By Morgan Clendaniel
The farmer-themed Dodge Ram commercial that aired during the Super Bowl has, improbably, stirred up a great deal of emotion around the country about who is American and what the essence of the American economy is. There has already been one parody ad which noted that while almost every face in the original ad was white, the vast majority of farm workers today are Latino. But sometimes it takes a satirist to really get to the heart of an issue, and that's what Nick Wiger at Funny or Die has done with "God Made A Factory Farmer":
This new version hilariously gets at what was really wrong with the ad, as inspiring as it was: American agriculture as we imagine it doesn't really exist. Except for the very small percentage of nice farmers who bring your kale to the farmer's market, the vast majority of food produced in this country is grown by just a few giant companies, who have set up sweetheart deals with the government to protect their industry, at the expense of both small farmers and the health of Americans.
Here's the full text of the Funny or Die video, which offers a pretty insightful indictment of the current state of American agriculture:
And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said I need a caretaker. So God made a farmer.
And back when America was founded, 90% of the population were farmers. But now it's less than 1%. So God made a factory farm.
And then God wanted to maximize yield, so he made pesticides and herbicides. And he made genetically modified seeds that are resistant to those chemicals. And God let Monsanto patent those seeds.
And God said: "Sometimes agribusiness grows crops that no one needs, but they still want to get paid." So God made farm subsidies.
And then God noticed, "Hmmm, there sure is a massive corn surplus out there." And so God made high fructose corn syrup. And then God said: "Well, now we've got to do something with all this corn syrup." So God made Mountain Dew. And Cookie Crisps. And Gushers.
And then God said: "Ok, now it just seems like Americans aren't willing to do farm labor anymore." So God made Mexicans.
And God said: "Granted, the American agricultural industry has evolved into a manufacturing giant that's more like Walmart than a mom-and-pop store. And it's backed by powerful interest groups that spend hundreds of millions lobbying Congress. But despite all that, the word 'farmer' still evokes salt of the earth, American Gothic imagery. And, from a marketing standpoint, that would be a helpful thing to associate with an automaker that nearly went bankrupt due to mismanagement.
So God made this commercial.
If anything, Paul Harvey's speech should be looked at as an ideal to try to return to: hardworking owners of small farms bringing us locally grown food as part of our communities.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.