What the Super Bowl "God Made a Farmer Ad" Reveals About U.S. Farm Policy

The contradictions of U.S. farm policy are well represented in the hit Super Bowl commercial.

Imagine if you will a surprising biopic of a religious figure that becomes one of the most widely seen, divisive, and talked about movies of the year.

Polls show many people who saw the film—including many pundits—found it to be the best that year.

Critics of the film mostly occupied one of three silos. One group complained that it showed their divine figure crafting too few miracles. A second scoffed at the notion the ad showed the figure shaping any miracles at all. And a third group acknowledged some divine figure performed various miracles—but that an entirely different deity than the one depicted in the film was responsible.

Welcome, in a nutshell, to the debate over Dodge's God Made a Farmer Super Bowl commercial.

In case you missed it, the commercial, which runs two minutes, features a series of pastoral farm stills—farmhouses and barns, dirt-crusted farmers kneeling in church or selling their strawberries at the market, and tractors in fields of wheat—overlaid with a now-famous speech delivered by the late commentator and columnist Paul Harvey at a 1978 Future Farmers of America gathering.

I suspect that one day someone will write a term paper—perhaps even a Ph.D. dissertation—on the implications of and reactions to the commercial. For the ad, like its narrator, Harvey, lays bare all the bounty and incongruities of American farming and farm policy.

Lorraine Lewandrowski, a dairy farmer and agricultural attorney in New York, tweeted to me from her @NYFarmer account yesterday that the ad “gave the dairy farmers...a joyful lift to be acknowledged…. Some of the farmers here choked up [at] images [that] evoked how we and neighbors spent our lives.” Lewandrowski called the ad a welcome break from “all the urban food movement sneering” she sees.

Lewandrowski’s words echoed those of a commenter at Keep Food Legal’s Facebook page—like us!—who noted the ad resonated with her and many of her rural friends and relatives.

“I grew up in rural Illinois and was raised on a farm, as most of my cousins and a lot of my classmates were, and the response from my community was overwhelmingly positive to the original ad,” she wrote, “It really hit something.”

And, in a press release emailed to subscribers, the Animal Agriculture Alliance noted it was one of "nearly 250 regional, state and national farm, ranch and agribusiness organizations [that] sent a heartfelt 'thank you' letter to Chrysler—maker of Dodge—in response to the ad.

Summing up the opinion of many who saw the ad, Animal Agriculture Alliance president Kay Johnson Smith said the commercial "really showcased a piece of Americana.”

But to its detractors, the ad does nothing of the sort.

University of Texas historian Rachel Laudan, who grew up on a farm and finds the ad galling, writes that “if we continue to accept the kind of images promoted by this ad, images of the farmer as a good hearted chap, working with the technology of the late 1930s, and thus not frightfully smart, how are we ever going to get a sensible grip on agriculture?”

This agrarianism, argues Laudan, is built on a mistaken belief in “the simpler yet superior moral values of the rural life.”

A withering Funny or Die parody of the Dodge ad, God Made a Factory Farmer, blasts the ad for ignoring the large, subsidized corporate farms of today.

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  • VG Zaytsev||

  • From the Tundra||

    Whoa, Mencken wrote that in 1914! No wonder we can't get rid of the USDA and their lunacy. I buy directly from two small farms (eggs, meat, vegetables). They stay far, far away from any government "help" and actually kind of look like those imaginary farmers from the ad.

  • Sandra M. Jones||

    my friend's mother makes $83/hour on the laptop. She has been out of work for 9 months but last month her income was $17862 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Here's the site to read more... http://www.ace60.com

  • Agammamon||

    Damnit spambot! Does she work on a farm - stay on topic here.

  • Xenocles||

    Some of that is spot on, but some of it is surprisingly stupid. Like this:

    If wheat went to $10 a bushel tomorrow, and all the workmen of the cities became slaves in name as well as in fact, no farmer in this grand land of freedom would consent voluntarily to a reduction of as much as 1/8 of a cent a bushel.


    City folk couldn't survive without farms, even though half of them seem to think supermarkets produce food as well as selling it. In a free market farmers deserve every dime they can shake their customers down for - the premium is for the vital nature of the product. That's not wolfish, that's how markets work.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yeah, I agree, there's a weird anti-profit or anti - self interest vibe in a lot of Mencken's writings.

    But he's spot on about farmer's self pitying and whining for socializing their costs and losses.

  • ||

    What are you, some kind of cosmo?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    An osmo, maybe.

  • ||

    $8.85 as of yesterday. Thanks to ethanol. I think we can hold off on that Farm Bill. One subsidy is enough.

    I have the utmost respect for farmers. I have little respect for the politicians that kowtow to them.

  • Etheric||

    Good job taking that out of context. Read the ENTIRE paragraph next time. Maybe even the entire article. He isn't saying profit or self interest is bad. He's saying that politicians sometimes think farmers act out of altruism, and they don't, they are just as self-interested as everyone else.

    In fact, in the same paragraph, he says that if it was run like a real business "...organized as the production of iron or cement is organized..." we'd be better off, "...and still leave a large profit for entrepreneurs."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...blasts the ad for ignoring the large, subsidized corporate farms of today.

    That's like complaining that, because of Susan Smith, we shouldn't celebrate Mother's Day.

  • SIV||

    "Andrea Yates Day"

  • Ted S.||

    "As efficient small farms evolved into efficient big ones," Harvey wrote in a 1974 column, "they become irresistible targets for the centralized mass media which is by instinct suspicious of any bigness other than its own."

    ^^

    This, this, this, so much this.

  • ||

    Yes, exactly.

  • Bam!||

    Mass media doesn't seem suspicious of big government.

  • wareagle||

    of course, not. Most mass media favors big govt. Hard to be suspicious of something you believe in.

  • ||

    Without big government, what do you think would happen to the media's current power to control the nation?

  • Jerryskids||

    I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw that ad. Farming is as near Soviet-style planning as anything we have in this country and all the proof you need that it doessn't work is in the fact that the total amount of subsidies over the last 40 years or so is larger than the total amount of farm income from commodity farming. If farming were a single corporation, it would be Amtrak.

  • Bam!||

    Farming is as near Soviet-style planning as anything we have in this country

    You're thinking of the military. And health care. And the financial system. And...

    Fuck, we're screwed.

  • box_man||

    total amount of subsidies over the last 40 years or so is larger than the total amount of farm income from commodity farming.

    If I go to the USDA website and pull the table for net cash income and net cash payments by government USDA ERS there is no data to support your claim. Subsidies run around 10-20% of income not 110%. I get that farming shouldn't be subsidized but making up facts to support that argument is not useful for advancing an otherwise reasonable idea.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Does the figures that you cite include things like increased prices resulting from tariffs, SNAP, 'free' school lunches (and breakfast and dinner now too) and the ethanol mandate?

  • SIV||

    I'm old enough to remember what Earl Butz was REALLY famous for. The unfunny joke that got him fired:

    Butz said: "I'll tell you what the coloreds want. It's three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit."

  • SlowburnAZ||

    Hmm... I must be a "colored." What a revelation!

  • Sevo||

    That's tap-dancing "community", dammit!

  • ||

    Great song too

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sn-A7D76o

    How funny is it that it's over 30 years old and opens with a line about returning the Nobel Peace Prize?

  • ||

    Great song too

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5Sn-A7D76o

    How funny is it that it's over 30 years old and opens with a line about returning the Nobel Peace Prize? Hahaha

  • ||

    We only get our food from a little farm 30 miles south of here. Aliki's.

  • hotsy totsy||

    So you never have bananas or pineapple or kiwis or champagne?

  • Lyle||

    You suffering from scurvy yet?

  • BakedPenguin||

    Is your chicken free-range?

  • Ken Shultz||

    They were just tryin' to sell cars.

    They were glamorizing farmers the way Bruce Springsteen used to glamorize union workers.

    The ad was a calculated reciprocal of the immensely successful Superbowl ad Chrysler put out a couple of years ago extolling the virtues of being made in the hard, cold city of Detroit.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKL254Y_jtc

    If you want to connect with people, one good way is to pull at their heartstrings. They just used an image of "the farmer" to sell cars--the implications of farm policy were beside the point to 99% of the people out there. If it helped them sell cars, then it was a successful ad.

    We libertarians should be so adept at selling our ideas. It's something to keep in mind when we talk to friends, coworkers and family. Facts are facts and persuasive to a lot of people who are already libertarians, but when professionals want to market something, it isn't facts and logic they turn to. There's something there for us to learn from that.

  • wareagle||

    I think what bothers some here is the ad is selling what farming used to be, the somewhat romanticized version rather than the corporate, subsidized entity it has become.

    Appealing to emotion has always been a powerful tool. I think, too often, libertarians bank on reason as though the populace is littered with deep thinkers. It's not; it is made up of people who usually have a visceral response to something and maybe later will consider it rationally.

    Themes like liberty, govt intrusion/coercion/control, and simple questions like "would you rather decide for yourself or have a bureaucrat decide for you?" go much further than abstract references to deeper concepts.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Damn straight, wareagle.

    When we focus people's attention on the human suffering that the government causes, we accomplish a lot more--with most people--than we do by presenting them with a reasoned argument.

    If we can focus people's attention on the long suffering American entrepreneur overcoming obstacles and persevering--like the farmers in this ad do--then we're doing a more than just engaging the average person's intellect.

    There's a part of Slaughterhouse Five, where where the central character finds himself in a hospital bed sharing a room with a retired general, who ordered the bombing of Dresden--which the central character himself survived. The general is writing a book full of facts and logical arguments about why the bombing of Dresden was the right thing to do...

    ...but then the book goes into a completely fictional, heartstrings pulling account of what the aftermath of the bombing was like--within which, the general's facts and logic seem completely beside the point.

    When preachers want to make people open their wallets into the collection plate, they pull at their heartstrings. Insurance companies, auto makers, beer companies, and others use babies, dogs, hot chicks, and humor. If we're goin' after a general audience, we really should go after them in a way that works for a general audience.

  • wareagle||

    yup...people like stories, they tend to glaze over at concepts. Everyone's favorite teachers, professors, and mentors are the ones that wove concepts into real-world scenarios that addressed concrete issues. As it is, most folks I run across think two things when they hear libertarian: anarchy and legal drugz.

    Plenty of people bitch about govt intrusion in their lives as it is, whether they own businesses or work for one so they have one foot in the door as it is. Anecdotes and examples get peoples' attention and pave the way for following up with facts.

    Most people feel before they think. Maybe it's our hard-wiring but my experience has been that the emotional appeal leads to the rational far more effectively than the reverse.

    There are plenty of impactful examples of govt making someone's life miserable and/or less free, and those go further than some platitude about statism, Team, or govt = force. The platitudes may be true, but they are a poor opening.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    The other problem is that most people never universalize their experiences. They hate, as you point out, government intrusion into THEIR lives. This rarely translates into hating it when government intrudes into the lives of others.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Just for the record, too, I'm not claiming to be great at this myself.

    I think there are some people who need to have logic smeared in their faces (see Tony), but if we're pitching to a general audience, then we need to get better at using pitches that actually resonate with a general audience.

    Virginia Postrel has written a lot about aesthetics and "glamor" and how important they are.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ij7CmzOUpbQ

    Aesthetics isn't a subject entrepreneurial, hard working, gun shooting, punk rock guys like me have spent a lot of time thinking about. We tend to come to libertarianism in a state of aesthetic defiance. But we need to find ways to make the ideas of people like Barack Obama look aesthetically to, say, women in their 20s about as glamorous as Newt Gingrich.

    Instead, when we're talking about a general audience, we've made things like gun rights and libertarianism look to 20 something women about as glamorous as Newt Gingrich's ass. I don't have a game plan on how to turn that around, but I think we need to at least identify the goal.

    Is the goal to bring a general audience to libertarianism? I'm not sure it is with everybody. Again, I'm not askin' anybody to give up one iota of their libertarian principles, but if we're not willing to build a more libertarian world--if that means we might have to pitch our principles in a way that's appealing to general audiences--then we've got bigger problems than I thought.

  • ||

    So, Ken, you think we should forsake logic and reason in favor of emotion? We should become the enemy?

    Do you want to trick people into becoming libertarians or do you want to convince them by presenting its merits?

    You can vote libertarian because you were manipulated or you can actually believe in the philosophy. I personally don't care to stoop to the level of my adversaries.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    FdA, attempting to engage Kendall on this point (or anything, really) is equivalent to, as they say in Yiddish, shlog dein kup en vant.

    Don't waste your breath, he is fully committed to continuing his life of ignorance.

  • ||

    HM

    I think Ken's heart is in the right place. I think he's right in that we should try to spread the word. It's his methods I sometimes find fault with.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I think he's right in that we should try to spread the word.

    I prefer a principle of ehipassiko, for reasons you pointed out above.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not talking about changing our principles or anything like that.

    I'm talking about the pitch.

    There's more than one way to ask a girl out on a date. Some strategies tend to be more successful than others.

    The one where you sit down and argue and reason with her until she realizes that going out with you is the most rational thing in the world to do? That's one strategy.

    But a strategy where you tell her how pretty she is and then offer to take her to see her favorite band? That's another one that might work even better!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "So, Ken, you think we should forsake logic and reason in favor of emotion? We should become the enemy?"

    No, not really.

    I'm saying that if logic and reason aren't the currency that most people are trading in, then trying to entice them into the fold with logic and reason is irrational.

    I'm certainly not willing to wait around for the world to suddenly get rational before we start building a more libertarian world. If we sit around waiting for the rest of the world to get rational, we'll probably never see a world libertarian enough for me in our lifetimes.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Rational discussion can't possibly change an opinion that wasn't arrived at rationally to begin with.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That makes a lot of sense.

    And Chrysler has to get people to the dealership before they can make a sale.

    We just need to get more people to the libertarian dealership.

    That's why I give money to Reason. They're better at selling libertarianism to a general audience than anyone else in the whole wide world.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Rational discussion can't possibly change an opinion that wasn't arrived at rationally to begin with.

    Nobody comes to their views from a point of pure rationality, it's impossible. Even if we could attain that sort of detachment, the world of rule by pure rationality would be a utilitarian nightmare.

  • Libertarius||

    Utilitarianism is anything but rational.

  • toxic||

    It's a cheeseball ad to make accountants who drive trucks feel like badasses by proxy. It didn't make me think of farm policy nearly as much as the rather odd cult of testosterone that exists with trucks. Anything they can drape over the hulking beasts to convince people they are symbols of masculinity instead of a tool will be deployed with maximum maudlin cynicism.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    ^THIS, A MILLION TIMES, THIS^

  • ||

    They are a tool.

    However, they are a manly tool.

  • ||

    When I drive my truck naked, my dick looks bigger.

  • Hawk Spitui||

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yeah! Fuck that bitch! I'm wilding out in my new Toyota!

  • Ken Shultz||

    LOL

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    A relative of mine wants a Porsche but can't really afford two cars. So I suggested get the four wheel drive rally version and it could be an every day car and practical for all weather.

  • JW||

    Hey now, be careful, or you'll get Tulpa on you for breaking the law.

    http://jalopnik.com/5978168/th.....r-speeding

  • box_man||

    There's a mindset that goes with farming that the ad captured perfectly. Regardless of whether they are propped up by subsidies, they have to work their ass off to do what they do, and in turn what they usually end up being belittled and treated like they are morons because they don't engage society the same way urban and suburbanites do.

    In my opinion Dodge's marketing department had a tremendous insight into an arguably large portion of their target truck market and nailed it dead on with that ad. The amount of respect they showed for their target market by spending 2 minutes of very expensive ad time connecting with them will go a long way towards building good will at the dealership.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    ...and in turn what they usually end up being belittled and treated like they are morons ...

    Bull fucking shit.

    Farmers and farming are the most romanticized group and activity in America. Have been for a long time.

    Which you do too, when you say " Regardless of whether they are propped up by subsidies, they have to work their ass off to do what they do,"; Presumably as opposed to small business owners, or service workers, or salesmen or any other group of working people that may pay those subsidies but don't work their asses off.

  • box_man||

    Settle down VG. You're making a logical fallacy out of my statement. I din't impugn any other form of work by stating that farmers had to work their asses off. I was speaking directly to what they did. Secondly, I was talking about the physicality of their work, not the time spent in the office or the mental strain of other pursuits. As an engineer I "work my ass off" too to make sure my parts function properly in the final product, but I sure as hell can't go out to a farm and survive one day of the labor required of a farmer because I sit in a cube all day and any strength I had has been atrophied out of me over the years.

    Lastly my moron observation comes from my own personal experience living in a rural community that is fortunate enough to have several major manufacturers in town that employ people at jobs not related to farming. Even though there is a large part of the population that still farms in the area, the "more enlightened" people in town look down on them, grouse about their conservative values, laugh at their resistance to adopting new technologies like the ever so useful facebook, and generally vote for candidates to political office that don't side with farmers. So yes I mistakenly generalized my moron observation, but it's at least consistent on a local level.

  • SIV||

    That ad was designed to sell trucks, but not to farmers. The target market is people who work in offices, live in cities or suburbs and feel insecure about their ability to do any real "hands on" work. I'm sure the new trucks come with a generous roadside assistance plan so the target buyers can call someone to change a tire or pull them out of a soft road shoulder.

  • box_man||

    You may be right, but around here a lot of trucks get bought before tax time because the capital purchase helps offset profits for the farmer and thus a lower tax bill.

  • SIV||

    Sure, farmers buy pickup trucks but that isn't where the market is.

  • Drake||

    I've know different types of farmers.

    Dairy farmers seem to have a fairly routine schedule throughout the year that is tough but not as overblown of the ad. If they grow their own feed corn, the fall is busier.

    The midwest wheat and corn farmers have 100+ hour weeks spring and fall. They also have 10-hour weeks mid-summer and winter.

  • toxic||

    It's not a large portion of the market. Farmers make up like 2% of Americans. Trucks make up like 45% of the total vehicle market. You do to the math. While I suspect that at least half the trucks that get sold are more lifestyle accessories than anything else, I have no proof of that. However, I do know the vast majority of trucks are not going to farmers.

  • wareagle||

    I liked it but then, I always liked Paul Harvey's delivery. And the ad harkens to a simpler time, when the copy in the ad rang true and farming was tough work NOT associated with Con Agra and DC largesse.

    Spent a lot of years as a reporter in NC, big home to tobacco, and those old boys were some of the sharpest people I ever met. Sure, their diction might not be perfect and their necks were often red, but their biggest concern was often the one variable they could not control - weather.

  • Rich||

    those old boys were some of the sharpest people I ever met.

    This. Certainly there are *some* yokels, but people who think farmers in general to be bumpkins have met few or no farmers. Some of the most intelligent people I have known were farmers. Some of those left the farm to succeed in the "real world" (to become electrical engineers, for instance); and I wonder how the others would turned out had their situations been different.

  • Brett L||

    Well, sure. If you spend some time talking to them, you'll find out that about a third went off to school if they could afford it and took chemistry, biology, and engineering degrees, but came home to farm.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Won't anyone think of the kids?

    I grew up in a rural area and a huge percentage moved away to the "big city" for opportunity. Cheesy ads ain't going to make me think fondly of being stuck there as a kid.

  • Sevo||

    Audie Murphy was raised on a farm. One reason he liked the army so much is the let him sleep in until 5.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    The farmers around here (West Central Ohio) are largely a surly and grouchy lot. Smiles generally can be witnessed if you buy their tomatoes or green beans- other than that pretty much assume you can live among them for 20 years with about 2 hat tips a year, if that. Oddly, I like the alienation because it supports my worldly lifestyle but it doesn't go without notice that these rural tractor types are extremely tough to befriend if you aren't in the boys club.

    If I wanted to sell them 60 thousand dollar trucks, tho, I'd def want to stroke them off with as much adeptness as possible- and this would include expressing to millions with ads my awe and respect for the under-appreciated genius of the normally grouchy and surly who push corn and beans.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The farmers around here (West Central Ohio) are largely a surly and grouchy lot. Smiles generally can be witnessed if you buy their tomatoes or green beans- other than that pretty much assume you can live among them for 20 years with about 2 hat tips a year, if that

    So Ohioan farmers are just like the average person here in New Hampshire. I too enjoy being left the fuck alone.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I'm down wid dat. Point is, reality isn't a commercial- romanticism is. Romantic projections and aspirations sell stuff which is cool, but I'm more comfortable with reality trumping soft tears stealing South on a dimpled chin over a quaint ad for 60k buck trucks. That's all.

    This conversation brings Marine corp. adverts to mind.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    This conversation brings Marine corp. adverts to mind.

    You mean you don't get to use the Mameluke sword in combat? Aw man!

  • Drake||

    I climbed a mountain and slew a dragon with mine while wearing dress blues right after boot camp.

  • OldMexican||

    This is, after all, a country in which First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt had both to request and receive permission from her husband’s USDA, which was “skeptical of amateur farmers,” before she could plant her White House garden.


    Alas, the sexually-ambiguous first lady was so submerged in a tub of normalcy that she did not seem to recognize the absurdity of this procedure and of the existence of such a system.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    "Long-term jobless crisis stumps experts"
    At least they mention: "Economists are puzzling over what has changed. Is it generous benefits that make it easy to stay unemployed?"
    But then immediately: "the harm it causes justifies strong efforts to stimulate the economy,"
    Yep, might well be the result of gov't intervention, so let's add more.
    http://www.sfgate.com/business.....264699.php

  • wareagle||

    Is it generous benefits that make it easy to stay unemployed?"

    yes x one million. Weaning oneself off of govt benefits entails no small amount of pain. The system comes with built-in disincentives to regaining self-sufficiency.

    I understand individuals making decisions in their best interest and taking what amounts to a pay cut out of pride is not something a good many are willing to do. What's insidious is that govt has engineered the system to make such a scenario reality.

  • OldMexican||

    Uh.. Whaaa? Cognitive dissonance in the media?

    Say it ain't so, Shoeless!

  • Sudden||

    And with that reference, you've gone from OldMexican to so ancient you predate the Aztecs.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    OldOlmec does have a ring to it.

  • OldMexican||

    OldTeotihuacan - much older.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Titicaca!

    #5thgradehumor

  • Sevo||

    BOOOO!

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sudden,

    And with that reference, you've gone from OldMexican to so ancient you predate the Aztecs.


    Well, I did see Eight Men Out...

  • OldMexican||

    Those who want to see Paul Harvey as a champion of small farms must ignore the fact he was an advocate for agribusiness. And those who might embrace Harvey as a defender of large farms—the ability of American agribusiness to feed the world—can only do so by ignoring that he expected taxpayers to subsidize their growth.


    Something like arguing about whether he liked HO or O better when the guy just loved trains.

  • Hawk Spitui||

  • Drake||

    I can see this is going to be a trend.

    http://www.funnyordie.com/vide.....red_videos

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Considering Chrysler is the nationalized little sister of Government Motors, the ad makes perfect sense. Socialist welfare parasites gotta stick together.

    All praise the government, from which our subsidies flow!

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I think, too often, libertarians bank on reason as though the populace is littered with deep thinkers. It's not; it is made up of people who usually have a visceral response to something and maybe later will consider it rationally.

    Who says the American government school system is a failure?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Next year, Dodge can run an ad showing a construction contractor loading his truck with boxes of documents and going to an IRS audit.

    It can be a poem about the noble virtues of the government bureaucrat.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    I think GM will beat them to it with the Silverado Guy. He always pays his taxes on time and in full.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    The "Silverado Guy" ads Jim Rome reads on his show are brutal. Frankly, Silverado Guy sounds like a douche.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Missing from this discussion is the possibility that both are right. It is very well possible that U.S. farm policy is screwed up, that the overwhelming majority of U.S. farm production comes from large-scale agribusiness, and that there are thousands upon thousands of small family farmers who work their rear ends off, show tremendous ingenuity and character, and can be thought of as "the salt of the earth". To me, there's nothing inconsistent in these possibilities and that agricultural reform would probably have the effect of shifting production (and profit) from the heavily subsidized agribusiness to independent operators.

  • robc||

    agricultural reform would probably have the effect of shifting production (and profit) from the heavily subsidized agribusiness to independent operators.

    It would be surprising if this wasnt the case.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In yet another 1978 column, Harvey advocated in favor of what he called "farmunism"—that's Harvey’s term for communist Chinese-style farming.

    Awesome.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Whether it was an accurate job of depicting farmers isn't really the point. The purpose of the ad wasn't to educate about farmers, it was to sell pickup trucks by them. Attempting to sell to someone by flattering them is one of the oldest techniques in ads, and this particular ad did an amazing job of doing that. Even a lot of people who noticed the flaterry ended up being moved by it despite themselves. The fact everyone is still talking about it a week later demonstrates how effective it was.

    It was clearly the best ad at the Superbowl this year, and probably in quite sometime.

  • Sevo||

    "The fact everyone is still talking about it a week later demonstrates how effective it was."
    Ditto the Go-Daddy ad.

  • Brett L||

    Totally outside the fight, I was watching this commercial with a friend. He, his brother and I had gone up to GA a couple of weeks before. While up there, his uncle wanted to move an old broken down farm truck under a convenient limb so he could salvage the motor. Friend's brother jumps in his Dodge, says, "I'll tow it." Gets lined up and we go to hook up the tow strap... Nothing to hook up to. Thankfully his uncle had to working Chevys with trailer hitches. Anyhow, the ad comes on, my friend and I look at each other once we figure out its a Dodge commercial and he says, "You'd think a company that makes farm trucks would put a hitch on the standard package."

    Although, in Dodge's defense, my friend's brother definitely has the city boy package, so they might put it on the base model.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It was clearly the best ad at the Superbowl this year, and probably in quite sometime.

    Seriously? I was too busy saying WTF? to even figure out what it was supposed to be about. I thought it was an ADM ad until the end.

    I don't think it was intended to sell pickup trucks; it was just a big sloppy kiss to those wonderful farsighted Americans in Congress who rescued Chrysler from Death's door.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It wasn't intended to sell pickup trucks TO YOU. It appears to have been wildly successful with the people it was intended to sell pickup trucks to.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Uh....

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It appears to have been wildly successful with the people it was intended to sell pickup trucks to.

    Government bureaucrats? When Northrop advertises on Meet the Press, they don't expect me to pick up the phone and order a B2.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    No, the TEAM RED Real Amurrikens crowd.

  • Dirk Diggler||

    I loved this commercial. But only because I was visualizing the reaction it doubtlessly engendered in leftists, and not because there was anything particularly good about it.

  • WhereYou'reWrong||

    My impression was that the ad (like the Jeep ad Chrysler also ran) was designed to wrap Dodge in the flag and plant the company in American soil and make patriotic American truck buyers forget all about the bailout and that the company is now owned by Fiat.

  • Another David||

    I don't mind the text of the speech - it's a talk written by a farmer, designed to convince kids to be farmers when they grow up. Of course it's going to romanticize farming. But I was sick of the "We love rural America! Buy our trucks!" campaigns after Chevrolet made me listen to John Mellencamp about sixty thousand times a game back in 2007.

  • Ted S.||

    And the Ford truck ads with the kinetic typography are physically irritating.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I don't know how it is elsewhere and I'm not a farmer, but when I worked construction nobody had a nice ass truck like that. Even guys that made good money had beaters. A lot of guys had old vans with tool cabinets bolted to the floor in the back.

    I used to use my dad's old toyota 4 cylinder, 5 speed. That truck's body fell off before the engine and frame went. I think it had 300,000 hard ass miles on it.

    In conclusion, buy an old beater truck.

  • hdc77494||

    And I bet your dad bought it new...

  • General Butt Naked||

    You kidding?

    Nope, when he bought it it already had over 100k miles on it.

  • Tman||

    If this ad didn't make you want to buy a farmer, then you sir, are worse than Hitler.

  • General Butt Naked||

    That's funny. I thought it was an ad for a farmer adoption agency until they showed the truck; even then I wasn't so sure.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In conclusion, buy an old beater truck.

    What? And keep that five hundred bucks a month in your pocket? Why do you want Dodge dealers' children to starve?

  • General Butt Naked||

    Well, if you're an account or a lawyer then buy a shiny, bigass truck because the scratches and dings it doesn't get will increase resale value.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Insert "-ant" where applicable.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    "then buy a shiny, bigass-ant truck"

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    So tReason is attacking the romanticizing of today's farmer...but writes articles romanticizing the image of today's immigrants. Cosmotarians are so consistent....well consistent on siding with leftists.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Oh, and I almost forgot to point out the hypocrisy of tReason attacking and vilifying Paul Harvey, but just a few weeks earlier wrote a love letter to Howard Zinn.

  • iggy||

    Considering that city-slicker liberals are the ones most likely to stupidly romanticize farmers, I'm not sure how you can claim we're siding with liberals on this.

  • Dirk Diggler||

    Nonsense. Lefties will mindlessly romanticize specialized farmers who grow organic vegetables within spitting distance of their restaurants so that they can put locally-sourced on their menus, but they don't give a ripe fuck about the Jesus-humping hicks in flyover country who produce the lion's share of America's food.

  • iggy||

    I disagree. Most liberals I know seem to have the absurd belief that a good number of farmers are impoverished, depression-era working men who toil from dawn till dusk, constantly being ravaged by the evils of capitalism.

    They see them as members of the proletariat, just like auto-workers, and think that it's horrible when anything bad happens to them.

  • Dirk Diggler||

    Who in the hell do you think informs their contempt for red ag states if not farmers? I don't know what city you live in, but I've lived in NYC since graduating from college, and the contempt and outright hatred for big agriculture states/regions that aren't named California is pretty palpable.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, I don't think liking farmers in reality is what iggy's talking about. It's liking farmers in the abstract. I'm also in NYC, and while people generally in practice think their food comes from the grocery store, they have a vague notion that some farmer somewhere grows it and they'd starve without them. Putting those abstract farmers together with actual red state rural America would entail a degree of thought and consideration of the matter that few of them care to devote.

  • General Butt Naked||

    What about John Cougar Mellencamp and Willie Nelson?

    Not that I really give a fuck, being that this is the dumbest argument on the internet outside of a youtube comment section.

  • iggy||

    Considering the discussions people were having with Mary earlier today, it's the SECOND dumbest argument on the internet outside of a youtube comment section.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Which article?

  • iggy||

    She's been deleted. You can still see the vestiges of the argument though, as when John bitches at a Mary that's no longer there.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    tReason

    DRINK!

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    What fruity drink do you cosmos enjoy the most?

  • iggy||

    The drink's irrelevant, so long as I'm having it at a White House press dinner or the after-party of a Broadway Musical.

  • ||

    Does grape juice count? I don't drink. I'm not really much for parties either, there's too many people and too much noise.

  • Almanian!||

    Teetotaltarian!

  • General Butt Naked||

    ...cosmotarians... ...cosmos...

    DRINK!
    DRINK!

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Today's farmer rides around in an air conditioned GPS RTK robotic machine control half mil combine leased from GE Capital, listening to the Colts game, drinking a beer, smoking some weed, fucking around on the iPhone for a couple weeks every year.

  • hdc77494||

    and he has to produce enough to pay for it all, every year, no matter what. Add on the political reality that the US stockpiles food for the citizens of poorly run countries, farms play a big role in global security.

  • waaminn||

    Man that sure is a cool lookiong tractor

    www.GoinAnon.da.bz

  • hdc77494||

    I'm not a huge fan of any government subsidies, but without without some mechanism to smooth out the normal boom bust cycles inherent to agricultural activity, vast swaths of this country, and far too many small towns in rural America would wither and die, forcing those people to move to larger and larger cities. And it's not just the farmers. Stable farming communities means stable food prices and broad availability. I know it's hard to quantify, but I believe farm subsidies give us a great return on investment.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Meant to reply to this comment. See my 9:21 comment below.

  • Sevo||

    hdc77494| 2.9.13 @ 8:31PM |#
    ...'I know it's hard to quantify, but I believe farm subsidies give us a great return on investment."

    If you can't quantify it, shut up. That's my tax money you're throwing around because you 'believe' what you can't prove.
    Shut up and go away.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    ...but without without some mechanism to smooth out the normal boom bust cycles inherent to agricultural activity...

    Actually, there is already a mechanism in place that will do just that. It's called a swap. It is a financial agreement between two private parties. No need for government interference. In fact, for every instance you can think of where government could play a role, or "help out", I can find an example of the market already doing it (without violence).

  • Almanian!||

    DAMN you, "market", and your quick, Invisible Hand™!!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, that does get to a significant point. DRS's hypothetical farmer riding "around in an air conditioned GPS RTK robotic machine control combine" is often more or at least as technologically sophisticated and market savvy as his urban peers.

  • Almanian!||

    I thought the ad sucked donkey balls. It was maudlin and silly. As I noted at work the next day, "God made a farmer. And Italians make Dodge trucks."

    Fuck you, Govt Motors, Jr, the Dept of Ag, et al.

  • Brad Wilson||

    The Harvey text portrayed the way of life of family farming, and that's what the debate is all about. It's not about his life

    Ditto for Chrysler/Dodge/Ram. They're like other giant advertisers, but in this case, apparently because of the farmer portrayal (because it was so positive,) people from other walks of life are really ticked off. Why is that. That's the real story, but no reviewer I've seen has come close to covering that.

    The Harvey text (and the full text,) and the ad left out an important part of the drama, our fight for fair farm policy (such as our fight for fair prices instead of subsidies, "Food Movement 1985, Were You There?"). No surprise there. Hey, it was an ad. And anyway, Harvey is a conservative, but the text did not include any of his views on these other matters. This is not at all about what Harvey said in other venues. That's clearly not the issue.

    The rebuttal to the ad mentioned here, "God Made a Factory Farmer," pairs images from the ad of farmers (ie. praying) with a voice of mockery, descriptions of massive lobby money, and references to giant corporations, plus invalid data charts. Those who like it claim that it bashes Dodge and/or agribusiness, but that's not what the images actually show.

    Click my name for links to massive documentation of all of this, and further exposure of the wide array of myths used to bash farmers.

  • Knoss||

    This ad is clearly as much for Case New Holland and the Case brand as it is for Ram Trucks. Case products from a 511 tractor to modern Steiger tractors and International combines are proudly displayed through the piece.

    One thing that annoyed me was while grain farming was represented by large modern machines, cattle were represented by square bales and small barnyards. I'd also note that New Holland balers have declined in quality since the mid 1990's.

  • Reverendcaptain||

    The ad celebrated farmers. I grew up with farmers and a lot of my friends are still farmers and it was nice to see something that celebrated them. I never imagined that people would have their panties in a twist about it. Jeez people, lighten up.

  • Stephdumas||

    I spotted a spoof of Paul Harvey's speech titled "So God made a liberal" on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUzMPlQb2G4

  • Quimby||

    Liam. I can see what your saying... Frank`s remark is terrific, I just got a great Car from having earned $9986 this-past/four weeks and-over, 10-k this past munth. it's actualy the nicest-work Ive ever had. I actually started six months/ago and almost straight away began to earn over $87 per-hour. I went to this website,, http://www.FLY38.COM

  • Rabban||

    and found out that all I had to do was sit in a chair and play Russian Roulette while sweaty Asian men made frantic wagers.

  • macforreal||

    Emails I sent to my son, a leader in the student libertarian movement:

    And god created the farmer…for the children…

    For the farmer needed many children for their many hands to do the never ending work the farm required. And so the farmer had many children, with many hungry mouths. And god blessed the children by requiring the farmer to given them a mutiplitudeness of never ending chores that most adults today would avoid like they would avoid like erupted syphilitic chancers. And the never ending work and responsibility of the farmer and the never ending chores of the many children lead to the parent/child relationship to frequently devolve into a master/slave paradigm, while numbing both the farmer and the children to the possibilities of life.

  • macforreal||

    Emails I sent to my son, a leader in the student libertarian movement.

    I don't believe it. You of all people. Check your premises. Or more to the point, the ad's premises. The fallacy is so glaring, so politically incorrect that none dare recognize or challenge it. What is the key foundation of Harvey's thesis? Leave aside the belief in god. What is the essay's refrain (it is, to the effect, "and so God created the farmer")?

  • macforreal||

    Why were there people willing to work 16+ hours a day (effectively 24/7/365) to keep their farms from failing? 'Cuz there was not other way to survive. They really didn't chose to be farmers. As a class of people you cannot generalize them as being so selflessly magnanimous and altruistic (and is being so a virtue to extolled?) Farming was their was only that choice (that they could perceive [a lack of capital was also a problem]), dying, or crime. [Take note that the tendency is for rural folks run to the city in any developing country because ex ante, they believe the city offers a greater chance of a better life than remaining on the farm.

    Don't get me wrong, I will stipulate that most (small poor) farmers in the 30's,'40's,&'50's were good, upstanding, god fearing, and very vulnerable people. But sure as hell do not think that god made them farmers to ensure they had to live a life of hellishly enslaving and capriciously tenuous work that more often threatened, rather than succored, survival for the individual farmer and that of his family.

    That is why god created a farmer? To laugh at a poor hapless victim of a bait & switch, of reaching for an unreachable carrot, a Charlie Brown at the mercy of a mean spirited Lucy with the yanking of the football of life? That we should believe that pain is good because pain is good?

    Thank god he endowed the farmer the fortitude to persevere and accumulate capital that we do not have to live such a hard miserable life.

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