McCulture

 By Shamus Aug 7, 2006 5 comments

Saturday morning, McDonald’s. The same McDonald’s where I met my wife, in fact. I’m sitting with the family enjoying a very greasy and heart-impeding breakfast. The music this morning is a collection of expired pop music from the early 60′s. There’s some Beatles and maybe an Elvis in the mix. A doo-wop song floats by harmlessly. People have been hearing this stuff in grocery stores for years and have learned to tune it out. The music is only there to keep the place from being to dull and quiet. It’s just a low-level murmur of notes so that people can talk without their conversations overlapping with those going on at adjacent tables.

Then LA Woman by The Doors comes on. The music doesn’t really fit on a sunny August morning in western PA, but it does not cause a scandal. The old timers – men who were middle-aged when the song was still on the charts – take no notice. None of the mothers present clamp their hands over the ears of their children. Nobody is shocked. There is nothing surprising about hearing something like this piped into the restaurant. I mean, it’s just oldies. Right?

Drive Through
Drive on through to the other side! Drive on through to the other side!

It’s a very strange thing. LA Woman came out the year I was born – 1971. The Doors were considered to be very edgy and subversive at the time, or so I’m told. The song certainly wouldn’t have been played in a McDonald’s back then. It still doesn’t really fit in the red and yellow plastic clown world of MickeyDees, but nothing short of circus music would suit the atmosphere of that place. Although the lyrics haven’t changed and the tune is the same, it has been rendered somehow “family friendly” simply by aging.

I also realized: Thirty years from now I’ll be sitting in a McDonald’s somewhere and nobody will be surprised when Marlyin Manson comes on.

5Five easy comments.


  1. Sob. In 1971 I graduated from high school.

  2. Shamus says:

    Wow. You don’t look that old in the pictures on your website. Even allowing for the fact that the pics might be a couple of years old, I wouldn’t have guessed you were too far over forty. I guess the beard helps.

    You really weren’t kidding when you said you were a geek before I was born…

  3. kat says:

    Not McDonald’s, but the Japanese restaurant where I ate on Saturday played both Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana. ^^;

  4. Dan says:

    I used to sing the “drive on thru to the other side” to my BK lounge customers all the time.
    Or I’d sing – pull up TO THE WINDOW TO WALLS…. (it’s a crappy rap song if you don’t know shamus)

  5. Kyte says:

    The song itself never changed. It’s the perception of what’s acceptable and what’s scandalous that has aged. ;)

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!