Allo, guvnah? Permission to speak, guvnah?
The Economist advises us that blue-collar men in developed countries are doing poorly: unemployed, socially withdrawn, unmarried, and unable to start families or stay involved with families they have already started. In this case, it neglects to mention that they’re also severely undersexed; this is unlikely to be a function of prudishness and quite likely to be a function of not wanting to disrupt an otherwise smooth and pat narrative.
The solution, we’re told, is for men to develop MOAR SKILZ. Apparently this includes learning how to tolerate being a hairdresser when one really wants to do heavy labor of a sort traditionally respected for its manliness. The Economist also mentions nursing as an option that blue-collar men are too hesitant to consider, a really cool story for those who have never had an ear to the ground in the large part of California where the nursing programs have been overrun by guys laid off from the building trades around Sacramento. In 2009, I was told that the wait lists for community college nursing programs in Sacramento were as long as five years, so, yeah, dude, you’re totally getting into a nursing program because #RETRAINING.
The Economist is the very model of the proper British newspaper. It’s run by good Oxbridge liberals (the classical kind) who see that you’ve read your Smith and your Friedman, old boy. Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, except for the parts of it that were won by “Our Highlanders,” or perhaps by low-class Englishmen, but bugger their lot, mate. The proper posh Englishman is a gentleman to his inferiors. Would the real Mrs. Patmore and Mr. Carson agree? One doesn’t give a shit. Not having both obtained and implemented MOAR SKILZ for career success, I am one of the inferiors. The Englishman, you see, will gladly treat the American as his equal in rude but morally restrained wit, but only if the American is of a certain class. I slept in my car just over a week ago, so I am of a certain different class. Faced with those who are less successful or, depending on ethnic particulars, less well-bred, the proper Englishman of the former certain class has difficulty navigating the fuzzy but discernible line between sharp English wit and, say, truly cruel and predatory jokes about the Bantus or the Irish. His partner in bigotry in the lower classes tends merely to lash out in a string of unintelligible and occasionally coherent obscenities. This is obnoxious, but it’s too blatant to slip through the cracks; the difference here is roughly the difference between high-functioning and low-functioning psychopaths, and as I’ve intoned before, by God do everything you can to stick with the low-functioning kind, who will surely show their hand before long and discredit themselves.
So how does the leading English newspaper, or whatever the fuck it fancies itself, tip the high hat to lesser men of the Commonwealth and the lost Colonies? “The Weaker Sex: Blue-collar men in rich countries are in trouble. They must learn to adapt.” Hear that? We must learn to adapt. It’s all about that internal locus of control. It has nothing to do with immoral, predatory societies that chew up their naturally productive members and spit us out like a mouthful of rancid Salisbury steak. It’s that we aren’t educable and tractable enough, unlike the ladies. It’s like, maybe the schools should do stuff for us to make education less hellish for fidgety little boys, but the trouble can’t really have anything to do with blue-collar labor being treated like shit and paid accordingly, because #MARKETS, and the jobs are in the #ServiceIndustry.
Having worked extensively in farm jobs that are blue-collar at best, I have to wonder what planet these posh motherfuckers call home. Who the hell do they suppose grows their food? Who makes the complicated, seat-of-the-pants decisions about how to repair a broken-down combine harvester at two in the morning when the harvest is already running hours behind schedule? Hint: it ain’t a robot, old boy. Who picks the strawberries? The raspberries? The lettuce?
These mandarins keep intoning that all the manual jobs are going to be given to robots quite nigh. They eat out at restaurants. Have they ever paid thirty seconds’ attention to how the fuck a restaurant is run? “Herro, I’m Roomba. I’rl be taking care of you today. Drinks, sir and/or madam?” I watched a Mexican cook in Mountain View make from scratch and bake half a dozen pizzas within twenty-five minutes this afternoon. Dude was fast and accurate. He probably has over fifteen thousand hours’ industry experience. I’d be amazed if he hasn’t spent over a thousand hours making pizzas.
Nobody is about to automate his job. Top computer scientists can’t for the life of them program a robot to fold laundry.
This concern about the loss of jobs to automation has never been about the disappearance of the need for heavy manual labor, and it never will be about the disappearance of this need. It’s really about the restructuring of the economy to eliminate well-paid menial jobs and replace them with poorly-paid menial jobs. A bespoke pizza maker isn’t exactly a wanker: he has to make dough from scratch, cut and spread toppings, and tend an oven. This is an inherently productive job. Classifying it as a “service industry” job equivalent to cold-calling n00bs with offers to buy into boiler room scams is nuts.
Look around the Peninsula, though, and it’s clear that everyone who matters expects Precious Snowflake to go either into a profession or into some high-end scam. Mexicans and their children are functionally a parallel society, specifically, the one that keeps the wheels attached to the white man’s wankery bus. Nobody who matters thinks of bespoke pizza making as a production job, roughly equivalent to menial factory work but not paid as well because good bougies feel contempt for the working man these days. Bougie needs his bespoke foods, however, so these jobs aren’t going anywhere. Neither are the Mexicans who hold down this venerable fort.
My cousin, the one who was down-to-earth before his net worth and self-worth were inflated beyond recognition by the San Francisco tech industry, apparently just lost a bundle in the bum stock of the goofy startup where he was hired as vice president of marketing. Good for him. He could use an attitude adjustment, and an altitude adjustment. He isn’t about to become destitute; he’s just whining most whitely about getting wiped out of a bullshit investment that he acquired by hiring on at a bullshit company. He and his wife and kids still have a ranch house in Pacifica.
I still have a Civic. 6MAD685 should be back at the Donner Pass rest area on the night shift (on the night shift) before long. If I look awake, come say hi.