Yes, the Dodge trucks commercial using the late Paul Harvey’s 1978 speech “So God Made A Farmer” resonated with millions of viewers and was voted one of the most popular Super Bowl spots; but “the rest of the story” is not so pretty.
The blogosphere and the Twitterverse are buzzing with atheistic umbrage (the ad violated the principle of separation of church and pigskin, after all), skepticism of Dodge’s altruism and cynical digs at the exploitation of migrant farm workers.
Given accelerating trends in society, I wonder what an inspirational Super Bowl commercial would sound like in another 20 years. I fear it would sound eerily similar to the essay I call “So Evolution Made A Farmer.”
Evolution saw that the 21st century required someone self-effacing enough to laugh heartily in the face of adverse weather conditions, wipe the tears of laughter from his face, suddenly realize that there is probably a subtle racist subtext to the aforementioned adversity and find a lawyer to file The Mother Of All Lawsuits. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution saw that efficiency required an individual who was ruthless enough to crush all the mom-and-pop farming operations, yet gentle enough to spare all the mom-and-mom, pop-and-pop, Dinglehoofer-and-his-dog and “whatever the heck Pat is” operations. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution saw that the modern world needed someone skillful enough to sic nuclear-armed drone planes on anyone who trespassed, poached or (*gasp*) questioned his statistics. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution perceived an opening for someone who could have big, big dreams yet genetically modify corn so that an ear was so small that a mere two monthly Social Security checks would buy it. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution saw the need for someone tough enough to heap up all the stumps and rocks and brambles from a new field, so he could stone his wife if she dared to drive a tractor or flutter her veil at a passing farmhand. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution recognized the benefit of having someone to grow nourishing foods, so schoolchildren would be strong enough to tattle on their gun nut classmates who (*shudder*) shopped at “Target,” used “Aim” toothpaste, read “magazines” or uttered foul words such as “arms,” “point” and “fire.” (Oops. Teacher used the threatening phrase “raise your hands.” Report her as well.) So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution saw the need for someone who would drop precious seed into row after row of cropland, who would drop everything to aid a neighbor, who would drop multiple “F-bombs” during his daughter’s baptism. So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution acknowledged the void to be filled by someone progressive enough to reserve one section of the “North 40” for invading extraterrestrials. (“While you’re working on your crop circles, I’ll see that your entitlement checks get started.”) So evolution made a farmer.
Evolution saw the need for someone who could maintain a competitive edge, even though the world was just one big agri-pharma-munitions corporation – someone who could remain stoic even though deep down he wanted to scream, “PLEASE don’t let me get demoted to president of the United States or pope!” So evolution made a farmer.
And evolution saw that it was good.
Heaven help us.
Danny welcomes reader e-mail responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades”.