Cultural Studies
94

A Conspiracy of Hogs: The McRib as Arbitrage

One of McDonald’s most divisive products, the McRib, made its return last week. For three decades, the sandwich has come in and out of existence, popping up in certain regional markets for short promotions, then retreating underground to its porky lair—only to be revived once again for reasons never made entirely clear. Each time it rolls out nationwide, people must again consider this strange and elusive product, whose unique form sets it deep in the Uncanny Valley—and exactly why its existence is so fleeting.

The McRib was introduced in 1982—1981 according to some sources—and was created by McDonald’s former executive chef Rene Arend, the same man who invented the Chicken [...]