McMillions

Highly recommend this miniseries, which is about the McDonalds Monopoly Fraud. Some takways[spoiler alert]:

  1. On most movies and TV shows there will be one, maybe two, fat characters, even if the portrayal is of “ordinary” life. Even if it’s a reality TV show, they have the discretion to point their cameras at those realities they consider most aesthetically pleasing. But because McMillions is mostly made up of interviews with actual participants, there’s no way to do that: many are fat, and not slightly fat but very fat. Every location and time has its costume; which people in that era see as normal, ordinary, not a “costume” at all. Our era will be marked by fatness. In the far future when films are portraying our era, if they want to be realistic they’ll go out of their way to find appropriately-sized actors. Alternatively, CGI might be good enough to modify thin actors to look fat.
  2. Most of the people being interviewed don’t show any remorse. Granted, this may be a result of producers excluding parts of the interviews where the subjects did show remorse. Particularly striking is the portrayal of Frank Columbo, a member of the Columbo crime family. He didn’t participate directly in his brother’s fraud, but he did know it was going on, didn’t say anything,* and didn’t try to talk him out of doing it. In the interviews, he shows no particular concern for any of the fraud’s victims. While there are bad apples in every culture, the phenomenon of the crime family is not seen in every culture. It seems to require a critical mass of people who are willing to not say “this behavior is unacceptable,” even if they have no inclination to do it themselves.
  3. You can understand why the participants did what they did. The harshest sentence clocked in at 37 months for the ringleader. Nobody else got more than a year and a day. There are many Americans who would be eager to go for the 200,000$, 500,000$, etc., that the participants apart from the ringleader were getting if all they were risking was a single year in prison.

*Somebody did alert the FBI and he is one possible suspect, even if this is true, it would have been after years of saying nothing.

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