PUBLISHER'S NOTEBOOK: Farmers join the Super Bowl extravaganza
Tuesday, February 05, 2013 4:03 AM
For the Super Bowl, the game is just one piece of an entertainment extravaganza, the others being the glitzy halftime show and the expensive commercials, which are the highlight for many people. For commercial-watchers, usually the emphasis is on what humor awaits viewers and, though this year's crop was disappointing, there were seniors on the rampage, cross-dressing Doritos-eaters and space babies.
However, one commercial stood in stark contrast to the usual fare - a tribute to U.S. farmers that featured the late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. It was sponsored by Dodge Ram, although you wouldn't know it until the very end of the, in Super Bowl terms, extremely long piece.
Harvey delivers the narration, which is his "So God Made a Farmer" speech he gave in 1978 at a National Future Farmers of America convention.
Although his distinctive voice caught the attention of viewers, at least those old enough to remember him from his radio years, the visual message was equally powerful. Ram commissioned 10 noted photographers, including National Geographic great William Albert Allard and famed documentary photographer Kurt Markus, to document U.S. farm life.
It was quite a contrast to all the excesses of the Super Bowl - from the spectacle of the halftime show to the emphasis on consuming food and drink and, well, even lusting after vehicles.
"God said, 'I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.' So God made a farmer."
Now, this isn't something you would think to hear during the sports - and entertainment - event of the year. And the images of farmers hard at work in an environment outside the public eye stand in stark contrast to the spotlight on athletes showboating on the field in front of millions of adoring fans.
It sounds like the ad resonated with viewers across the country. It also has reason to make farmers proud.
Although life has changed in rural areas and Harvey's depiction 25 years ago may not be totally accurate, the values he espouses still hold true today and, perhaps, are more needed now than ever.
A correction should be noted on a column from two weeks ago when it was explained that the high temperature, which was projected to be at least a degree below zero, broke a string running for about four years in which the high temperature for a day climbed above zero. It turns out, the projections were wrong and the high that day did get to a degree above zero, keeping the streak alive.
Remember when we used to suffer through times in which the temperature stayed below zero for days on end? To go so many years without even one day staying below zero all day long is unusual.
Although the high temperature each day has surpassed zero in the two weeks since the column, we have been in a deep freeze with several subzero low temperatures and frequent bouts of snow. In short, we have been experiencing good, old-fashioned winter weather, perhaps, the kind that was common in 1978 and before.
Despite the cold, a correction won't be made for the cause - global warming. Climate change is a slow process with many individual variations month to month and year to year. Overall, there is irrefutable evidence that our earth is warming despite what we may experience on a day-to-day basis.
It is still something our state, national and world leaders need to address even if the change is subtle. There are significant consequences, even if scientists don't always agree on exactly how they play out.