LJWorld.com weblogs Notes from John

McDonald's, Paraguay and Kansas


Have you seen that annoying McDonald’s commercial with the two young women in an upscale coffee house? If you haven’t, you should be rewarded for not watching television. One of the women reveals that McDonald’s now has upscale coffee like cappuccino, latte’s and such. They get all giddy over the prospect of swapping their air of pretension for their neighborhood McDonald’s presumably dressed in jeans and flip-flops.There are many people in Kansas who find this particularly annoying. Why? Well, as the two women ramble on one says: “And I don’t know where Paraguay is.” The other looks puzzled and replies: “Paraguay?” At least I think these are the quotes. Hundreds of Kansans are a bit offended that this interchange is dropped in this commercial with no apparent connection to anything. Have you ever been in a group and someone insults a friend of yours? You probably feel a little offended. You may even speak up for your friend. Is the intent to be funny? Insulting?Hundreds of Kansans have the same reaction to the McDonald’s commercial because Paraguay and Kansas have been friends for over 40 years through Kansas-Paraguay Partners that is part of the Partners of the Americas program. Over the years Kansans have been hosted by the warm Paraguayan people.Kansans have shared their expertise with Paraguayans including helping upgrade the zoo in the capital city, starting a school for children with disabilities and sharing agricultural practices.Kansans have donated emergency medical equipment to help volunteer Paraguayan firefighters.Kansans have worked to promote democracy in a country that had the misfortune to be dominated by dictatorships for far too many years.Space does not allow listing all of the work that Kansans have accomplished in Paraguay or visa-versa.The friendship between Paraguay and Kansas has not been one-sided.Paraguayans have visited firefighters, cattle producers, small business development centers in Kansas.Paraguayans have taught in Kansas including Spanish and Guarini, the two official languages of the country. Many Paraguayans attend and have graduated from Kansas universities and colleges. One estimate is that 700 Paraguayans have studied in Kansas. Some Paraguayan students have expressed surprise at the McDonald’s commercials. What do they mean? Is my country the butt of a joke?The 40+ year friendship between Kansas and Paraguay is no joke and is one way to reduce foreign policy to people and families. It is a rare opportunity to get personally involved in our countries foreign policy. Maybe the commercial uses Paraguay because it is one country where there is no McDonald’s. If you want to get a glimpse of a pre McDonald’s world, visit Paraguay.


tonyswimmingpool 9 years, 4 months ago

Way to practice what you preach in terms of urging people not making silly generalizations about a place/culture w/o having any idea of what they are talking about, John. The suspicions that began to course through my synapses as I muddled through whatever it is you were trying to say about how to "reduce foreign policy" were confirmed by that priceless bit about Paraguay being McDonald's-free.

Jim Phillips 9 years, 4 months ago

John,Don't get too shook up over those two airheads. They think the Mickey D's coffees are good. Just goes to show ya...

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 4 months ago

Multidisciplinary , You are in top form! Totally loved it! My daughter and I love the commercial and we get a good laugh about it. Now I don't have to listen to jazz all day, says one, and the other is going to put on high heels and show off her knees. Which, I guess you can't do in a coffee shop, never having been in one. Actually one women says, I don't speak French, and the other replies, and I don't know where Paraguay is. It is funny because nothing in the commercial makes sense and it doesn't have to. I am going to try to get the Journal World to walk around downtown and see how many people can find Paraguay on an unmarked map.Any bets on how many?Can you? (Not you Multi, the other yo yo's out there,), No I don't mean- oh forget it!

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 4 months ago

Correction to the above:daughter came to visit, read the blog and said, Mom, I don't give a damn.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 4 months ago

oh, chill out john! besides, I think the "paraguay" ref has to do with a brand of womens' shoes...maybe the name of the brand. also, this was part of a series, when it first came out, they had a group of white guys in one, and a group of black guys in another...and vaguely I think a group of black women in one more. they've continued to punch the meter on the ad you ref, probably because they think it targets a particular demographic. the other ads were funny too and the one with the white guys had "I like sitting and watching football" ..."these are real, I need these glasses!" in it.

classclown 9 years, 4 months ago

Sad world we live in where there is always somebody out there to be offended by absolutely anything.And in reading some of these comments, well, let's just say that some of you are exactly what the commercial is making fun of. Not the Paraguayans. Live on in your pretentious world folks. The world is laughing at you.

jtedvoigt 9 years, 4 months ago

As a one-time Kansan who is currently in Paraguay, I was a little annoyed by this commecial... But not nearly as much as I am amused by the fact that McDonalds is actually quite popular IN Paraguay. By the way, San Lorenzo is a great little town, it would make a fine sister city...

Sigmund 9 years, 4 months ago

Way too much time on your hands John. Have you considered a part time job that doesn't impact your retirement or volunteering and sharing some of that life time of expertise with a not for profit?

hail2oldku 9 years, 4 months ago

Steve Nilhas knows where Paraguay is.............

beawolf 9 years, 4 months ago

"Blogs are the biggest waste of bandwidth ever invented ant this is probably the stupidest blog I've ever wasted my time to read."Stupid is as stupid does. I can't believe how many people will read an entire article and then regurgitate an angry response on the stupidity of reading that article.

Sigmund 9 years, 4 months ago

beawolf (Anonymous) says… "Stupid is as stupid does. I can't believe how many people will read an entire article and then regurgitate an angry response on the stupidity of reading that article."Right back at you.

jaywalker 9 years, 4 months ago

There's that trite 'offend' again. I think it would be better to just think of those two girls as morons for not knowing where or what Paraguay is than to go off on such a tangent.

CanAnyonePlay 9 years, 4 months ago

Take a letter Maria - how appropriate a user name is that hail? Too funny.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 4 months ago

"I don't know where Paraguay is!" "I enjoy sitting and watching football."

Good_boy 9 years, 3 months ago

My name's Luis and I'm a Paraguayan student. I was benefited from one program and I visited Kansas with nine more "Youth Ambassadors" in 2008... Actually, we realized that most of the students we shared with, didn't know where Paraguay was... Is it in Africa? they often said. We had to show them a small purple spot on a map and say: "This is Paraguay". Americans are maybe more worried about their own geography, that they don't probably know where some countries are... I think that's not their fault... That's not even something really 'bad'... Because everything's gonna be Ok if they are born and live their whole life in the United States... (why would they need to know about 'Paraguay'?) But personally, from my point of view, it's important for them to know a little bit more about the world's geography... I have to confess that I will maybe know where all the countries are, instead of knowing where the cities in my own country are located... :-) and We do have McDonald's here... BTW... Paraguay is located in South America. Its neighboring countries are Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia...

Note: I miss Kansas!!!

raiblack 9 years, 3 months ago

It's sad for me to admit that it's not the first time (and I guess it won't be the last time) that someone has no idea of where Paraguay is... And, just for the record, Mc Donald's has been in Paraguay for over 12 years now... And many people agree, so do I, that our restaurants are better than yours (Mc Donald's, I mean...) That's what they say .. I've had the opportunity to be in the US as well, and, from my point of view, it's true ... ;) but, hey ,that's my opinion.. I hope someday you guys will have the chance to come here and to confirm that rumor by yourselves... :)

readit 9 years, 3 months ago

The Paraguay comment is actually sad commentary on American's lack of world/geographical knowledge. So don't worry, our friends from Paraguay: it's us, not you.

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