This is the kind of message that made Mike Rowe famous.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that aired Friday, the former host of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” and CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” hit again on the theme that Americans have lost faith in the intrinsic value of working for a living.
And he knew just where to put the blame for it.
The popular culture of 21st century America, Rowe said, is putting a premium on the compensation workers get, while missing the point that a job itself has value — or “Horatio Alger stuff” he called it.
“I think we have identified work as the proximate cause of our dissatisfaction. And I think you don’t have to look far to find endless examples,” Rowe told Carlson.
“Look, the best-selling books right now in the self-help section and in general claim to have the solution for how you can work less. Most of the commercials on TV ask a tacit question, you know, how could you be happier? And the answer, of course, is retire a little sooner or work 35 instead of 40 hours.”
For the eight years of the Obama administration that was especially true — with a virtually moribund economy and a federal government that seemed bent on fattening the rolls of Americans on food stamps.
But it wasn’t just a Democrat administration. Rowe blasted the media for making Americans more work-averse, too — using lies to make the country more flat-out lazy.
“The TV shows that are typically valued tend to embrace notions of short-cuts,” he told Carlson.
“In 1,000 different ways, I believe, as a society, we’ve made the case that the enemy of your happiness is your damn job. And if you could only have less of that, all these other things, in some perverse, zero-sum game, would equal out and you would smile more.”
Check out the interview here:
Of course, being all smiles isn’t the primary purpose of work for most Americans. Bringing home enough money to pay the bills, put food on the table and get the kids through school is the main reason most people do their jobs.
Rowe is realistic enough to understand that, of course. A guy who built a career partly by chronicling the people in this country who do difficult jobs — and making fools out of liberal elitists who don’t understand the term “hard work” — can’t help but be a realist.
But he’s seen something more, too.
“If there is one enduring lesson from ‘Dirty Jobs,’ it’s the fact that those people as a group are having a better time and were more connected to their work than the vast majority of people I know who make great white collar livings,” he said.
“It’s just an inconvenient truth, if you will pardon the bromide, but it’s out there and there is a lot of hope in it.”
He’s right about that. Because Americans are realists too.
After the eight years of Barack Obama, the Trump presidency is bringing soaring job opportunities back to the United States as well as a humming stock market.
The media might be determined to reinforce a liberal image of a helpless individual, but in a Make America Great America era, Rowe’s faith in hard work should be easier to spread.
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