The Movies and Turkish Delight

Just saw The Founder yesterday, which told the origin story of McDonalds--a story that involved, surprise surprise, some sleazy business deals.  Was especially struck by one scene in which Ray Kroc, the ambitious sleazy business man who was responsible for McDonald's expansion, offers to buy McDonalds from its creators, Mac and Dick McDonald.

The scene takes place in a Catholic hospital, where Mac is recuperating from a diabetic collapse brought on by stress from Kroc and his deceitful behavior towards the two brothers.

In the scene, while requesting purchase the business from the brothers, Kroc stands against a wall with a crucifix directly to the left of him.  It's certainly a deliberate juxtaposition.

No where else in the movie do we see a crucifix.  (The two brothers, we perhaps are supposed to presume, given their name, are Irish Catholic, and though it's never stated in the movie, they are sons of Irish immigrants).

To see the crucifix displayed in the same scene as the sleazy business man, during the same moment in which he's attempting to buy the business from the brother's who he's already been swindling--and one of whom is near death due to stress caused by the swindling--well it makes the crucifix appear as though it's party to the Kroc.  He and the cruficix are one and the same.  

Although it's possible that the reverse is true--that it is supposed to stand in sharp juxtaposition to him, as though to say: look at what this sleazy man has come to do in whis wholesome Christian hospital, it doesn't seem likely since as I mentioned earlir, the movie never mentions Catholicsm before in the movie, and so rhe director hasn't taken a stance, so to say, on The Church (positive or negative).

I'm inclined to think then it's intended as a subliminal association of images; that when you see sleazy Kroc you also see the crucifix.  Additionally, recalling that Keaton's most recent last movie Spotlight, this juxtaposition becomes particularly powerful.  The starkness of the hospital is reminiscent of the bare-bones, boring and dry scenes in the journalism room in Spotlight, the movie in which Keaton assists with The Boston Globe expose of The Church's enormous pedophile cover-up.

Spotlight is still fresh in our minds.  It's the most recent time that we've seen Keaton.  Undoubtedly, then, this scene is intended to further denigrate Catholicism.

Who is responsible for this decision?  Well the director, no doubt.  However, it feels like there's perhaps more of an undercurrent in Hollywood, a subliminal; "you must be sending anti-Christian and pro-Jewish messages in you movies," regardless of the director.

The Founder also has another scene in which a Jew is selling Catholic Bibles.  And Kroc convinces him to quit that job and come to McDonald's to work as a manager.   --The Jewish salesman message is something like "how low can you go?  selling Catholic bibles?  Come, improve your life, and work for me!"  (Also another scene where Kroc is 'preaching' at a synagogue, convincing men to come work for McDonalds--yeah, right, that actually took place.  yeah right.) 

Movies feel a little like Turkish Delight to me, in this respect.  They are so engrossing and fun to watch.  They are irresistible.  Yet in the process of watching them we're fed messages (the more subliminal the more powerful they are) that tell us how to think about the world.  ~A complicit form of brainwashing they are.

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