November 26, 2012

Prof "assaulted by employees of a McDonald’s in Paris who objected to his wearing a cyborg-style eyepiece while eating dinner with his family."

McDonald's claims its people were respectful but concerned that he was secretly filming customers and invading their privacy (under French law). So he shows up looking like this:



What do you think? Should the restaurant be required to leave him alone, though his looks upset the other customers? Should we get used to the future with its “computerized vision systems"? Or should we preserve our instincts about dangers?

This — from the man's blog — may seem irrelevant, but it affected me:
On the evening of 2012 July 1st, my wife and children and I went to McDonalds at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris, France, after a day of sightseeing (8 museums and other landmark sights, as part of a boat cruise package)....

We ordered two Ranch Wraps, one burger, and one mango McFlurry....
Is this the right way to be in Paris? Obviously not, but freedom matters, and I'd like the French to care about freedom.

59 comments:

Synova said...

What do they do about cell phones? They can all take pictures, too.

AllenS said...

Don't take any chances, kick his ass.

chickelit said...

The French are so passé--haven't they heard of IN-N-OUT, Five Guys, or Culver's?

Crunchy Frog said...

They can't assault him, but they are certainly within their rights to tell him to take his Geordi LaForge gear and GTFO.

McTriumph said...

Ugly American meets effete French? American academic meets effete French fry cook?

Ralph L said...

It's the latest in star-making machinery.

Palladian said...

Anyone who chooses to eat at a McDonald's over other options in Paris deserves to be assaulted.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ugly American meets effete French?"

Don't blame America. He's Canadian.

Badger PUndit said...

I had the same exact thought -- poster child for the "Ugly American" meme.

Palladian said...

Was he shirtless at the McDonald's? Because that's far more frightening than the stupid eyepiece.

mccullough said...

A ranch wrap and mango McFlurry? In Paris? He deserved an ass whipping on principle.

Palladian said...

Obviously not, but freedom matters, and I'd like the French to care about freedom.

What about the freedom of French businesses to not have weirdo Canadians frightening their other customers?

Chip S. said...

les français monstreux

Maguro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

This dude does seem like kind of an attention whore. It's an interesting piece of technology, but is it really necessary to walk around all day looking like one of those Japanese robots that shoots laser beams out its eye sockets?

Amartel said...

I don't mind the eyewear, provocative and attention-seeking as it is, but I do think a little tooth-brushing action would go a long way, diplomatically speaking.

8 museums in a day is a lot! Especially with kids. Capping that off with a full-tilt Froggy supper might be a bit much. I do not object to McDonalds in these circumstances. Plus, not all the food in Paris is great. Some places are pretty mediocre and worse than McDonalds. At least McDonalds is reliably McDonalds.

Chip S. said...

Should the restaurant be required to leave him alone, though his looks upset the other customers?

Nice job of baiting your commentariat.

By the guy's account, an employee asked him about the eyepiece while he was in line, and he produced a document explaining what it was. The restaurant was satisfied, and he got his order filled w/o incident. Then some douchebags decided to assault him.

And it's his fault? WTF??

ricpic said...

Canadian nerd customer: Avez vous le Grey Poupon?

Subhuman Frog McD worker drone: Vous etes a McDonalds, monsieur, vous prendrez le Guldens et l'aimez!

Chip S. said...

Does this part matter to anyone?

The eyeglass is permanently attached and does not come off my skull without special tools.

Badger PUndit said...

If you look further at the blog, it seems this cyborg -- er, professor -- has coined a new term:

McVEILLANCE: "The installation or using of surveillance cameras while simultaneously prohibiting people from having or using their own cameras, hand-held magnifiers, smartphones, or the like."

http://eyetap.blogspot.com/2012/10/mcveillance-mcdonaldized-surveillance.html

edutcher said...

223 years on and the Frawgs still enjoy the odd frisson of mob rule.

Ann Althouse said...

Ugly American meets effete French?

Don't blame America. He's Canadian.


Worse, like being a Mexican in Madrid.

jimbino said...

I once had folks complain to me about using a binoculars to view other visitors at the nudist beach of Tambaba, in Brazil.

I still can't understand their complaint: nudists are less likely to be trying to hide something are than the clothed, whom anyone has the right to view with binoculars in public.

That raises the question of whether paparazzi are less welcome on a nudist beach than a clothed one and, also, what is the rationale behind "peeping tom" rules anyway?

If they're about privacy, clothed folks have as much expectation of privacy as do nudists on a nudist beach.

kcom said...

"This — from the man's blog — may seem irrelevant, but it affected me:

On the evening of 2012 July 1st, my wife and children and I went to McDonalds at 140, Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris, France, after a day of sightseeing..."


It "affected" you? So I guess we can assume he's got your vote then. Because that seemed to be your standard in judging the election. Yes, I fully admit it, I remain shocked and incredulous at some of the things you said during the campaign. The inanity of choosing a national leader based on stupid, minor things that "affected" you in the last two weeks before the election (as if the previous four years never happened) makes my brain hurt to this day. If what you implied is true, it's a scary thought that you might represent millions of educated people who somehow navigate through life that cluelessly. And when I say "people", I mean something more specific than that.

mojavehicular said...

Behold, a 21st-century dipshit.

AprilApple said...

I flew all the way to Paris to eat at McDonalds. No No No No No No NO.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

When in Paris, just eat food in the metro. It is so good and fast there is no need to go to McDs.

phx said...

Eight museums and other landmark sites...in one day??

It reminds me of the Woody Allen joke about speedreading War and Peace. "It was about Russia."

phx said...

I remain shocked and incredulous at some of the things you said during the campaign.

It's over. Can't we get over the faux outrage?

McTriumph said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Ugly American meets effete French?"

Don't blame America. He's Canadian.

Even though I'm ICWT,I'm going to play the La Raza race card, "Canada and Mexico is part of America, North America............................................"

Anglelyne said...

mccullough: A ranch wrap and mango McFlurry? In Paris? He deserved an ass whipping on principle.

He wanted his ass pre-whupped before he ever got to the McD's:

...after a day of sightseeing (8 museums and other landmark sights...

Wtf? If you wanted to see things in a blur you could just stay home and run in and out of all the public buildings in your home town.

Methadras said...

I know exactly what happened. He went into that McDonald's. Ordered a #1 and they gave it to him. He looked it at and complained. So they punched him in the face and threw him out. Why would they throw him out for complaining he got a #1 meal combo? Well, traditionally in the states, a #1 is a Big Mac, fries, and a drink. In France, it's a McEscargot, Frog Leg Fries, and a Turkish coffee for the drink.

Pogo said...

I saw his picture and wanted to punch him really really hard.

Is that wrong?

McTriumph said...

"Is that wrong?"

Yes, but who could blame you. Three strikes man, he's Canadian, an academic and a douche bag.

sydney said...

If I saw someone wearing glasses like that I would assume he had a severe sight problem that they were correcting. He doesn't say that's why he wears them, but his blog does indicate that his research involves aiding the blind. I had a patient who had a similar contraption as an experimental procedure.

Also, I don't believe those goons were McDonald's employees. They weren't wearing McDonald's uniforms. Are French McDonald's fronts for the mob?

Synova said...

"This dude does seem like kind of an attention whore. It's an interesting piece of technology, but is it really necessary to walk around all day looking like one of those Japanese robots that shoots laser beams out its eye sockets?"

My husband is into stuff like this and it really is all about walking around all day with it on. That's sort of the whole point of it.

The hobby is about integrating the technology with day to day activities, catching the wifi cloud and working on how that ought to work in practice.

For hobbyists telephones are sort of a bummer because they have the connectivity and computing power without the display head-wear and everything.

Which is why I mentioned telephones. As far as surveillance devices go, probably everyone in that McDonald's had one in their pocket.

Synova said...

"...but his blog does indicate that his research involves aiding the blind."

This makes sense. He'd be interested in how the technology works, or related technology works, while doing normal activities.

Really, though, I don't get the hostility, even if he's just your run of the mill tech geek.

McTriumph said...

Synova said...
"...but his blog does indicate that his research involves aiding the blind."

This makes sense. He'd be interested in how the technology works, or related technology works, while doing normal activities.

Really, though, I don't get the hostility, even if he's just your run of the mill tech geek.


It all makes sense now, the French are cowards, at home in Canada some drunk would kick his ass.

McTriumph said...

Are there anymore ethnic groups or countries I can offend? I'm trying to figure out how to tie the Scandis to this.

phx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
phx said...

I saw his picture and wanted to punch him really really hard.

Is that wrong?


Yes. You don't have a really really hard punch.

dcm said...

I recall this question was popular six months ago. And discussed too much. Glad to have it back.

I Callahan said...

There's a McDonald's on the Champs Elysee? There may be hope for France yet...

Chip Ahoy said...

Per chicklit I just now looked up in-and-out, five guys, and culver's images and died.

Then I came back to life to tell you do look at those, culver's is almost antiseptic ly bad and five guys will kill you, and in-and-out does what five guys does in multiples. Oh no. I just now died again talking about it.

Chip Ahoy said...

Should be bigger eyepiece. Needs black tubes going into his neck connecting to a device on his chest. And more tubing curving around his head. Both sides. An ear piece with wires glued directly onto his shaved head, his whole face and head powdered white. Look as much like a Borg drone as possible and carry a wire-legged yard flamingo and a baguette in its own baguette paper bag and voilà! *pop* he'd fit right in, mai oui?

David said...

Tell Steven Hawking to stay out of France.

Kirk Parker said...

"Don't blame America. He's Canadian."

Yeah, right.

Q: What the difference between Canadians and Americans?

A: Canadians think there's a difference, while Americans know there's not.

Freeman Hunt said...

Where's his shirt?

Michael McNeil said...

Slate: “How McDonald's Conquered France

New York Times: “France, Land of Epicures, Gets Taste for McDonald’s

NPR: “Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

Why We Love McDonalds in France

Number of McDonald's restaurants in France: 857

Freeman Hunt said...

They tore up his doctor's letter? That's awfully extreme.

Given his reasons for using it, I don't see why anyone would mind...

Well, that's what I was going to write until I realized that he must have gotten all of those pictures out of that thing. Of course people aren't going to like strangers recording them just by looking at them.

MayBee said...

I get annoyed by the idea there is a "right" way to travel somewhere.
There is only "the way I would do it" and "not the way I would do it". But life isn't a contest, and travel isn't one way to score points and win.

No, we don't go to McDonalds when we travel to new places. We don't go to 8000 museums in one day. But if that is what delights you, that's fine. Whatever you do, it is going to be different than the people who live there.

MayBee said...

The French have laws against recording people without their knowledge. There is a certain freedom in that.

One thing you have to know, wherever you travel, is that country has different laws than your home country. Your home country's laws don't travel along with you.

Aaron said...

I made a point of going to that McDonald's on the Champs Elysees for the following reasons:

1) French people had been telling me how McDo in America only hired poor black people. I found that in France they hire poor black and North African immigrants.

2) Its the ultimate American neo-colonial experience. The McDo was packed by the way with Frenchies.

EMD said...

The more disturbing question is why he isn't wearing a shirt.

Rusty said...

Palladian wins the thread.


Chip Ahoy
In and Out burger is numba one. Best FF burger ever. Portillos is number two-a toss up really.

Tank said...

Saw that McD when I was in Paris. My actual thought at that time was the kind that gets people arrested. And on that famous street too ! Yi, a crime against everything that is good and decent.

Same for anyone who would eat there while being touring. For God's sake, go out on the street and buy a delicious French waffle from a friggin vendor.

Idiots.

On topic: Beats me, the guy does look like he wants to be punched. The word that comes to mind is creepy.

Strelnikov said...

Nut.

Strelnikov said...

Besides, resistance is futile.

Bryan C said...

"The French are so passé--haven't they heard of IN-N-OUT, Five Guys, or Culver's?"

I picked up a baseball cap at a thrift store embroidered with "Culvers Frozen Custard Butterburgers". I felt terribly betrayed when I learned that these magnificent things called Butterburgers are not actually topped with frozen custard. :(

kcom said...

"It's over. Can't we get over the faux outrage?"

Nothing faux about it. And it's not outrage, it's incredulousness. There's a difference. And it's something I'm still contemplating because obviously it's impact goes well beyond this one election. How does a man's experience at a McDonald's in Paris deserve the same treatment as choosing a president of the United States? How is that good for our country and our future? Will we be forever beholden to the moron vote?