The internet is abuzz with this incredibly simple and poignant Dodge Ram commercial which aired during the Super Bowl. For two minutes, audiences held their breath as they heard that old familiar voice of Paul Harvey and saw delightful photographs of rural life by several famous photographers, including William Albert Allard and Kurt Markus:
But as breathtaking as the ad is, it’s not without controversy.
First, Slate noted that “God Made a Farmer” was a nicer, smoother version of a You Tube video posted in 2011 by Farms.com:
According to NPR, “…the ad is part of a Dodge Ram partnership with the National FFA Organization (formerly the Future Farmers of America) aimed at “highlighting and underscoring the importance of farmers in America,” according to a statement from Dodge parent company Chrysler. The car company says that every time the ad is watched or shared, Chrysler will make a donation to the National FFA.”
Secondly, this morning many tweets claimed Dodge cut out a very important part of Paul Harvey’s original speech — which was first delivered in 1978 to Future Farmers of America.
Foxnews published the text of the essay, and it does look like parts were edited down. Here’s the original text:
And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a caretaker.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” So God made a farmer.
“I need somebody with arms strong enough to rustle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild. Somebody to call hogs, tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to wait lunch until his wife’s done feeding visiting ladies and tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon — and mean it.” So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a newborn colt. And watch it die. Then dry his eyes and say, ‘Maybe next year.’ I need somebody who can shape an ax handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make harness out of haywire, feed sacks and shoe scraps. And who, planting time and harvest season, will finish his forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, pain’n from ‘tractor back,’ put in another seventy-two hours.” So God made a farmer.
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to get the hay in ahead of the rain clouds and yet stop in mid-field and race to help when he sees the first smoke from a neighbor’s place. So God made a farmer.
God said, “I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bails, yet gentle enough to tame lambs and wean pigs and tend the pink-combed pullets, who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadow lark. It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight and not cut corners. Somebody to seed, weed, feed, breed and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and finish a hard week’s work with a five-mile drive to church.
“Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh and then sigh, and then reply, with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life ‘doing what dad does.'” So God made a farmer.
It looks like Dodge reduced the original language for the purposes of the commercial, which ended up being two full minutes… an eternity during that expensive television time slot of the Super Bowl. However, as you can see by comparing the above text and video, several sentences were eliminated for the commercial — not just the sentence that related to church attendance. And it’s hard to accuse Dodge of an anti-Christian bias, when one of the second image is that of a church — complete with a cross:
Also, as a reader pointed out, “It’s hard to make the case that they are trying to avoid “God talk” when the phrase ‘God Made a Farmer’ is used many times.” In other words, the words about going to church are missing, but the sentiments are all there. Dodge did a great job of capturing the heart of Paul Harvey’s speech in two minutes of breathtaking ad space.