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greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement

TEDCRED 50+

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Why is no farmer as famous as Tom Cruise?

I have a lot of affection/appreciation for moviemakers, actors, directors, crew. I really value movies and think they're important. However, I think food is even more important because you will live without movies, but without food you will die. Therefore, I wonder, why is no farmer as famous as Tom Cruise?

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    Mar 13 2013: Go shadow a farmer for say three days, 24-hours-a-day. Then re-submit your question. And another thing, survey pre-schoolers regarding Old Macdonald and Tom Cruise. I think Macdonald will win in that demographic.
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      Mar 13 2013: Do you remember "Mr. Greenjeans" as well?
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        Mar 13 2013: I do! And the first recollection I have of him is. . . BORING! :-(
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      Mar 17 2013: ed, you're trying to say farming is boring? Actually, a lot of moviemaking is pretty boring, just sitting in your trailer, memorizing your lines.
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        Mar 17 2013: True. But the public does not see Tom Cruise sitting in his trailer. They see him flying an F-15, or performing some mission impossible. Thus Tom is more famous and popular than Farmer Jones.
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          Mar 18 2013: nice. But I'm still unconvinced ed, we see people people such as business leaders become famous who are not doing as spectacular things as flying an F-15 or performing some mission impossible.

          wonder if fame revolves around doing something new, for example, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs became famous around computers, which are something new on planet earth. Is it possible that farmers rarely do anything new, only follow tried and true methods?
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        Mar 18 2013: RE: "nice. But I am still unconvinced. . . " Newness is irrelevant. People were acting before Tom Cruise came along. People have been running the mile for centuries. The bloke (whoever he is I'm sure he's pretty famous) who did it in under 4-minutes was doing something that had been done by tens-of-thousands before, he just did it in a fraction-of-a-second less. Tom is famous because many, many people want to see him ply his craft. Very, very few sane people want to watch a farmer do his thing. YAWN!
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          Mar 18 2013: Sorry, ed, still unconvinced. People want to see a very edited version of Tom doing his thing, as we've already agreed they would be bored if they had to see all the behind-the-scenes stuff such as the retakes, rehearsal, etc. But aren't there high points in a farmer's day, or career, that could be newsworthy? I certainly see stories in the paper about farming, "urban farming," and so on.

          Sounds like you wouldn't be into "urban farming," such as having a little vegetable garden and growing a little of your own food, because you would consider it boring. Or am I wrong on that?

          I love your point that acting is an ancient practice as well. Thanks for pointing that out.
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        Mar 18 2013: RE: "Sorry, ed, still unconvinced. . . "Ye Gads, Man! Farming is boring even when it is a 100% success. Have you ever wanted to see, or read about, "Great Moments in Farming?" . . . (yawn). Or, how about, "The Top 10 Greatest Tractor Drivers of all Time"? . . . (ZZZZzzzzz). Or, the ever-popular Hay Baling Hall of Fame"? Not exactly edge-of-your-seat action. I grow my own tomatoes and Armenian Cucumbers but I do not consider it a good idea to film the many activities involved to be shown in theaters across the nation. I appeal to your sense of logic and rationality sir. Go watch a farmer for a while. Then , when you awaken, abandon this debate. ;-}
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          Mar 18 2013: well, I certainly watch videos about farming on youtube. I usually don't leave my home city to watch movies, and the movies shown here are the more popular type. I could certainly see myself going to a movie on farming.

          What if you could talk in an interesting, innovative way about growing tomatoes and cucumbers? Then an audience would be interested?

          Feels like I'm irritating you, ed, but thus far I can't give up my question. Tell me again why the world mourned when Steve Jobs died, but the world has never mourned when a farmer died.

          At some point I should read about Eli Whitney. He's the closest I can think of to a famous farmer, but I don't know if he farmed or only invented farm machinery.

          Could it be that no farmer has gotten to the size where he touched the whole world, that most farmers are only feeding their local neighbors.
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        Mar 18 2013: RE: "Well I certainly watch. . . " No you are not irritating me. I find it interesting that you are puzzled as to why no one has become a world-famous celebrity based upon their farming ability. I think your tongue is in your cheek a bit on this one. You know that non-farmers--that is 96.7% of the population-- consider the topic of farming to be pretty-much void of the mystery, intrigue, romance, and high-tension excitement so plentiful in a Tom Cruise film. Someone is pulling my leg. Eli Whitney might have been a farmer, no one cares. What they do care about is that he invented the machine that allowed mass-production of clothes. The reason the whole world has never mourned the death of a farmer is that no farmer has ever done anything to make himself known to the whole world. Also, computer engineers die every day and the world doesn't notice. Job's death was significant to the world because he became mega-rich (which automatically brings fame) and co-founded the richest company in America +/-. Actors die every day too and the world pays no mind. To rise from anonymity to fame one must attract the attention of a nation, an act easier to accomplish as an actor than as a farmer. Do a BIng search for "Famous Farmers".
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          Mar 19 2013: Well, ed, let's say TED had existed 25 years ago, and I had posed the question, "Why is no chef as famous as Sylvester Stallone?," because 25 years ago there weren't celebrity chefs that I recall. Would you have said, "Because cooking is boring"? And yet today there are famous chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck. So things do change, perhaps it's in the presentation, they found a way to make cooking interesting, with competition and such. Wonder why things change?
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        Mar 19 2013: RE: "Well, ed, let's say TED. . . " If your point is that things could change and the general public could become intensely interested in paying money to watch Hollywood productions featuring all things farming, my answer is yes, it could happen (if it does happen I'm pretty sure there will be flying pigs on the farm). But until it does happen Tom Cruise is going to be more famous than any farmer could ever be based purely on his, or her, activities as a farmer. The OP asks, "Why is no farmer as famous as Tom Cruise?" Still my answer is because farming is b-o-r-i-n-g.
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          Mar 20 2013: yeah, I wonder if farming is so boring, ed. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles but then I got interested in dairy farming and I moved to a dairy farming community and tried for three years to get a job milking cows. Every weekend I would go where the dairy farms were and ask for work but never got hired. But I found just walking around there really interesting, seeing the cows, watching the work. I wonder how unusual I am, I do see that there is at least one whole TV cable channel devoted to things agricultural, so I think there is some interest.

          True that spectacular things happen in a Tom Cruise movie, but we the audience know they're all fake. So what is his fame based on?
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        Mar 20 2013: RE: "yeah, I wonder if farming. . . " Notice I didn't say there is no one on Earth who finds farming to be interesting. The question asks why no farmer is as famous as Tom Cruise. I hope you recall me saying it is because farm (yawn) ing is BORING. As for how unusual you are I cannot offer anything constructive on that. Be careful about judging things based upon whether there is a cable channel devoted to it. Upon what is Tom's fame based? I think it is a combination of him entertaining hundreds of millions of people using cinematic creations of electrifying, fantastic, fake, adventures, and of course his devotion to Scientology. :-)
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          Mar 25 2013: Are you saying farming is boring to the farmer himself? Or only to someone who might watch him do it?
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        Mar 25 2013: RE: "Are you saying farming is . . . " No. Farming is only boring as a source of mass audience entertainment. I am sure the average person who grows food finds it both challenging and rewarding. It is the only essential industry, but it is not a good way to become famous.
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          Mar 25 2013: edward, thanks for continuing to converse with me. I do want to make sure we are agreed on our terms. I did ask in the original question why no farmer is as famous as Tom Cruise. But I did not mean famous in the same way as Tom Cruise. It's possible that you're right, that farming is boring as a source of mass audience entertainment, entertainment being the key word here. But do you still not think a farmer could be extremely famous, for example a farmer could educate the world about farming and food and thus become famous, or come up with some innovative idea that increases food production and thus become famous. These might not be entertaining, but could they not lead to fame? If not, why not? My question is sincere, I think it's quite surprising that the average person can't name two or three famous farmers.
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        Mar 25 2013: RE: "edward, thanks for continuing . . " I do not think a farmer could become "extremely famous" by functioning as a farmer. Fame similar to Tom Cruise's could come if the farmer did something not normally associated with farming, like discovering the fountain of youth, or negotiating peace in the Middle East. No one can become famous for farming because FARMING IS BORING and will not produce multi-millions of dollars in ticket sales from people willing to pay to watch tilling, fertilizing, planting, harvesting, milking, slopping, etc.
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          Mar 25 2013: Yes, thanks, edward. In my mind it brings up another interesting question, which is, why are some things boring and others are not? Are we bored by things that don't seem to require much thought? Or by things we feel we could do ourselves if we had to? Or.....?

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