Meet nine-year-old Hannah Robertson:
McDonald’s needs kids more than today’s kids need McDonald’s.
Perhaps no one knows that better than CEO Don Thompson, who was seriously put on the hot seat by a 9-year-old girl at Thursday’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Oak Brook, Ill.
For a few moments, Hannah Robertson — whose mother, Kia, is a kid’s nutritional activist and creator of an interactive children’s game on nutrition called Today I Ate a Rainbow — stood and lectured the CEO of one of the world’s biggest brands.
“There are things in life that aren’t fair — like when your pet dies,” said Hannah, whose voice never wavered. “I don’t think it’s fair when big companies try to trick kids into eating food. It isn’t fair that so many kids my age are getting sick,” she said — blaming McDonald’s for unfairly targeting kids with advertisements for food that isn’t good for them.
Hannah ended her time-limited comments, made during the meeting’s question-and-answer session, by pointedly but politely asking: “Mr. Thompson, don’t you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and healthy life?”
It’s actually unfair to call young Hannah appalling. Her mother, who surely put her up to this little stunt, should however probably be brought up on charges: If playground bullying is bad, why is moral bullying OK, and even applauded?
None of this is to give support to McDonald’s, mind you. The Three Little Pricks have been taught from birth that save for the occasional road trip Big Mac the stuff’s pretty cretinous. The six-year-old still believes that if you eat too much of it you’ll grow a rat’s tail.
But the boys also understand, unlike Hannah’s mother, that individuals still do, and should continue to, have the power to control not only their choices but their appetites.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse on using nine-year-0lds for political purposes. It’s not OK, even when the target is the loathsome Rahm Emanuel:
I’ve watched the video, and my reaction is: Adults taught him a speech. He’s being used as a political puppet. I’ve seen far too much of the use of children in politics — click my “using children in politics” tag — and I don’t like it. I think it’s especially bad to teach a child to yell angrily at another person and to exhibit hostility, and it’s bad for us to express enthusiasm about a child who’s good at giving the scripted performance. This is not how children should be taught. Ironically, the topic under discussion is education.
I’ve seen this before, in Wisconsin, with children taught to chant or sing the adults’ hostility toward Gov. Scott Walker. I don’t like when children are used to sing the praises of a politician either. We all know the absurd children’s choirs singing about Barack Obama as if he’s a divinity. But teaching children to perform hatred is another matter. Children need to learn about policy and politics over time, so that they understand the substance of the issues and can make their own choices.
Read the whole thing, as they say.