Picture of a ‘civilized man’ on the path of destroying nature

If you asked me what came to mind when I hear the word “empire” a year ago, the first thought that would’ve popped up in my head would be the famous Roman Empire. When I asked my roommates what they thought, they answered similarly. It seems like everyone has a vague idea of what an empire is, but in my opinion, an empire is an entity, group, or organization that works towards an ideal goal. Of course, this definition of mine leaves much to be desired, but many will agree that terms such as ambition, power, and glory are typically associated with the word “empire”. In comparison, the term “ruins” is self-explanatory. In following the context of what an empire is, ruins are what’s left over after the empire falls or what is devastated by an empire.

Political cartoon of McDonald’s and businesses that profit from the restaurant by political artist Daryl Cagle

Now, there are many examples of what is an empire all around us in our daily lives. A popular example would be an influential country like the United States or a famous fast food restaurant chain like McDonald’s. Fast food restaurant chains like McDonald’s can be considered an empire due to their vast influence on the country’s food culture and their availability in multiple countries. Its overwhelming popularity is an aspect an empire works towards and maintains.  In fact, an aspect of an empire that is increasingly outstanding is its desire to expand. Many examples of expansion range from territorial expansion to cultural expansion. In this case, McDonald’s is an industry that facilitates the expansion of its empire’s influence and fast food culture. Meanwhile, a possible example of “ruins” for this particular empire would be the health of the consumers. After all, its primary sales are from fast food, a questionable variable in our modern era in which obesity is increasingly alarming. Thus, as Mc Donald’s industry becomes more widespread, the number of people that ignorantly ruin themselves with fast food increases. Culturally, McDonald’s presence in other countries will also lead to acknowledgment of America as a competitor in the food industry. An example of this is the vastly different content on the menus of McDonald’s in other countries. In order to accept this new foreign entity into their country and culture, the food should suit the palates of the people.


Teaching the food pyramid to preschoolers


A recurring element of the empire is, of course, the fact that everything comes to an end and hence the ruins. An empire like McDonald’s has risen and flourished, but it has also, in the course of its existence, caused the “ruin” of many. Since it has changed the definition of eating in “moderation” and eating “naturally” produced food, there should be some public outrage in response to this subtle motion towards unhealthy lifestyles. The presence of such a popular fast food restaurant in almost every neighborhood and the rise in weight gain has prompted social movements that call for healthy foods, exercise, and raise of awareness about the effects of fast food on health. For example, at school, kids are shown Super Size Me, a documentation of an experiment that showed the effects of eating McDonald’s for two weeks, in their physical education class and are taught about the food pyramid to instill the concept of eating in moderation. Of course, after the creation of Super Size Me, McDonald’s adjusted their menu to accommodate healthier varieties such as the wrap, salads, and the Filet-O-Fish with the addition of nutrition facts labels, but the fact remains that McDonald’s business was still threatened by the rise of social movements. In this sense, McDonald’s can be “ruined” by social movements due to the public’s attempt to address weight gain and health issues, but it can also be ruined by the appearance of a new fast food restaurant food chain. In the case of an empire like the United States, however, what factors can cause it to become a “ruin”? Would becoming a “ruin” consist of physical change as in becoming a third world country, or does it mean changing the current regime?  Finally, how do the ruins of previous epochs affect the United States as an empire?


Works Cited

Pray For Calamity. “What If This Is a War?” Deep Green Resistance News Service, Accessed 9 October 2017.

Tab. McDonald’s turns fifty. 2005. Cagle Cartoons, image.asp?ID={7DC97D50-AA0D-4004-85AE-692FC0B5EA58}. Accessed 9 October 2017















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