Sharing A Rant

I sometimes post rants on here.  Not as often as I once did, and I try not keep them infrequent.

An internet friend wrote recently that she knows writing is good when, after she reads it, she finds herself wishing she’d written it.

I came across a self-described rant on the Saddleback Mountain Farm blog a couple of days ago. After reading it, I found myself thinking that if I was going to rant, this would be a good one.  I recommend you check out the blog, which I’ve linked.  But here is the “rant”:

The great American tragedy, Gene, is the fact that the farms you describe here (“genuine, small working farms with livestock and chickens, fields and barns, gardens, an orchard, a strawberry patch, the 1950s-era farms that many of us grew up on”) have disappeared to become mere museums pieces. That plus the accompanying fact that so few Americans care about their disappearance or even think about it.

But why should they? They have malls and double-wides and 10,000 Dunkin’ Donuts. They have green beans in cans for 69 cents. They have widescreen TVs in every room and double-wide asses to lounge on as they watch.

The art and craft of traditional small-scale farming? It’s inherent healthfulness and direct connection to actual food? Its eternal dance with earth and land and the four seasons?

But of course. Who cares about such trivialities when you can Twitter every five seconds. And biggy-size ad nauseum. When you can thrill on the thought of facebooking on Mars.

Maybe even be first!

Facebooking on Mars!


17 comments on “Sharing A Rant

  1. Bill, I yearn for the days of those small family farms, self -sustaining and wholly acceptable unto this good earth. They may never return as a way of life for the many, at least not in my “lifetime,” but I am really understanding that it all has to come down to the individual or the individual family, however that’s defined. Kindred spirits are what sustains me.


    • Bill says:

      Very nicely said Teresa. I totally agree that it is individuals and families that will determine the future of this. And that is how it should be.

      One of the great things about the internet (and the “information age”) is that is has facilitated our ability to discover kindred spirits and to profit from their wisdom, wit, beauty, grace and even the occasional rant. I’ve certainly enjoyed (and been inspired by) your writing.


  2. Thanks, Bill. As we farm so do we resurrect…


  3. Jeff says:

    “But why should they? They have malls and double-wides and 10,000 Dunkin’ Donuts. They have green beans in cans for 69 cents. They have widescreen TVs in every room and double-wide asses to lounge on as they watch.”

    “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

    From the chapter, Economy in H.D. Thoreau, Walden

    Rants are useful, but we should not allow them to blind us to the larger picture…


  4. El Guapo says:

    To be fair, no one told us it was important.
    If you want to battle con Agra and the rest, people, sadly, really do need to be shown why it’s in their best interest, and to why they should use their economic power to make a difference.


    • Bill says:

      You’re right. I think there are more and more voices trying to get that message out. But they’re competing against multi-billion dollar advertising budgets.


  5. Bob Braxton says:

    fat pig to market to market jiggety jig jiggety jog


    • Jeff says:

      … which is a nursery rhyme in Mother Goose, which is a collection of folk tales from pre-industrial-revolution England. No one may have told us that it’s important, but a lot of people are now starting to find that out on their own … boots on the ground are more important than wasting time and energy trying to show people why it’s in their best interest, though. Lead by example and all that kind of thing. That’s my .02, anyway.


  6. I think El Guapo says it – no one told us it was important. I think people really do need to be shown – repeatedly – till they see it. The people twittering and watching TV – they’re just doing what all the people around them are doing. Double wides are just a kind of dwelling. These things are not the cause of the decline of small mixed farms. The root of the issue is in the beginning of the global economy, the commodity markets, diversification of chemical companies into fertilizer and pesticides, the patenting of seeds, vertically integrated agri-business models, quotas, marketing boards, government policy and advertising. Perhaps most of all, advertising.


    • Bill says:

      Well said. There’s nothing per se wrong with convenience. But arguably we’re being persuaded by advertising, bad policy and all other things you mention to adopt lifestyles that are ultimately unsustainable.


  7. shoreacres says:

    Never mind advertising. It’s in the politicians’ and bureaucrats’ interest to keep the public fat, dumb and happy. While we pick around the corners, they’re busy setting up a system that never will be dismantled no matter which new senators and representatives show up in Washington, let alone which President.

    Laws are being broken every day by the government. Laws are being circumvented or ignored. No one is being held responsible for anything. The attempts to Balkanize our society, setting one group against another, is proceeding apace.

    Honest to goodness, the President himself is telling governmental workers to spy on each other, the AG is setting up a tipline (1-800-Get-Zimmerman is the joke, but it’s not so far off) and the idiots our representatives in Congress absolutely REFUSE to stop spending money and get things under control.

    What no one seems to understand is there are people in charge of a good part of our society who want things to collapse. Until we deal with them, a whole lot else is never going to get better.


    • Bill says:

      There are certainly plenty of wrongheaded things going on these days. Being cynical (which isn’t necessarily a bad way to be) I’d say the bureaucrats answer to and depend upon the favor of politicians, who answer to and depend upon the favor of corporations (which profit from the returned favor of the politicians). The beauty of that sort of food chain is that if functioning properly the corporations must ultimately answer to and depend upon the favor of consumers, many of whom are also voters. So the ultimate power lies where it should (again, assuming a properly functioning system).

      But corporations have become masters at winning the favor of consumers through advertising, which is a form of behavioral manipulation (moreso than a source of information). Even though consumers should be calling the shots, it’s often hard to tell who’s doing the fiddling and who’s doing the dancing.

      Politicians have found that with advertising they can influence/manipulate voter behavior the same way corporations manipulate consumer behavior. Corporations and corporate interests fund the political advertising, to put the politicians in debt to them. Etc. etc.

      That may be too cynical and it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story, since the whole story isn’t 100% corrupt. But sometimes it feels that way.

      Despite all that, I’m an optimist. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.


  8. Leigh says:

    I’m reading a really good book right now by Dan Butterworth entitled, Waiting For Rain: A Farmer’s Story. It is based on conversations the author had in the 1980s with a man who had been a farmer for most of his life. It offers some very interesting insights into some of what happened to the small American farm. Once farming became thought of as a modern business, things really deteriorated. It’s a heartbreak, but I think many Americans know something is wrong with the present system. Hence, the growing interest in homesteading.


    • Bill says:

      The growing interest in homesteading is very encouraging to me, as is the food movement generally. Even here in our community, which has largely been skeptical of our point of view, more and more people are coming around. One of my friends, who farms like we do, confidently told me recently that he is convinced that we’re winning.

      Sounds like a great book. I wish I’d had more of those kind of conversations with my grandfather. So much wisdom has been lost…


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