Promised Land portrays Farmers as dupes

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I think the underlying premise of Matt Damon’s new fictional account on the impacts of fracing is insulting to farmers. Well its pretty insulting to oil and gas people too but other than my mom no one is going to feel sorry about that.

The premise is farmers are vulnerable people who like gullible senior citizens need to be protected from slick talking sales people who would sell their own Grandmother to make a dollar.

The other premise is that oil and gas people are little better than JR Ewing types , who bully and bribe their way to success without care for anything but money.

Enter the film’s protagonist. A clever ‘environmentalist’ with access to the internet figures out those rascally oil companies’ game out.

The solution is to protect naive farmers from making bad choices with their land. So the slick talking environmentalist works to sell the farmers on fighting the slick talking oil and gas land agent. The land agent then implausibly tries to bully farmers in America, with constitutionally protected property and gun rights, in to doing something with their land they don’t want to do.

The show tries to appeal to urbanites by telling them how clever they are compared to simple farmers who need to be protected from making their own choices. Better yet they are even made to feel cleverer than sophisticated rich oil companies who are so easily exposed by the internet armed environmentalist.

As Steve Forde said: fact checking a work of fiction like Promised Land would be like fact checking Batman. Nonetheless Promised Land throwing around allegations like an entire farm turning brown due to fracing is right out of the twittersphere. I get how it’s necessary for the film’s plot to hang together but it is no more real than the Batmobile.

We do business with dozens of farmers at Questerre. Believe me, I know enough not to try and bully a farmer. We find they are pretty on top of it. Farmers have access to the internet these days. Most of them are smart enough about the land and mechanical equipment not to need the internet to have their own opinion about drilling and fracing and its impacts. And they all know lawyers.

Farmers are good stewards of the land and portraying them like cartoons in Hollywood films without evidence is not respectful. Maybe having a little more respect for the knowledge and sophistication of independent business people like farmers is something we could all agree on.