Mike Rowe, creator of the TV show “Dirty Jobs,” testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on the de-skilling of America, and the way in which skilled manual labor has been undervalued and derided in the USA to its detriment:
A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor who was unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason was telling. It wasn’t a lack of funds. It wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.
In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of “higher education” to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled “alternative.” Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as “vocational consolation prizes,” best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.
In a hundred different ways, we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a “good job” into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber — if you can find one — is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.
I came here today because guys like my grandfather are no less important to civilized life than they were 50 years ago. Maybe they’re in short supply because we don’t acknowledge them they way we used to. We leave our check on the kitchen counter, and hope the work gets done. That needs to change.
Classy guy, Mike Rowe. I totally agree with what he is saying and I’m glad there is someone intelligent and visible that is saying it. College isn’t for everyone and we should stop forcing ourselves to believe that. Vocational schools are a vital part of our country’s infrastructure and when we marginalize those opportunities, we find ourselves in a bad situation, quickly getting worse.
I hope someone in that room slow-clapped Mike Rowe at the end of his testimony because that’s what I would have done.
while i lived and visited overseas i noticed gardeners. painters. construction workers. plumbers. movers. electricians. mechanics. the attitudes overseas opposed to the attitudes here in the states. it’s as though they haven’t forgotten what we have. they still know these jobs are no less important. they require just as much hard work. even more so. manual labor. blood and sweat. a painter on his ladder with a bucket and a brush, careful with detailed trimwork. overhearing the gardener singing to the patch of pansies in the backyard. there is no shame in a job well done. there should be pride in skill. idk. mike rowe put it so well. read what he said if you haven’t already.
An odd little derringer style pistol made by Mossberg in the 1920’s. Chambered in .22 LR it had a rotating firing pin so you couldn’t actually ever fire all four barrels at once. I’m not sure why they called it the Brownie though, but it’s small enough to fit in the palm of your hand like the pastry I guess. Average price nowadays is around $200 or so, but depending on condition it can be worth a little more.