One of the ads during the Super Bowl that got particular attention and praise was on with an audio track by Paul Harvey about farmers. Me, I couldn't watch it.
It has nothing to do with the sentiment, it has all to do with Paul Harvey, who I hated. To those who don't know him, Paul Harvey had a short, syndicated news show on radio that eventually sort of morphed into commentary. It lasted for something like 800 years. (He would end his broadcasts, "This is Paul Harvey. Good..." and then an overly dramatic pause, that got longer and more pretentiously-dramatic as the years went on, until he finished the thought with "...Day.")
The thing is Paul Harvey was as sanctimonious, far-far right a guy as you can imagine on radio (or perhaps earth), everything presented under the guise of "news" but it was largely propaganda. All under the rubric of "This is America and everything that I tell you about America is good, so you must love all of it. Except for all that liberal stuff, because they hate America." (That's sort of the perspective of the "farmer" piece. It's understandable why so many people found it touching, out of context. But in context, it was probably Paul Harvey telling you that these people are the "real" Americans, and all you people of the "other America," you're not. Never mind that Paul Harvey was based in Chicago, really big city with a lot of those Other Americans. Because he was based in Chicago and identified with the city, I was even all the more embarrassed by him.
This is my favorite Paul Harvey story. I learned it first from my dad probably 30-40 years ago. I always assumed it was true, but it's so strange, I didn't know. And then a few years ago, Keith Olbermann related the same story my dad had told me.
The Fermi Laboratory was based at the University of Chicago (where my dad went to college, which I also suspected was why the story impacted with him). It was one of the places they were developing the nuclear bomb, so -- as you can imagine -- it was under incredibly heavy security. For some reason -- probably because there was a Democratic Administration, and Paul Harvey hated Democrats and Big Government -- he got it into his mind that the security at Fermi Labs was really bad and a major security risk to the U.S., and he was going to prove it and embarrass the Democratic Administration. And so, one day he sneaked over to the University of Chicago, climbed over the fence -- and was immediately arrested.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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