So far I, myself, by name, have been recipient of no less than five issues of The Progressive Farmer. This mystifies me. First, I am not particularly progressive. Second, I am not prone to farming. Apparently, however, those little details do not preclude me from an unpaid subscription to The Progressive Farmer, much like being dead does not preclude one from voting in Chicago. In both cases, it seems like it should, but such is simply not the case. Either way, while I may be an unwitting subscriber, I cannot claim to be one of their readers.
Much of this is biological. Whenever I even happen to glance at the cover of The Progressive Farmer, I find myself afflicted with situational narcolepsy. Here’s a rundown of some actual teasers from the cover – stop me when I hit one you’d be interested in reading:
- Breaking Out the Plow
- Avoid Tractor Tire Flats
- What’s Next for Grain Elevators?
- Bug-Free Grain Storage
It’s like classical music for the eyes. For those looking for a periodical that won’t shock, surprise, awe, titillate, fascinate, inebriate, or otherwise compel, The Progressive Farmer just might be for you. They’d stock it in doctors’ offices, but when the nurse came out to call names, no one would be awake enough to respond.
There are, of course, a few article titles that seem to suggest the content will be interesting, but I’m not sure it’s for the reasons the authors would like. My favorite example of this can be found on the cover of the June/July issue, which admonishes me to “learn to think like a cow.” Apparently, that is supposed to be an inducement of some sort. Truth be told, I was never under the impression that a twelve-hundred pound, cud-snarfing, paddie-making herd animal had much by the way of cognitive processes, let alone enough to make one want to emulate them. Regardless, I haven’t read the article. I keep wondering if I’ll really find an entire article dedicated to the Tao of Cow or a campaign ad for either of the major political parties.
Close behind the fundamentals of bovine psychology is the May issue promising “Our Ultimate Guide to Hay,” which should be subtitled “How to Get People to Avoid Talking to You at Parties” or simply “Buzzkill.” Sadly, however, it is subtitled “Advice for Whether You’re Growing or Mowing, Buying or Selling.” Heck, why not “Advice for Your Subscriptions Department, which Is Sending this Magazine to an English Major Living in the ‘Burbs as Opposed to Progressive Farmers?” Perhaps I’m too direct.
Just to round off our top three Progressive Farticles (tee-hee, combine “farmer” with “article” and you get something that sorta sounds like “fart”), this year’s award for “Best Attempt to Create Drama when There Really Isn’t Any” goes to whomever authored “Is This the Cotton Gin’s Last Stand?” Alas, poor Eli, we hardly knew him. I’m sure it’s Pulitzer worthy, but I’m going to hold off for the Lifetime made-for-TV movie.
In conclusion, I’m a fan of Voltaire, but I won’t be cultivating any gardens in the near future let alone progressing as a farmer. Unless, of course, one counts my weed patch, which is the apple of my eye and the bane of my neighbors. Knee high by the fourth of July? To heck with that – I have things out there that were up to my waist by the fifth of April. I’ve no idea what they are, and I’m sure as shootin’ not going to eat them. But hey, if that’s all it takes to be a progressive farmer, I guess I’ll keep doing my part. And I’m going to start by voting for whichever presidential candidate is willing to give me the largest tax break for my weed patch/hobby farm.
Subsidies, my friends, that’s where it’s at. I just wish I knew who in the world was subsidizing this magazine.