I am black, you are white, together, we symbolize … uh … something weird that i don’t quite get.

Beijing residents were confused by their local McDonald’s recent introduction of a special menu item: a black-bunned beef burger and a white-bunned chicken burger, which you can order together or separately. Were they supposed to symbolize yin and yang? Or was it just to show off how well a giant corporation can manipulate bun colors? There is a rumor – it’s so weird and obscure we can’t bring ourselves to call it anything but a rumor – that the black and white burgers are supposed to symbolize people who are so well-connected with both the government (that’s the white side) and organized crime (that’s the black) that they can “eat from both sides,” i.e. have a foot in both camps. Which clarifies approximately nothing.

OK, we get that other cultures use different metaphors than we do and so on but forgive us if it’s hard to get our minds around how this good/evil thing connects to burgers.  It seems like a very cumbersome way to communicate, like conducting a campaign debate by making tacos or trying to review the latest Breaking Bad using only dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets.

Also, it’s hard to get mad about Evil when the burgers look kind of good. The black burger has black pepper sauce and onions, and the white burger is sort of spicy-sweet, and even with the Spy vs. Spy color scheme they both look more like food than anything American McDonald’s has to offer. We might actually eat them, and if we are really hungry, we might just forget about the message behind them.

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