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THE BEST...THE BEAUTIFUL...AND THE BIZARRE | WINGED
VICTORY | SO SOCAL

MAO, Meet KFC

July 26, 1998|Ed Leibowitz

On Western Avenue, amid a jumble of triangles and parallelograms devoid of any corrupting influence of Greco-Roman, Georgian or Rococo architecture, Col. Harland Sanders' head rears up as colossal and triumphant as Chairman Mao Tse-tung's on any Cultural Revolution display. Upon closer inspection, there are other odd similarities between the two global personalities: Like Chairman Mao, Col. Sanders would award himself that quasi-military title that confers power. While Mao would don the drab people's tunic, eternally buttoned to the chin, Sanders, too, forsook all other garb for a white double-breasted suit with the ambiguous black necktie that was half-bow, half-string. In heroic propaganda portraits, both men's lips are pursed in a smile so slight that it could never induce doubt about the seriousness of their respective missions. And, of course, there were the lucid ideological underpinnings of their rise to absolute authority--the Little Red Book of "Quotations from Chairman Mao," Col. Sanders' original "Finger Lickin' Good" recipe.

No great surprise, then, to recently learn that the Tiananmen Square Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet--advantageously located just across from Mao's Hall--endures as one of the most popular eating establishments anywhere in the chairman's communist capital, or, for that matter, in the colonel's worldwide fast-food domain.

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