Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sigh... Some Facts About the Ronald McDonald Beheading

Remember I mentioned that I was dreaming of a fascinating Finland in my very last post? Well, it's just the same as everywhere else. I dug a little deeper.

Jani Leinonen, a fine artist, is the guy behind the video. Here he is mugging, if only with his eyes.

He was arrested, and his computer, cell phone, and some of his art were confiscated. After being handcuffed and led out along with his assistant, he was interrogated for more than 30 hours. A pretty extreme reaction to the crime of stealing a plastic statue from a store. He didn't destroy it, even, it was a plaster copy that lost its head. Don't mess with the clown, I guess, he has the police in his pocket, even in far-off Finland.

Leinonen told NPR that there are no security cameras at that McDonald's, so he went and ate there the next day. Nevertheless, he made sure the kidnapping was caught on film. Obviously, the employees themselves don't care very much.

I had a look at the man's art. Y'know, maybe in the early 90s, putting a KKK hood on Cap'n Crunch, or giving his penis a face or whatever, would've had some meaning, at least in connection with the surge of interest in free speech back then. Now, it just looks like a childish prank to me, like shock meant to attract publicity. I guess culture is just as stagnant in Finland as it is in the USA. This stuff is far from the aesthetic heroism of, say, the Fluxus group in the 1960s.

His work only seems to justify the corporation's response that the gesture was "in very bad taste."

worth noting that, when it came out that he's an artist, Leinonen himself felt it necessary to state that the beheading was not just "a performance." He may have sensed a loss of credibility for the FLA himself.

The Food Liberation Army exists anyhow. It's a group of about 200 people from different professions. That's something interesting.

Maybe I'm being too negative here. I don't know if my growing disenchantment with culture is a result of its rapidly decreasing significance only, or if my own increasing age plays a part too. I can tell you that disappointments of this kind drive me to seek deeper and more lasting consolations, which is a good thing. It's why I do what I do, and that includes the diet I follow, the planting I do, and my emphasis on love over passing distractions. That's a very good thing.

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