Fred McKissack

By Contributor on February 04, 2014

By Fred McKissack

Conservatives shouldn't be having a fit over Coca-Cola's Super Bowl ad.

Conservative commentators and bloggers would have you believe that the Coca-Cola Co. is spitting on the graves of our forefathers and plotting to burn down American civilization.

The ad is called "It's beautiful," and it features "America the Beautiful" being sung in different languages, as images of modern America flicker by.

The Coca-Cola Co. and its creative partner, Weiden+Kennedy, have managed to unhinge conservatives who see a plot.

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By Contributor on November 19, 2013

By Fred McKissack

Let's look at the NFL controversy involving Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, and what it tells us about the perceptions of race in America.

Consider the lives of the two men involved in this ordeal.

One player is an enforcer with a troubled past. Picked on as a child for his weight, the boy was schooled to go fist first. One of his coaches at Nebraska went so far as to say that he admired the kid's "spunk." Remember that word.

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By Contributor on October 22, 2013

As if the life of Adrian Peterson couldn't get any worse, the Minnesota Viking is being ridiculed for having several children out of wedlock. Shaming is a truly vulgar American activity, but something that should be tempered by the fact that his 2-year-old son, whose existence he only recently found out, is dead.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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