James Franco’s an artist. Did you know that? He acts and writes and thinks very seriously about things—from large, existential conundrums to life’s minutiae.
The pseudo-philosopher recently penned a piece for the Washington Post, detailing the three months he spent working at McDonald’s. We’ll spare you the trouble of reading Franco’s overwrought prose and highlight the good stuff.
He wants McDonald’s to be dominant again.
“But I want the strategy to work. All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was.”
Working for the chain after he dropped out of college was not below him.
“Someone asked me if I was too good to work at McDonald’s. Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald’s. Tbh, he did some really weird things when he worked there, like trying out accents on customers. And I went on several dates as a thick-tongued kid from Bed-Stuy, even though my only brush with the actual place had been through watching “Do the Right Thing.”
You, the customer, are also not too good for the chain
“Some customers seem to think that paying for food entitles them to boss the service workers around, but if you’re buying fast food, how much entitlement does that buy you? When you’re paying a dollar for a burger, is it the end of the world if I accidentally forgot to take the mustard off the order?”
Even though he’s famous, he’s really just like you—he also craves burgers
“But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.”
Franco’s essay, for all of the corniness involved, wasn’t the worst thing one could read on the Internet today (it sure as hell beats any #Deflategate hot takes), but pardon anyone for coming away from it a cynic. The actor did drop some genuine insights, but the rest of the piece reads like every other celeb-centered trope piece that uses McDonald’s as a way to humanize the subject.
The New York Times ran a profile on 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker and GOP golden boy Paul Ryan that uses the same tactic: Both men worked at McDonald’s at one point, so hey! They’re just like us regular schmucks! They have character and humility! What it disregards is the fact that—no matter your political stance—these men attained their positions without any McDonald’s life lessons: through relationships, money, and trumpeting the party line. Ditto for Franco. It’s hard to take his stance on the chain seriously when he only worked there for three months and eats there sporadically.
Let’s retire these cliché pieces and let McDonald’s live. Leave the pondering of its woes (and effect on prospective presidential candidates) to economists and business writers.
[Via Washington Post]