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These days, the “antiglobalization movement” — a misnomer, but whatever — is renowned for attacking major brands: Smashing Gap stores, trashing Starbucks, cutting loose at Disney icons. Even so, one company has been hammered particularly hard lately: McDonald’s.

The writer Rob Walker got interested in this, and compiled this collection of links to Associated Press photos of recent McDonald’s vandalism (one of the pix is above). As he notes:

To me it’s kind of an astonishing series — Ronald McDonald burned and held at gunpoint, windows smashed, soldiers with machine guns all over the planet protecting the Golden Arches.

One hundred years from now, I predict the whole issue of “brands” is going to be recognized as one of the most fascinating and queasy topics of the early 21st century. There’s something brutally potent about brands, and how they signify the relationship between our sense of self and the commercial world that defines so much of our lives. I mean, does anyone have a neutral view of brands? We usually respond with love or disdain, but nothing in the middle. I am weirdly emotionally attached to a few brands (Radio Shack, Atari, Hugo Boss), and find other ones positively nauseating (J. Crew, Abercrombie and Fitch). But I rarely just shrug my shoulders.

(My attachment to Hugo Boss is probably all the more ridiculous when you consider the designer originally cut his teeth creating uniforms for the Third Reich. But god in heaven does the company make killer ties!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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