Sunday, March 4, 2012

Napoleon Dynamite Features FFA: Pros and Cons

I am not a TV watcher (unless it is football or hockey), but upon seeing the tweets from National FFA, I had to turn on my TV tonight to watch Napoleon Dynamite.  I survived the half hour show and wanted to share a few pros and cons based on my own perspective.

Let’s start with what made my skin boil:
  • Mocking the name with “Future Failures of America”
    • I wouldn't call former members like Jimmy Carter, Jordy Nelson, Rulon Gardner, Jim Davis, Zac Brown or Don Henly failures. 
  • The atrocious representation of the FFA jacket with its sleeves ripped off and unzipped
Now for what caused a little frustration:
  •  Mainly depicting the farmer aspect of FFA – sheep, pigs, horses
    • There are over 300 career areas in the agriculture, food and natural resources industry and agriculture connects to 23 million jobs in the United States.
  • The lack of proper official dress (i.e. wearing jeans)
    • Curious about how to properly dress in Official Dress, click here.
  • The medley of events held at once.  Sure, there might be Ag Olympics for that sort of thing but certainly not all of those events at once. 
    •   Let’s break it down to what Career DevelopmentEvents I could make connections to help promote some awareness about the competitive opportunities FFA offers: Agronomy, Creed Speaking, Dairy Cattle Evaluation, Environmental and Natural Resources, Horse Evaluation, Livestock Evaluation, Milk Quality and Products.
It is also important to look at the positives (or potential positives) that the show provided tonight.
  •  It’s National Agriculture Week so getting FFA out in the public eye is important. I know that there was talk on Facebook and Twitter about the episode.
  • When the FFA Jacket was improperly worn, Napoleon did express the fact that there were standards for official use of the FFA Jacket, including having it zipped to the top.
  • The FFA Creed was mentioned at both the beginning and the end. It is because I believe in the future of agriculture, that I am writing this blog tonight.
  • One of the lines near the end mentioned “That is what FFA is all about – friendship and loyalty.” 

As a former member, FFA advisor and FFA alumni, I can say that friendships are a true gift that being an FFA member has given me. It is out of loyalty to the FFA and what it means to me that I write this blog tonight. Although there was some stereotyping and some negative portrayals might have been derived from it, I think that some good has the potential to arise as well.

The question is, what are we doing as supporters of agriculture, agricultural education and FFA to help combat the stereotypes and help people realize that FFA provides students with the knowledge and skills for whatever career field they may enter?  How are we promoting the science, business and technology that today’s agriculture involves?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting article, and I think you brought up some great points about the positive affects of FFA. Too many people focused on the stereotyping, but Napoleon did mention that FFA was about friendship and loyalty, and that's the important thing.