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Happy Meal

Shahram Entekhabi

In a world of mounting tensions between the Middle East and the much of the West, Happy Meal, presents a collision of cultures with a sympathetic eye; as a young girl wearing a chador; a dark traditional garment worn by Muslim women unabashedly eating and enjoying a “Happy Meal” from McDonalds. There is no dialogue in the film, and the sole sound is the music track of children singing Islamic songs in praise of Allah.
In short, Entekhabi’s film makes one question the stereotypes of East and West. Initially, the juxtaposition of the two such opposing metonyms is disconcerting, and probably creates an equal amount of discomfort for both Western and Eastern audiences. Here, regardless of the mission of McDonald’s to create wealth, we see that the child is truly enjoying herself. In other words, for whatever it is that one might find objectionable about McDonald’s there are things about it that we like. It is easy to define a corporation as evil without somehow admitting our own complicity. Similarly, the child’s chador, in the context of a McDonald’s happy meal, challenges us to reach beyond a rigid conception of Islam—challenges us to think of human beings, not ideologies.