Experience - Society - Thank You Sir May I Have Another

I Made This!

I’ve got to say helping out with planting season gives one quite a bit of time riding around in a tractor listening to AM radio? Don’t our tractors have FM? Yes, they do. The fact you thought of or asked that question means you know nothing of rural life. FM, especially on the radios in the tractors of 10+ years go, only comes in going one way. When you are going to spend the day driving half a mile in one direction, turning around and driving half a mile back, you don’t want to be punching radio buttons on each turn. Tractors are generally too rough riding for CD and no, you can’t wear ear buds. You need to be able to hear when something bad happens before it becomes a complete catastrophe.

This year I did something I’ve never done. While listening to a show on NPR I actually flipped it off. I’ve never done that. I always thought people who flipped off radio or television shows that obviously couldn’t see them were someone tiny of mind. Not this time, now I finally understand. A talk show host and guest were talking so far out their ass if they were standing in Berlin, Germany someone on State Street in Chicago, IL would have heard them just fine.

The show in question was 1A. You don’t have to take my word for it, you can follow this link to read about the episode then listen to it. Anyone who grew up blue collar will be completely offended a guest pushing a book called “White Working Class” could be on the show obviously knowing nothing about the working class. The host, Joshua Johnson, was equally clueless. The rest of the time during planting season I either turned the station or shut the radio off when 1A was coming on the air. I still haven’t sent WILL a plug nickel during this pledge drive pretty much because of that show.

Please allow me to offer a tiny bit of perspective. On th radio are 2 California Berkley types trying to talk about farmers and other blue collar workers. I grew up on a family farm. Yes, I have a college education. I actually went to 3 different institutions and was 2 classes and a thesis from my masters before I realized that masters wasn’t going to earn more money for me. I was then as I am now, and IT consultant. Your billing rate isn’t based on your education, it is based on what you’ve already done and how many there are competing against you. Routinely I return to the family farm to help with planting or harvest or both. I try to schedule contracts around times when I won’t be needed. It doesn’t always work out and the past few years helping with the farm has won out over adding to my retirement account.

Yes, I’ve chewed on this a long time before writing it. Check the date on that link. It just so deeply offended me I finally had to write at least some of it down. The excerpts, analysis and commentary simply got it wrong on all counts. It’s like they watched a few episodes of Fox News and decided that must be what the white working class thinks then the guest wrote a book and the host had them on. They got two fundamental things wrong:

  1. It’s just the working class, not the white working class.
  2. “I made this” is at the core of the working class.

A long time ago I wrote a post called “Does Anyone Else Remember When the Ghetto Was Universally Hated?” You can follow the link to the 1A show and read the excerpt from the book being pushed then go read the post I wrote to see just how wrong they got it. The thumbnail sketch for those unwilling to do the research is this:

For generations the ghetto was despised because there was no reason for able bodied mentally stable individuals to be there. Before elites started off-shoring every job they could get away with and importing visa workers to drive wages down, you could graduate high school and earn enough of a living to raise a family.

Cities from moderate size on up had multiple factories running 3 shifts per day. Construction trades as well as various truck driving jobs were always available. If you could speak even a tiny subset of the English language you could work.

This culture/mindset still exists even though elitists have removed the truth of it by shuttering factories and engaging in other financial fraud. Calling it financial fraud isn’t using too strong of a phrase. That whole “can’t make a profit building it in the U.S.” argument really wasn’t ever true.

In 2012, Toyota exported more than 124,000 vehicles from the U.S. to 23 countries, an increase of 45 percent compared to 2011.

Obviously Toyota figured it out and they came here from Japan.

The portion of the show where they started talking about Archie Bunker and that ilk of television really got my goat as well. That show never offended me and it wouldn’t have been on the air so long or loved by so many if it only appealed to elitists. Hell, I had relatives and neighbors who were Archie Bunker. We all enjoyed that show because we knew someone who was him. Stereotypes exist because so many people actually fit the type. I had a Jewish girlfriend tell me that and she was talking about her own family. Despite all of that her mom still wanted to adopt me.

At some point in the in the episode they got onto the discussion of “plumber’s butt.” I never figured out just when it turned from “mechanic’s butt” to “plumber’s butt.” As a child I had always heard it called “mechanic’s butt.” There were even female comedians doing routines saying that’s how they chose a new boyfriend when something was wrong with their car. If you were a shade tree mechanic and the sun moved it could produce a most inconvenient sun burn yet I never heard anyone talking about being embarrassed by it. For those that are, Duluth has had options for quite a while. Company work shirts have had long tails for a while and many mechanics simply switched to wearing coveralls. I’ve owned quite a few sets of coveralls over my life.

The fact elitists believe Fox News represents the working class seems to be the real reason they don’t understand any of us.

Don’t be an elitist. When you choose to write a book actually know what you are writing about.

It’s not the long monotonous hours, wages, or any of those things which drives the working class of all colors. It’s the pride of being able to point at something and tell others “I made this.” Just give Bob Seger’s “Making Thunderbirds” a spin and learn something. If Mr. Seger can’t teach you anything, maybe Julia Roberts can.

Roland Hughes is the president of Logikal Solutions, a business applications consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS platforms and Qt on Linux. Hughes serves as a lead consultant with over two decades of experience using computers and operating systems. With a degree in Computer Information Systems, the author's experience is focused on systems across a variety of diverse industries including heavy equipment manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, stock exchanges, tax accounting, and hardware value-added resellers, to name a few. Working throughout these industries has strengthened the author's unique skill set and given him a broad perspective on the role and value of technology in industry.

One comment on “I Made This!

  1. Excellent post and excellent point. Working class Americans (I am one of them), still make things! The video clip in the attached link came from a former employer. Had it not been for my tenure as a skilled laborer at Pineapple Sails, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate from University. My former employer – Kame Richards had a long term vision for taking care of his employees, customers, and a good old fashioned home grown, grass roots business:

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