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God's Country
by Mark Smith In yet another affirmation of The Grand Traverse Area's undisputed claim to be "God's Country", Ford motor company chose to grace us with their presence on Wednesday (August 6th) in the filming of a TV commercial. After all, what better place to use as a backdrop for the simple-family-values-and-love-of-land ethic which Ford so earnestly desires to espouse?
Sign of the Times?
The film shot required the closing of M-72 to traffic for a good few hours, while cameramen waited for skies to clear. Still, we don't mind, do we? Eventually they got their shot: a huge 84-year-old farmhouse being towed down the road by a Ford truck, filmed through a super long lens, with a bogusly overloaded, but down-home blue family vehicle (presumably a Ford) leading the procession. Quaint, what? And won't we feel somehow vindicated, connected, and gosh, even happy when we see the commercial on TV (3 seconds worth), knowing that they chose us, little ol' Northwest Lower Michigan, to be included in the footage.

The home in question, owned by Sherwood and Rose Marie Anderson, has been moved to the remaining three acres of an eighty acre parcel, sold earlier to the Prevo/Schmuckal group. What used to be farmland will now be a massive development, if the Prevo/Schmuckal people get their way, and of course they probably will. All that's required is a zoning change. And in a few short months we can look forward to seeing the growth of Chum's Corners number two, right here in Leelanau County, with a cute, catchy name like Windmill Outlet. Ah, but it's grand to live in God's Country.

According to the "Record Eagle" the producer of the commercial, Bob Cagliero said that our area was chosen for its scenic beauty and because Director Jim Gartner lives in the area. "Cagliero said the campaign is designed to show a more human side of the company's products by going beyond more typical road shots to show how people interact with their cars during their daily lives." Yadyadaya. Fill in the blank with even yet more syrupy platitudes you wish to supply. I can hardly wait to see how Cagliero and Gartner have appropriated other local scenic landscapes they can capture on film, for the inclusion in this massively fraudulent representation of The Good Life.

Meanwhile, strangely enough, Ford Motor Co. Chairman Alex Trotman, speaking at the Grand Traverse Resort on Wednesday, went out of his way to sow seeds of gloom and doom on the current U.S. economic boom. Trotman predicts that the current economic good times could be "torpedoed" if the government signs a global warming treaty. "Our industry has fought too long and too hard to allow our success to be swept away on a tide of suspect science," said Trotman. Yes, better to trust those other scientists, Mr. Trotman, the ones hired by Ford, the ones who so effectively shift the center of discourse, making it seem that global warming is "just a theory", like evolution or, say the presence of nicotine in cigarettes. Just a theory, that's all, so, if that's all there is to a meltdown, then let's keep dancing. Let's break out the booze, and have, a ballllll... if that's alllllllll there is.

Then, in what must go down as one of the biggest mass droppings of jaws in G.T. Resort history (I wish), Trotman speculated that the Clinton administration's stand on air pollution might have more to do with politics than science, since Al Gore "considers global warming a fact." In other words, since Gore believes the 99.9% of scientists who have documented massive climate changes, his stance is tainted by politics. Why didn't ONE of those reporters present ask whether The Ford Motor Company's stand on air pollution might have more to do with greed than science? Where's the so-called liberal media when you need it?

Ford, and all the other captains of industry, hire the kind of research they want. "The [science] skeptics assert flatly that their science is untainted by funding. Nevertheless, in this persistent and well-funded campaign of denial they have become interchangeable ornaments on the hood of a high-powered engine of disinformation. Their dissenting opinions are amplified beyond all proportion through the media while the concerns of the dominant majority of the world's scientific establishment are marginalized. By keeping the discussion focused on whether there is a problem in the first place, they have effectively silenced the debate over what to do about it." ("The Heat is On", by Ross Gelbspan). Trotman, and his ilk, can afford to hire rogue skeptical scientists and beef them up with publicity, but the fact of the matter is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, consisting of 2,500 climate scientists, some of them Nobel Prize winners, have unequivocally and unambiguously issued a warning on the effects of the change which is already upon us.

Ladies and gentlemen, I implore you! Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, but in this case, the denial is all about greed for more money, and we're all implicated, whether we like it or not. At the corner of Bugai Road and M-72 stands a monument to the belief in the future, majestic and beautiful in its simplicity. The massive windmill turns to face the wind, and every revolution of its blades speaks to a sustainable future, a future less dominated by greed and reliance on fossil fuels. People actually pay extra to use the windmill-generated electricity, because they believe it is an investment in our long term existence. Ah, you know. Tree-huggers! As the eighty-four year old farmhouse was being slowly towed past this monument to foresight and selflessness, did anyone stop to think of the irony of the situation?

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