My General Analysis of Mike’s Mission

From the MRW Water Cooler

Q: You are absolutely right about the problem of work in the country, but looking at it straight, it is coming from a well-off prime-time stud who has the voice and charisma for T.V. – Jester

Hi Jester,

If I had a tee shirt company, I just might roll out a series of “Well Off, Prime Time Stud” just for grins. It has a ring to it…

I can’t think of a way to do it at this point, but you have definitely done well so far–that is IDENTIFYING WITH THE GROUP YOU ARE SUPPORTING.”

To be clear, the people I’m “supporting” are the people who participate in AND benefit from a country of skilled tradesmen. Separating the “collars” has proven to be bad for both blue and white, and I would never presume to speak on the behalf of either.

I love what you are trying to do and your show is great, I’m not trying to bash, but here is how I partially see it: it is just you there on the screen most of the time. All those other people who are doing those jobs for a living are blurs of color in my eyes because the show features YOU.

Originally, Dirty Jobs was called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It.” The focus was on the “somebody” – not me. I was lucky to sell that concept into a local market. However, I failed at getting it on national television. Dirty Jobs was the closest I could get.

You are the face and the personality of the show and now you are the personality of the grass-roots movement. You need more focus on SPECIFIC people or jobs or sectors of the work population because all I see is a T.V. character going from job to job and giving some blue-collar workers T.V. exposure. Sure there is more than that going on, but you need to make that more explicit in your show. This site certainly helps with that though.

If I could, I would. I’m here, because I failed there. (At least, to the extent that I would like to succeed in making the people I visit more dominate.)

As a side note to some of your commentary on your opening video: you mentioned silicon valley–a technological boom right now. Education is necessary for things like that to happen: engineering, physics, medicine, etc. But this is a dual relationship–the technology exists but the labor needs to be their too to incorporate into the infrastructure of society. You might want to mention that not only does the country need the labor, but with the labor, we can accomplish not only the infrastructural advances of foreign countries (mag-lev trains, high-efficient solar energy, green sky-rises, water purification plants running from off shore winds, etc). I have seen all of these on the discovery channel and they are useless to us if they can’t get BUILT. Not only do laborers need to be there to do the labor, but they need to have the “know-how” to get things done. Moreover, they need the education to not only understand their work, but even to IMPROVE their trade, make advances, and invent new things in their line of work. That is how history has progresses thus far and that is how it should continue instead of the present dichotomy between inventors and laborers.

Excellent point. The tension that I see most often, and plan to address in more detail later, is that which arises between “Innovation” and “Imitation.” The former is sexier than the later, so companies and individuals strive to be seen as “Innovators.” Yet, without master “Imitators” to mass produce the great notions, everything from the automobile to the i-phone would be nothing but thoughts and ideas. And maybe a few prototypes. Elevating one over the other has led to a colossal imbalance, and a host of problems.

Take this movement PAST prime-time. This website is a start but not enough to reach everyone that you need to contact for a truly successful movement. I don’t know if it would help, but find a politician who cares enough to push this in Washington.

Working on it. Stand by.

This problem is far more than the general disgust in actual dirty work. Take any slightly educated, mature adult who knows something about how a country is maintained and they can tell you the importance of labor. People get it that labor is important, but it is the stigma that it carries with it because of the stereotype that laborers are uneducated. Some are and some aren’t. But it is the same stigma that was working in medieval Europe: peasants and nobility. White collar and Blue collar. Who usually makes more money? Who has better job security? It is the stigma that is so hard to break. It honestly goes back to the beginning of slavery in history to when menial tasks were given to the slaves. It is the white collar parents giving preference to white collar work over real labor. It is those notions being passed down to children. Sociologically, it is how children are socialized into society–how they are taught to think about things in the world. THAT is what you need to reverse, but I don’t know how you can do it.


The bad news, is that no one can single-handedly correct a problem that profound. The worse news, is that no movement can do it either. But the good news, sort of, is that we don’t have to. That kind of thinking – the belief that our kids are somehow destined for a “better” life than ours, is just mathematically unsustainable, and ultimately impossible. The illusion that white collar jobs can exist apart from blue collar jobs is just that – an illusion. Adherents to that way of thinking will be disabused of their beliefs sooner or later. It simply doesn’t work long term. Today’s headlines make that pretty clear, in my opinion. The real goal of this site is far simpler. It’s to build a place that makes a case for Skilled Labor. A place that celebrates and encourages that path as an option for someone trying to figure out the rest of their life. A mont from now, things are going to look different here. But the activity so far, with no press or promotion, is stunning, and enough to convince me that people are ready to have this conversation. Thanks Jester, for keeping it going.


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