Ronald McDonald had better look into renting Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout.  Several national newspapers recently published a letter, signed by over 1,000 health professionals and two-dozen institutions such as the Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition and the Inpatient Diabetes Program at Boston University, imploring McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner to “stop marketing junk food to children.”  In case he didn’t already know it, the signatories informed Skinner that “children suffering from conditions related to the food they eat” have swamped healthcare facilities.  If the awful eating habits of American youth persist, today’s children will likely be “the first in U.S. history” whose lives will be shorter than their parents’.

And how exactly is McDonald’s causing this national health crisis that, left unchecked, will prematurely kill off our youth?  Advertising, of course.  To be certain, McDonald’s has long polluted the planet’s airwaves with its moronic propaganda.  The blight caused by the ubiquitous golden arches atop the revolting architecture of its “restaurants” has arguably defaced the American landscape worse than the fat and sodium it passes off as food have damaged America’s coronary arteries.  But the letter specifically identifies one “Ronald McDonald” as the primary culprit in the company’s devious plan to commit genocide.

Although Mr. McDonald’s authoritative biography has yet to appear, the Today Show’s former weatherman, Willard Scott, has claimed credit for his creation.   In 1963 Mr. Scott appeared in three television commercials as “Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown,” thereby supplanting Bozo as the era’s leading funny man for those under the age of six.  McDonald’s disputes Scott’s version of the story, insisting that although Scott did in fact portray Ronald McDonald in 1963, Coco the Clown (a.k.a. Michael Polakovs) revamped Scott’s rendition into the version now recognizable to children the world over.  Today the red-haired, white-faced fast-food-foisting spokesclown, looking like a psychedelic ghost dreamed up under the influence of a bad LSD trip, “is as recognized as Santa Claus,” according to the aforementioned letter.

While authorities can argue about the effect of advertising on children’s behavior, only a fool would dismiss a parent’s key role in his child’s eating choices.  Not surprisingly, the letter does just that.  It accuses McDonald’s of willfully choosing to “pin responsibility for the epidemic of diet related disease on a breakdown in parental responsibility.”  And the authors concede that parental involvement in their children’s “diet and physical activity is vital.”  But then comes a ludicrous assertion.  The authors proclaim that “no authoritative data indicate a breakdown in parental responsibility.”  Really?  Do only peer-reviewed social-science journal articles count as “authoritative”?  Or might daily observation provide irrefutable evidence that parental responsibility has not just broken down but completely disappeared from some sectors of American society?

Exhibit A: In late May, 18-year-old Laquasia Wright threw her newborn baby down the garbage chute of her Brooklyn, New York, public-housing project.  The building’s janitor, startled to hear cries emanating from the pile of trash he was removing for pickup by city sanitation workers, sifted through the rubbish.  Luckily the janitor rescued the discarded infant, who is now in a local hospital recovering from his harrowing eight-story plunge.  Echoing sentiments likely shared by the janitor and those of us with brains and hearts, Wright’s neighbor Tisha Holmes commented that people such as Wright “need to burn in hell.”  In a prime example of the breakdown of grandparental responsibility, Wright’s mother, with whom she lived, did not even know her daughter was pregnant.

But one data point does not a statistical sample make.  Herewith Exhibit B: One month before Wright’s despicable crime, Dawa Lama illegally disposed of her newborn just over the Brooklyn border in Queens.  Mama Lama thoughtfully left her hours-old girl in a trash can at Elmhurst Hospital, sparing the blameless child the indignity of an eight-story nosedive down a filthy garbage shaft.  Unfortunately, the nameless baby died a few days later.  The heinous treatment of newborns in New York City, prima facie evidence of a disturbing breakdown in parental responsibility, seems to occur with greater frequency than one might expect from a pack of feral dogs.

Neither Lama nor Wright showed the slightest inclination toward acting like a responsible parent.  But these incidents, and the thousands like them that occur across the domestic market of McDonald’s everyday, do not qualify as “authoritative data”—let alone outright proof—to the self-righteous letter writers.  Let these medical meddlers continue waving their stethoscopes and prescription pads in their elitist revolt against McDonald’s, its asinine spokesclown, and its nonfood food.  If they truly wanted to save young lives, they would condemn the dumping of newborns in their next open letter addressed to every American, with the exception of Tisha Holmes, who has proved that she understands the price parents must pay when they abrogate their most important obligation.