2014's fast food atrocities
Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.
You don’t have to be a fan of graphic novels to fall under the spell of “A.D.,” Josh Neufeld’s haunting chronicle of Hurricane Katrina. The book, which first appeared in SMITH (where readers can find a bounty of additional audio and video extras on the making of the story), tells the tale of seven New Orleans residents who lived through one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, following them from the eerie anticipation before the storm through the desperate, terrifying days after the levees broke and on to the heartbreaking diaspora and rebuilding efforts. Even knowing how badly it all turned out for the city doesn’t make the suspense any less excruciating, nor does it diminish the outrage at how government indifference and mismanagement exacerbated the catastrophe. Instead, by presenting an unfathomable nightmare through the eyes of these very real and disparate individuals, Neufeld makes the loss tangible.
Neufeld, who has drawn for Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor,” is blessed with an artist’s eye and a storyteller’s ear. He introduces us to Leo, a comic book collector whose home, along with his entire trove of comics – with the exception of a single, framed edition of “Transmetropolitan” – is wiped out. There’s Denise, who sweats it out with her family at the Superdome while gun-toting gang members prove unlikely heroes. He takes us up on the roof to wait with Abbas and Darnell as the waters rise and Darnell’s asthma worsens. And in the end, we understand how one person could insist “I don’t want to return” while another could declare, “For better or worse, I’m married to this place.” Call it an art book, call it a novel, call it nonfiction, “A.D.” is, simply, an American tragedy.
Check out recent Critics’ Picks:
Akira Kurosawa’s “Kagemusha” on DVD by Andrew O’Hehir
Modest Mouse’s “ No One’s First and You’re Next ” by Heather Havrilesky
“It Might Get Loud ” by Stephanie Zacharek
Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.
KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.
Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.
Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.
Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.