuff on your face").

Those are the "Five Goth Essentials," according to KidzWorld. Links on the page will take the kids to an informative biography on Marilyn Manson. Warning: follow the "Goth clothing" links too far and you will be on the bad side of the Internet pretty quickly.

There's even a place for feedback from the kids. One fourteen-year-old ominously calling herself "Slipknot_4ever" writes, "Thank you so much for the article the goods for goths! I really wanted to go goth and this will really help me! I really needed this article and thank you again! I just have one question, do you know where to find a lot of kool black clothes in Canada? Thanks again!"

At least one 15-year-old critic with obvious expertise in things Gothic (nickname: Acidalayde) thinks KidzWorld's advice is a tad lame. She offers this helpful addendum for the younger girls: "[They] forgot to mention Tape. Duct-Tape, and electrician's tape, can be your best friend. And GAH. Remember kiddies, being the mime is bad, go past the chin-line and to the neck. And neon colours work too. If you want help with style look up Switchblade Symphony, Rasputina, Sisters of Mercy, Cradle of Filth on search engines such as Google"

Hmmm. I certainly wouldn't try those searches. Googling "Cradle of Filth" sounds like a pretty bad bit of advice for adolescent girls. I guarantee it's not what most parents think their kids are being exposed to when they this large, colorful website for kids that promises to keep your children "safe" from the dark side of the Web.

As if that weren't enough...

KidzWorld furnishes links to teen horoscopes, another page on our old friends Hoobastank, a special feature on The Pioneers of Punk, and a surprising array of pages peddling more disgusting aspects of culture's dark side than you can imagine.

KidzWorld is promoting this stuff aggressively and directly to little kids. It's a pretty safe bet that most parents aren't even watching. After all, a website supported so heavily by McDonald's wouldn't deliberately corrupt our kids by promoting Marilyn Manson behind their parents' back—would they?

Well, check out this a sampling of what the KidzWorld search engine serves up for your kids if you put in the word punk. If your kids try the word gay, they'll be offered, among other things, an article that tells what Rosie O'Donnell is doing to help gay parents adopt children.

You may wonder why a website for kids which bills itself as "a safe and secure portal to the best the web has to offer" feels it is their prerogative to instruct your kids on values, lifestyle, and moral issues. Actually, the article on gay adoption is carefully written in totally amoral tones. KidzWorld will surely insist that they are not advocating anything one way or the other. They just want to know what your kids think about such things. Feedback from the kids, as always, is solicited.

Anyway, don't be fooled by the bright colors and fuzzy animals at the top of every page on the site. Someone at KidzWorld is working pretty hard to corrupt your kids.

Shame on McDonald's for underwriting this. Their food is not that good anyway. I'm sticking with In 'n' Out.

Update: Wiccan work it out

An alert Canadian commenter, Rileysowner, points out that KidzWorld also includes a page celebrating "The Wonderful World of Wicca," which aims to instruct your little girls and boys on the finer nuances of witchcraft.

Try these two searches at the KidzWorld search engine, and note the stark difference in the results displayed:

  1. Wicca
  2. Christian
In the response section of this page, a 12-year-old reader asks: "I read your article on Wicca and it really interested me. I have one question though: Can be you be another religion and still be a Wiccan or do you have to be strictly a Wiccan?"

I deliberately haven't dug further into the KidzWorld website, and I'm not going to. It's one of those websites I know my mom wouldn't approve of, and I try to stay away from them.

Phil's signature


Gordon said...

Phil, thanks so much for sharing this. The word certainly needs to be spread on this.

lycaphim said...

Those pictures are freaky. I need to get out of my head now...

Carla Rolfe said...

Well my goodness Phil, they're just McEngaging the McCulture and making a concerted effort to be McCulturally McRelevant!

Honestly, it doesn't surprise me. It also wont surprise me when the response from many parents who hear about this will be McApathetic.

I miss In & Out burger, we don't have them here.


Jeremy Weaver said...

That's McDisturbing.
Where do entertainment companies (and now fast food joints) get the authority to parent our children anyway?

BTW, Aren't all burgers In 'n' Out burgers at some point in their life?

Carla Rolfe said...

Jeremy asks:

"Where do entertainment companies (and now fast food joints) get the authority to parent our children anyway?"

We handed it to them on a silver platter, when we noticed they made our lives easier, and convenient, and more entertaining.

The funny (ironic, not humorous) thing is, I can hear parents now:

"Oh good grief, how ridiculous is it to think that if my kids like a big mac now and then, that's going to somehow make them goth!?"

Well... McD's knows exactly how much influence they have on kids. In fact, they've been banking on it (literally) for an entire generation.

The real question is, do parents have a clue just how much influence these companies have?

Just a few thoughts...


chamblee54 said...

"Actually, the article on gay adoption is carefully written in totally amoral tones. McDonald's will surely insist that they are not advocating anything one way or the other."
Wait a minute here. The article on gay adoption was from a google search. It was not from the McDonalds page, or is it? (I did not check).While a goth Ronald McDonald (what a visual) is arguably a bad influence on teenagers, you sacrifice credibility when you play cheap rhetorical tricks like the one in that quote. If we are to trust what you say, you need to be more honest than that.
The spell check suggestions for “goth” are: Goth, got, gosh, both, moth, gothic, gotten, goat, gout, goats, gouty, goatee

John Schroeder said...


You are correct in your comments here, but for once, just once, could you not have simply celebrated Mothers and saved the sniping, griping and warning for Monday!

Not every day needs bad news.

Jeff Wright said...

Hmm...I wonder how the megachurchs with McDonalds inside can capitalize on this? :)

Phil Johnson said...

Chamblee: It's not Google, but the internal search engine at the McDonald's page that takes you to the "Gay Adoption" article. What's more, the "Gay Adoption" article itself is part of the McDonald's KidzWorld website, not an offsite link. No cheap rhetorical tricks here. Check it out for yourself. I put the links right in the article, so you could have easily checked them first and saved yourself the effort of writing a comment.

Jon Schroeder: I made that post last night. What are you doing awake so early on Mother's Day posting sniping, griping, and warning comments on my blog?

The Principal said...

What is so suprising about this? We have a great venue for introducing all this stuff and more to our kids. Not only can we get the corporate input, but the professionally trained adult and ever so powerful peer input too. It's our public schools. I have to tell you, this is minor league compared to the things our kids are exposed to daily, hourly, with every sound and glance in the classroom, playground, restroom. Thanks to the moms (and dads) that do what they can to raise thier families in the nuture and admonition of the Lord. This is worth celebrating indeed. Mr. Weaver, parents give these corporations the authority to raise our kids in the nurture and admonition of the world by default every time the children are dropped off at these statist institutions.

chamblee54 said...

Phil, you are correct . I went to kidzworld, and entered “adoption” in the search engine ( once the pop ups calmed down). Under articles about Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears, I found ” Where Do Babies Come From? | Lesbian Parents | Gay Moms & Dads “.
Websearches are not always this easy. But then, how many “kidz” go to McDonalds looking for information on adoption?

Kim said...

I'm not the least bit surprised. Large corporations are not there to provide solid, moral teaching; they're in it to make money. McDonalds obviously knows that the group who spends the most at their restaurants are the ones who will be most interested in their links.

Phil Walker said...

"Actually, the article on gay adoption is carefully written in totally amoral tones. McDonald's will surely insist that they are not advocating anything one way or the other."

I'm not so sure. That penultimate paragraph seemed to be pushing a line quite strongly: "Florida should congratulate [such an adoptive couple,] not punish them with outdated laws and narrowminded [atti]tudes!" sounds quite moralistic to me. Just not the morality we're, um, used to, that's all.

Rileysowner said...

And you didn't even mention their various pages on Wicca

Matt Gumm said...

Yet another reason to keep my kids away from the internet. Thanks for the heads up.

Oh, and on a sarcastic note, thanks a lot for rubbing in the In-N-Out Burger thing. Hmm, I wonder if they would survive a plane trip at the end of June to...oh, never mind.

brlittle said...

Makes you wonder if Ronald McDonald and
Pennywise really aren't one and the same!

chamblee54 said...

By way of apology for my mistake, here
is an idea of what a goth ronald looks like.

Anonymous said...

5x5 animal style no tomato protein style. That's what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

BTW, the simple answer is McDonalds is trying to get back in the lefts good graces after Super Size Me. They likely figure if they can join the melee of cultural devolution, the left won't invent a sin tax for french fries. The corporate big wigs probably hired a bunch of smelly Berkeley grad students to develop a more progressive image.

Brad said...

mmmm.....an In-N-Out burger sounds GOOD! That is one of the things I miss the most about Southern California. I wonder how well one would do being shipped via UPS???

Just a thought

4given said...

That is just outright disturbing.

Dear McCarla... You are always McFunny. Thanks for making me McLaugh again. :-)

John S. wrote: "but for once, just once, could you not have simply celebrated Mothers and saved the sniping, griping and warning for Monday."

Actually I like Carla's take on the celebration of Mother's Day on her site. Essentially people are celebrating what we are called to do and it actually makes most of us uncomfortable. I have 6 kids. Yes, I love being there mother. But making such a hoopla out of Mother's Day is more for Hallmark to make money than it is for mother's... Carla said this way better, but essentially this is like saying "Happy poopy diaper day" or "Happy wipe this and that all day Day"
Yes, that is what we do... alot of wiping. And we do it because it is what we do... hopefully to the praise and glory of God, not for us to be celebrated. Not as mundane drudgery, but as a holy privilege. We do appreciate encouragement, because unlike corporate America our bonuses come from "chocolate covered kisses" and "water colored ponies on our refridgerator door."
I like this post. It was informative, and I was totally clueless.

Ummm Brad, UPS burger... think green and hairy.

Federico Perazzoni said...


Very very nice....

Jeremy Weaver said...

Right on Carla.

Lot said...

... micky D's?!? You blogged on micky D's? ... dude, must've been a slow news day in S. CA ... Phil Johnson blogs on Ronald McDonald ... not the charismatics, not the arminians, not the emergent churchers ... Grimace and the Hamburgler ... oh dear ...

I gotta admit, though. It was humorously suprising.

Lots Tusej

Anonymous said...

Okay Phil we don't have an In and Out up here in the great Northwest but Mickey D's has just become fast-fooda non gratia at our house.

Kenneth said...

I called Mcdonalds 1-800 number given from there website and the lady I talked to said that she didn't have any record of Mcdonalds being affiliated with the Kidz World website.

Momo said...

Phil should have known better than this. I can't believe he has the audacity to post this on Mother's day. There must be a verse in Ecclesiastes somewhere that has been violated. It's probably right next to the one about keeping this important date on the Church's liturgical calendar. (God forbid we should violate the Baptist liturgical calendar.) I hope none of you pastors preached on anything non-mother's-dayish today.

Mike Ratliff said...

I never eat there anyway and my kids are grown. However, one of these days I should have grandkids and I would sure want to protect them from this sort of thing.

Romans 12:1-2 says: "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Shouldn't Christian parents not only do this themseleves, but also do all to raise their Children within the Fear of God as they disciple them to see that conformity to the World is to be opposing God?

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

LeeC said...

James Spurgeon said...
"Phil should have known better than this. I can't believe he has the audacity to post this on Mother's day. There must be a verse in Ecclesiastes somewhere that has been violated. It's probably right next to the one about keeping this important date on the Church's liturgical calendar. (God forbid we should violate the Baptist liturgical calendar.) I hope none of you pastors preached on anything non-mother's-dayish today."

Does the Gerasine Demoniac in Luke count?

Matt Gumm said...

James' comments notwithstanding, what could be more appropriate for Mother's Day than warning moms everywhere that the most popular restaurant on the planet has a website that offers to help turn their girls become Goth Wiccan Lesbians?

jigawatt said...

Is that the girl from Spider-Man?

Cindy Swanson said...

Appalling! Thanks for drawing attention to this.

4given said...

Exactly Mr. Gumm.

Momo said...

leec, Does the Gerasine Demoniac in Luke count?

No, brother, you're thinking about mother's-in-law day.

Steve Sensenig said...

leec wrote, Does the Gerasine Demoniac in Luke count?

to which James Spurgeon replied, No, brother, you're thinking about mother's-in-law day.

I love my mother-in-law, but I have say James, that it is a good thing I did not have a mouthful of coffee when I read this. That was classic!!

*high fives James*

Fred Butler said...

Is that the girl from Spider-Man?

It looks more like the chick from the 5th Element movie.


marc said...

You must be having an impact. I see McDonald's has recently shelved their plan for a "Demons of the Ancient World" themed happy meal in which children roll baby shaped french fries down into the mouth of a red-plastic Molech.

Phil Johnson said...

Marc: I hope you can get access to one of their prototypes, so we can see it on Purgatorio.

LeeC said...

James Spurgeon said...
"leec, Does the Gerasine Demoniac in Luke count?

No, brother, you're thinking about mother's-in-law day."

Actually Pastor Jack said something to the nature of:

" I tried to work in Mothers Day into this text somehow, and finally conludedd that the Geresene Demoniac had a mother. And thats as far as we are taking that!"


Solameanie said...

I see things like this and my cynical side says "God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but I certainly do."

Seriously, I don't take pleasure in judgment falling on this nation..especially as I am living in it..but I do wonder how much longer the Lord will allow our society to degenerate unchecked. Imagine Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Lassen Peak, Yellowstone erupting all together at the same time a couple of 9.0 earthquakes rip along the San Andreas Fault and the New Madrid Fault. Add to this list of calamities 13 Category 5 hurricanes all coming into the United States at the same time..one storm for each original colony.

As the Weather Channel says, "it could happen tomorrow."

Momo said...

solameanie, Yellowstone alone would do the trick, methinks.


farmboy said...

I always thought I preferred Whataburger over McDonalds because the food was better. Now I'll have to consider if this preference might be due to my tastes in fast food being partially sanctified. I don't know about the Whataburger Corporation or other franchise locations, but the particular Whataburger that I frequent regularly posts Christian messages on its sign board and plays Christian music in the restaurant. (Yes, I know, its contemporary Christian music, but this side of Heaven, we can't have everything!) Whataburger, another good reason to appreciate the Lone Star State!

ramona said...

Doesn't this make you wonder what else is out there, though? (See comment, "I have to tell you, this is minor league compared to the things our kids are exposed to daily, hourly, with every sound and glance in the classroom, playground, restroom.") As a homeschooling mom of 11 kids plus one cousin, my husband tells me I lead a "sheltered life" (in a kind way, of course). Thank you, God, for allowing me to shelter my kids under Your wing.


Anonymous said...

oh my goodness. That is so sad.

Andrew Jones said...

in and out TOTALLY rock! it is my regular pilgrimage joint in california.

btw - there has been a movement among goths who have decided to follow Jesus. many of them are friends of mine - some decide to stay with the black clothing, seeing a prophetic side to the colors. i know your readers will not appreciate that but i just want to mention it.

hey - what about allowing non-blogspot users (typepad, wordpress, etc) the chance to comment as ourselves?

and phil - i really miss your old blog - i just went to visit it for old times sake.

x_x_x said...

Mr. Johnson -
just wondering why the title, "A PyroManiacs special Mother's Day news bulletin for Homeschool Moms" was directed to homeschool moms???

Phil Johnson said...

rlw: Because homeschool moms have been fixtures, faithful commenters, and the brunt of frequent jokes here since day one. I personally like to remind them as often as possible that I know they are an important part of our audience. But in case you were wondering, we have nothing but the deepest affection for them.

Even the Canadian ones.

x_x_x said...

Being a homeschool momma, I'm relieved - thanks!

omg wats ur problem said...

ok now i have only 2 things to say people cant just b goth so the one girl from canada i have no idea wats goin on in her litle head but its so so so rong & parents today are too overbaring of their children anyway they are gonna learn about this stuff sooner or later so y not make it sooner so hes still youn enough to talk about it instead of just runnin out and tryin it i mean come on parents today should let their children express how they feel in their own ways

people who trn goth eather get mentally/phisically beatin by parents or anyone else there is

and as the site that has this crap on it its ashame they would put that crap on there in the 1st place how to become ""goth"" i bett half of the people who made the site only nose the basics and som other sites they dnt no anything about anything

and by the way im wat u would consider a goth i wear black clothes black fingernail polish wristbands showing the hatred to conformatives lifes BUT there is only one difference between me and other goths [i think that my life COULD change it COULD go the other way and i COULD become wat i once was]

Ronn said...

I came acroos this whilst doing homework on McDonalds for my business assignment.

What a shock!
If I had realised it was a site full of judgemental and apathetic bible bashers I wouldn't have bothered to read this intolerant and prejugdice article.
If you are that concerned about your children you should teach them not tobe easily influenced by articles on the net {Irony Intended.}

How DARE you pass your ridiculous "Moral" judgement on other peoples chosen way of life?
If somebody decides to be gay it is their choice and I am confident that although they have made this choice they have done more good than you and your stupid god-bothering friends have, they have given an orphan a homeless child a place of their own and the love of a parent, they have done their part to make the world a better place by helping an innocent and helpless child, which is more than can be said for yourself.
So take your morally-disambiguos comments and hove them in the confessions box and hope that God forgives you for the hatred and conflict you have bought into this world and encouraged, you dirty bigoted bastard.

Unknown said...

The McDonald chick was from an add advertised in Japan quite a while ago. The KidzWorld site is down now. Do these pictures have anything particular to do with it? They're not Goth.

All of the children who I've seen rebel did so because of parents who were too strict. I've seen parents with a good son and a crack head.

An instructor of mine once compared painting with watercolors to parenting. Make a brush stroke and let it do it's thing. I think most of you here should take that to heart.