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By Aiden Miller

Those beautiful buns and saucy ribs.  Oh, how I would love to devour that delectable meal. If you’re a pervert, you probably thought I was talking about your wife, but I’m actually referencing McDonald’s infamous McRib Sandwich. 

For the innumerable McDonald’s historians and certified fatties, this article is not for you. I’m solely here to educate the general public about the McRib, its history, and how the sandwich indirectly led to the decline of the West. 

To dish out some history, the origins of the McRib stem all the way back to the Cold War. In the late 1960s, U.S. Army scientists created the first types of reconstructed meat. Reconstructed meat is essentially various cuts of meat being packed together to form some sort of shape. (The best example that everyone knows is the nugget.) Reconstructed meat was supposed to be a low-cost solution to feeding U.S. military troops on the battlefield. By the 1970s, Dr. Roger Mandigo had refined the process, now using pork, to create a rib-shaped patty. By the 1980s, McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc was dabbling with reconstructed meat for his restaurants. Soon, the chicken nugget was introduced to the menu. The nugget was their first item made from reconstructed meat. The chicken nugget was such a huge success, leading to the introduction of the McRib to the McDonald’s menu in 1981. 

Sadly, nobody liked it too much. Many executives within the company believed that Americans did not consume enough to keep the item on the menu. Dubbed the “McFlop,” the McRib was removed from the menu only a few years later in 1985

Then, to the shock of everyone, the Flintstones movie was released in 1994. Nobody asked for this steaming pile of horseshit. Calling the movie utterly atrocious would be an understatement. Any movie that has Rosie O’Donnell in a lead supporting role deserves all the criticism it gets. As President Donald Trump once said in a TV interview, “I would look her in that fat ugly face of hers and say, [gesturing at the camera]‘Rosie, you’re fired.’” Anyway, you’re probably wondering why I mentioned this monstrosity of a movie. Well, the McRib was reintroduced to the McDonald’s menu and used to promote the “movie” (if that’s what we’re calling it).  Some would argue that the sole reason the movie was a theatrical success was because of the hype surrounding the McRib. 

Between 1994 and 2005 the McRib sporadically popped up on McDonald’s menus. On November 1st, 2005 McDonald’s announced that the McRib was being retired permanently and would be going on a “McRib Farewell Tour.” Just like the band Kiss, this wouldn’t be the Sandwich’s last farewell tour. Like clockwork, the McRib has gone on Farewell Tour after Farewell Tour. I’m convinced that it will be until the day I die.

This all raises the question, “Was it all worth it?” For McDonald’s, yeah it was worth it. With every passing year, the McRib garners more and more media attention when it returns to the menu. All this hype and excitement rakes in the big bucks for McDonald’s and its executives. The McRib alone has funded tens of hundreds of McMansions owned by company executives. And I get it, why stop when gullible people like me keep coming back to eat that sad glob of meat and bread?

Now time to get to the heart of this discussion. Many historians wonder what has led to the decline of the West, specifically the United States. If you were to ask me, the McRib did the fair share of the damage. 

During Reagan’s presidency, the fast-food industry, especially McDonald’s, experienced significant economic growth as a result of the McRib. This growth marked a shift toward a more conservative economic strategy by the Reagan administration, emphasizing typical conservative things like deregulation, free-market capitalism, and Reaganomics. (oh boy, I sure hope all that money trickled down!) One can argue that these economic policies led to Reagan and his administration being directly involved in the affairs of countries throughout the Middle East, essentially waging a Second Cold War in the region to combat communist influence. These actions by the Reagan administration led to lots of resentment amongst the people of the Middle East. Many had lost their relatives as a result of American actions in the region. This widespread resentment led to many prominent terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIS growing in size after Reagan’s presidency. Eventually, these terror organizations would attack the United States and lead to many of the endless wars the United States is still fighting in the region to this day.

Most people would agree that these wars put the United States in a steep state of decline. Furthermore, the McRib accelerated the decline of the West in different aspects as well. The rise of the McRib and the fast-food industry directly led to the obesity crisis we are seeing in the West today. America is ranked as one of the most obese countries in the world, with heart disease as the number one killer of Americans. 

Is it a shaky statement to say that the creation of the McRib led to the United States getting involved in the Middle East and the forever wars? Kind of. Is it fair to say that the McRib led to the obesity crisis plaguing the country? Sure. But it is clear as day that the McRib has played an important role in the overall picture when discussing the decline of the West.

To wrap this puppy up, I leave you the reader with this to ponder: Do you think it’s a coincidence that the McRib was taken off the McDonald’s menu during the Reagan administration and then brought back as a seasonal menu item ONLY A YEAR after Reagan died? 

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