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Newsweek: I知 Sick of Your Dirty Job

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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:56 AM
Original message
Newsweek: I知 Sick of Your Dirty Job
I知 Sick of Your Dirty Job
Joshua Alston
NEWSWEEK
Jul 19, 2008

From "Dirty Jobs" to "Deadliest Catch," "Ax Men" to "Ice Road Truckers," the airwaves are overrun by TV shows about people er, men with dangerous, physical, soot-collar jobs. If people want to come home from a hard day's work and watch other people put in a hard day's work, more power to them these shows attract tons of viewers. What's annoying is how they suggest there's a fascinating character study happening beneath the surface. What makes someone do this for a living? They seem to ask. We've got a theory: money, and lots of it. Want to see a really dangerous job? How about a woman working for minimum wage at a big-box retail store who can't afford health insurance? Marvel as she scans groceries, aggravating the carpal tunnel for which she can't go to a doctor. It might not be as visually compelling a show, but it would certainly be more relevant.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/147783

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truebrit71 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. Sort of misses the point don't you think?
Not sure how many people get drowned or die of hypothermia working at Wally-world...carpal tunnel syndrome or not...
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. you missed the point though
those dead or injured people don't count. They are only men, after all.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
30. actually, he didn't hit the point for me. what people do is interesting
and as compelling as the dumbass board room shows and bullshit that people put on the air all the time. Watching real people doing real work is a good thing. They also have injuries that they work through because they have to and live lives without insurance too. My father was a jippo logger in Oregon during the 70's. I cannot tell you how many times he went to work limping. Work is honorable and its damned time that blue collar people got some press about the jobs they do that would shut down this country in seconds if they didn't do them.

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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:12 PM
Response to Reply #30
37. not me either, but for Alston sitting at his desk job
they are apparently all so well paid that it does not matter if they get hurt or killed. It's not like they are somebody who counts, like a single mom or even a non-single woman with no kids.

This song is from the 1980s though, and kinda singles out the stereotypes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38b3RVg7Jpo&feature=rela...
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. No, I think the author nailed it. I agree 100 %
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tridim Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
2. "Dirty Jobs" and "Deadliest Catch" were fun for one season IMO
Because they're both one-season type shows.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. good thing there are no men working at big box retail stores
and carpal tunnel is so much worse than black lung. Those lucky coal miners. :eyes:

and I have never seen any of those shows, but I don't have cable yet either.
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. they found something that worked and instead of just going with the1 or 2 shows
they're way over doing it---as usual. I watched the first season of American Idol and then the novelty wore off, same with Survivor and countless other shows, fine for one season and then yawn.
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Lance_Boyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
5. I'm sick of your insipid magazine, Mr. Alston. n/t

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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
28. I call it Snoozeweek.
They take stories that should be really interesting, and somehow manage to make them tedious and boring.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. The dignity of work
I have to interject that "Dirty Jobs" is different from the other three listed. The "Dirty Jobs" aren't dangerous for the most part, just plain dirty. People doing them don't get paid a lot higher than other jobs, if anything, they are minimum wage, especially if it involves cleaning out a piece of equipment.

As Mike mentions in the shows, these are jobs that need to be done, and in his way, he is thanking these people for doing a job that they rarely get thanks for. If there was a "dirty jobs" internship that each corporate executive had to finish before he could climb to the next rung on the corporate ladder, maybe then there wouldn't be such a discrepancy in the wages at the top and at the bottom.
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TwilightGardener Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. I agree on the REAL "Dirty Jobs"--I like Mike Rowe, and how respectful
he (usually) is with the folks that do those unglamorous things--but then, I have held several dirty and/or dangerous jobs myself, so I feel like he's celebrating folks like me.
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lolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #8
22. Yeah, I always liked Rowe
Even when he was on QVC hawking jewelry. He always looked a bit out-of-place there. More in his element now.

But I think the issue here is that we've made a national pasttime out of valorizing Real He-Men, but this valorization devalues people who perform less macho jobs. And I suspect that statistics will show that going without health insurance is actually quite dangerous in the sense that you and your family are much more likely to die from chronic or untreated diseases.
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petgoat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. I suspect that a "dirty jobs internship" would just increase the Exec's' sense of entitlement .
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 01:18 PM by petgoat
The System tried to do that to me, tried to turn me Republican.
It almost worked, too. I would have voted for McCain in 2000.

Somebody should write a book about the techniques that were
used in the workplace to turn a generation of altruistic hippies
into selfish suburbanites. Surely I'm not the only one who got
the treatment.

Thank you George W. Bush! You saved me from my personal
preoccupation!
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. It's called the "owner's manual"
For a Volvo or a Lexus or any SUV for that matter. People who only use cars and never get out and walk and see their neighbors, they are the ones who have forgotten that other people exist in the world.
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petgoat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #26
43. No, I'm not talking about mere bribery. nt
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. I find the ass kissing it takes to make it to the top in the corporate world
a real dirty job.
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michreject Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #7
21. Did you see the one about the garbage man in Chinatown?
Yikes! Let me repeat that......Yikes!

Has to work midnights and the garbage is not put into cans. Has to pile it all on a piece of burlap, fold it to a carry pouch and hump it to the truck. Whatever that guy makes, it's not enough.
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w8liftinglady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
32. I like "Dirty Jobs",too...and I like his respect for those who do them
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #7
48. Another in agreement on "Dirty Jobs."
It's fascinating to see the wide range of jobs portrayed, some dangerous, some boring, some stinky. What comes through every time is that people are proud of the work they're doing. How lucrative the jobs are is rarely evident. Many do look like minimum wage or slightly better sorts of jobs.

It would be nice to see portrayals of other everyday jobs, but I suspect the viewing public would find it boring to watch someone working in the hospital laundry, cleaning motel rooms, cashiering at a busy supermarket or busing tables at big chain restaurant in the mall.
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cobalt1999 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
9. Newsweek is part of the MSM.
If Joshua Alston wants more coverage of women working at big box retail stores, then print more stories of women working at big box retail stores.

How many stories in the last year has Newsweek run?
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:36 PM
Response to Original message
11. How 'bout the guy behind the register at the "cash only" gas station?
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Alter Ego Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
12. Deadliest Catch is still kinda awesome ok
so screw all y'all

Wow, this is my 1000th post!
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Dukkha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
13. did it ever occur to him
to simply turn.it.off!
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 12:55 PM
Response to Original message
16. I agree with the author about the "character study"
It seems so contrived, the conflict, the raw emotions.

I like to watch those shows, along with How It's Made, How Do They Do That, Holmes on Homes because they are an interesting insight into other people's work experience.

But please, I just want to watch you build the bike; I can do without the nasty temper.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:04 PM
Response to Original message
17. I like these shows
They emphasize the blue collar, hardworking (mostly men it's true) people in these interesting, and dangerous jobs.

It also emphasizes that while men have many advantages in society, they also have many risks- and these dangerous jobs show that.

In general men die younger, are more likely to die from homicide, are more likely to be imprisoned, are more likely to be committed to a mental institution, are more likely to die at worketc. these shows cover the dangerous jobs aspects.

It's interesting watching the REAL people working at hard labor vs. most of tv which is sitcoms and dramas that present a largely unrealistic view of the workplace, or even the "time porn" like Friends, where yuppies basically sit around all day, drink coffee, and make sex jokes.

There's also a walter mitty aspect. When you think of all those commuters, who drive in gridlock to get to some cubicle, and then shuffle papers and get demeaned by a boss etc. I'm sure there's a certain wistfulness on the part of many men who watch these shows ... like (man, I could do that. Screw this 9 to 5 office crap).





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Indenturedebtor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. rec your post if I could ;) n/t
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. Thanks
Edited on Wed Jul-23-08 01:11 PM by aspergris
Office work is not for me. Although, my wife wouldn't let me crab if I wanted to.

Although, she went and climbed Mt St Helens last week, so FAIR IS FAIR :)

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Indenturedebtor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Lol my wife wants us to join the peace corps and go to Africa
I'd settle for an online business and living in Thailand hehe. We're working on it ;)
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Exactly right
I have a job that is sometimes featured in movies and tv. Some people think it is exciting and from time to time it is. However, I have also really worked for a living when I was younger. I did stupid dangerous stuff for $12.45 an hour (which was good in 1987). That to me seems more like real work than what I do now. I sit on my ass all day and only sometimes do I see a result. Today I got a bit of good news that means a some money for me - more money than I earned in a year back then. Now it just goes in the bank and gets spent on a mortgage and shoes for my wife. Payday then was payday. Cold beer and laughs with my buddies at the bar.

I watch those shoes. They show work that has dignity. I wish I could do those things. Sigh.
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roguevalley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #23
31. these jobs also allow a certain amount of freedom and are not
dictated by a dumbass boss and a computer screen. I would never crab fish in the bristol bay. my nephew and best friend did. all kudos to them, I tell you. one boo boo and you are dead. same with the ice road.
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. I have never watched any of those
Perhaps the ice truckers, after our visit to Alaska.

So I am sitting here bemused by the reactions. On the one hand, most are critical of the piece, on the other hand, it generated many recommendations which, I think, mean that they agree with that POV.
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Snarkturian Clone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:15 PM
Response to Original message
20. This author has obviously run out of things to whine about NT
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Ganja Ninja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
24. I was saying this to a friend of mine the other day.
I already have a shitty job. Why would I want to sit and watch someone else's shitty job?

How about a show where you take an unemployed American over to China or India and let them meet the person that is working their old job.
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. Morgan Spurlock did that on a segment of "30 Days" n/t
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Tracer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
27. I completely agree that Mike Rowe is respectful ...
... of the people doing the "Dirty Jobs".

When he jokes around, it is ALWAYS at his own expense.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #27
33. Mike Rowe is a real man
of the best variety.

Ditto Holmes on Homes.

Lovely guys, both of them. :D
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MindPilot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #33
40. Mike Holmes is the BEST!
And some of those shows just leave me in tears...I don't know how he does it.

I would really like to see the spin-off where a team of investigators go after the shoddy contractors and negligent inspectors 60-Minutes style.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
35. Would I like to see more women featured in
these natural reality shows?

Of course. But There's no reason to put down the Deadliest Catch or Dirty Jobs guys (some of whom are women) too. What they do is valuable and necessary too.

I say "natural" reality shows to differentiate between these types of jobs where there is inherit conflict or danger and the "reality" shows where the conflict has to be completely contrived, like "Apprentice."
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Kansas Wyatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
36. Dumbest fucking shows the History Channel ever put on.
Sorry, my tv is usually stuck on the History Channel, but these stupid shows are driving me nuts. They remind me too much of being at work, so why in the Hell would I watch them? If I wanted to be reminded of being at work, then I'll go to work.

Who the Hell is programming this crap and why are people so thrilled with it?
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
38. I wonder if Joshua Alston ever swung a hammer in his life
I lied. I'm not wondering.

I'd bet my teeth he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the directions were written on the heel.
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #38
39. I agree
he sounds very disrepectful to people who have physically demanding jobs.
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valerief Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
41. I thought what Congress generally does is considered a dirty job.
All that money-shoveling to the wealthy and nose-thumbing to the poor. If that isn't a dirty job, I don't know what is.
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TrogL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:27 PM
Response to Original message
42. Would they like my job instead? It's nice and clean
I work in a server room. It has to be kept practically antiseptically clean. One day I had a bit of dirt on my shoes (tracked in from the unpaved parking lot) and had five managers screaming at me.

One of my servers goes down, thousands of people are sitting twiddling their thumbs.

I've long since lost my sanity and my hair (from literally pulling it out). I've ground my teeth down to stubs. I get daily migraines and nightly "data nightmares" (eg. "oops, I forgot to change the tapes and every server in the building just blew up").

I've had kids. A little shit doesn't scare me.
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Edweird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:08 PM
Response to Original message
44. Joshua Alston doesn't like certain shows. WAHHHH!
Watch something else. Or nothing at all. I don't care.
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neverforget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:30 PM
Response to Original message
45. I love Deadliest Catch! I worked on the processer M/V Stellar Sea for 3 months
in 1995 (January to March) for opilio crab and cod seasons. I met some really cool people, had an awesome adventure while I got to see parts of Alaska that I will probably never see again. The work was mundane and boring and nothing like the crab boats which are extremely dangerous. During that crab season, the Bering Sea claimed the crab boat Northwest Mariner. All 6 crew members were lost.
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 08:05 PM
Response to Original message
46. I am sick of it too.
The Discovery Channel is no longer about nature and science but instead just disgusting "reality" shows. They run that Deadliest Catch every night it seems. Tonight in fact they are showing nothing but that show.
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4_TN_TITANS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
47. Leave Mike Rowe alone!
My wife and daughters love his show, and I've taken it a step further and begun buying direct from some of the mom & pop businesses he visits. Crowley Cheese and Carolina Rice are small American businesses that make a far superior product than what you find in the stores. I learn about and support the farmers and small businesses I've found from watching Dirty Jobs.
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