And summer is over. Labor Day weekend, as is it's custom, escorts summer out as our children go back to school and we go back to work.
After a refreshing weekend at the shore where I took too much sun and bought too many new pairs of flip flops (oh come on...if you could get ElizaB's half price, you'd buy them too!) I returned home and to work and to the internet.
I was surprised to see what greeted me over on the dirty jobs board...it was a link...a link to a site Mike Rowe had set up...something called "mikeroweWORKS".
Of course I clicked on it.
Not quite sure what it is, though.
Oh, there was a 7 minute long video of Mike, standing in his dining room, beer on the table in the background, talking to the camera about the role of the modern day proletariat, vis a vis something or other, invoking images of Rosie the Riveter, talking about our crumbling infrastructure yadda yadda yadda....it's all stuff I've heard him say over and over again, from the Fast Company article to posts right there on the DJMB.
Now, I understand, in theory, what the man is attempting to do.
He wants to get the word out that there ARE indeed other opportunities out there besides college. There are careers that are good, albeit dirty. He wants to be, in effect, a public relations firm for the blue collar worker.
A noble cause, to be sure.
But...what, exactly IS mikeroweWORKS? HOW is he going to get opinions and ideals to change? What is his mission statement? What are the goals? What are the steps being taken to achieve these goals? Every successful campaign has a firm mission statement, with a clear and concise idea of the steps being taken to reach intermittent goals en route to the ultimate goal.
Now, everyone who knows me knows that I do, indeed, love Mike Rowe. He entertains me, and makes me smile. He's a thinking woman's sexy. So, with that said, I have a few things to say about Mike Rowe and his works:
Rosie the Riveter: UR DOIN' IT WRONG.
Mike chooses to use the image of Rosie as an icon of the working man, a champion calling men and women to careers in industry. Nice idea, but not exactly right. Rosie was WW2 propaganda designed to get women out of the home and into the factories during the war to keep the country going. They were there to replace the men who left the factories empty while they were off fighting in Europe and the Pacific theaters. Without the women taking up the gauntlet and keeping industry going so the country could survive and so supplies could continue to the military, our war effort could all have been for naught. THAT is who Rosie the Riveter is.
The Proletariat: Where are the Marx Brothers when you need them?
Mike chooses to use the term "modern day proletariat" to describe the blue collar worker. But...why? Why use such a negative word, Mike? A word that conjures up images of a dingy gray Cold War Soviet Union, where masses of people stand in line, hoping for a loaf of bread while Red Army guards stand watching? Why use a word so closely associated with Communism and the Iron Curtain? Is it because it's a big twenty-five cent word that makes you sound smart? Or do you not think that those you are speaking to and of will 'get' the negative connotation? I'll lend a hand. Here is the dictionary.com definition of proletariat: "The lower classes; beggars." Case, rested.
Our Crumbling Infrastructure: What Infrastructure?
Ok, this is where Mike really loses me. Is he saying that the infrastructure of our nation, which we all know IS crumbling, is crumbling because we lack the labor to maintain it? Because, if he is saying that, well, it's just not true. There is no shortage of manpower to restore and maintain things. What there IS a lack of are appropriations of funds by local, state and federal authorities in order TO maintain them. If a local government does not appropriate adequate funding for road maintenance, eventually those roads are going to fall apart. That bridge in Minnesota did not fall because there were no workers to repair and maintain it. The bridge in Minnesota fell because the authority charged with maintaining it did not appropriate adequate funding for it. This is the problem. Unemployment is high. People are out of work. People are skilled and willing to learn in order to earn a fair wage. Monies are not being earmarked to fix our roadways and bridges and our power grids. Monies are being funneled to special interests and pet projects instead. The only way Mike Rowe can change any of this is for him to change government by running for public office...in every town, county and state in this great nation of ours. Even TV's Mike Rowe can't do that.
I wish Mike and his works well. I hope he is able to reach whatever the goals of the endeavor are. Actually, I hope that eventually he is able to articulate clearly what those goals actually are. Only then will he be able to reach them!