Mike Rowe, a TV host, producer, actor and writer, famous for the show “Dirty Jobs,” was called a fraud this week by a left-leaning Facebook page. In response, Rowe left a full explanation in the comment section that put their criticism of him to shame.
Rowe’s comments gained 16,000 “likes” by midmorning Wednesday, compared to 4,000 for the original post.
“The Southern Gentleman,” a Facebook page with 71,000 followers, introduces itself as “Politely telling Trump fanatics where they can stick their bigoted opinions.” On Tuesday, the page author made a feeble attempt at humor by calling Rowe a fraud for his educational background.
“Mike Rowe is a fraud,” the Facebook page posted, along with a meme of Rowe.
“A man who studied opera and has a B.A. in communications perfectly happy to sh*t on everyone else with college degrees in humanities,” the meme caption read.
WARNING: The following social media post contains language that some may find offensive.
Rowe has become well known for his criticism of the student loan system for higher education and his encouragement to young people to think carefully before going into massive debt for college.
“We’re lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to educate them for jobs that don’t exist anymore, and that’s crazy,” Rowe said in 2018, according to the Washington Times.
But as he explained in his comments to the “Southern Gentleman,” Rowe does not think that college is a hoax.
He also is not a fraud for having a college degree while still finding fault with the financing behind college tuition.
“Dear Mr. Gentleman: Some of your facts are correct. It’s true, for instance, that I sang in the Baltimore Opera for several years, and it’s true that I have a degree in Communications. But I’m not sure how either of those things make me a ‘fraud.’ Obviously, you’re welcome to your opinion, but I wonder if you might be confused as to the definition of what a ‘fraud’ really is?” Rowe responded in the comments.
“A fraud, as I understand it, is a person who pretends to be someone they aren’t. To my knowledge, I’ve never done that. My entire resume – including my musical and educational background – are a matter of public record. I’ve done nothing to conceal either. Is it possible that you saw me on the tee-vee, crawling through a sewer or fishing for crabs, and simply assumed you knew everything about me, based on a one-dimensional glance? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people today struggle with this kind of cognitive dissonance. I’m sure some such people have come here, and concluded that you were trying to pass yourself off as a ‘gentleman,'” he added.
Rowe added in the comments that he was not “sh***ing” on people who have college degrees.
He simply finds fault with high college tuition and has also encouraged people to not shy away from trade school.
“As for ‘sh***ing’ on my fellow graduates, that too, feels like a baseless accusation. It’s true that I’ve been very critical of the way universities have increased their tuition so dramatically over the years, and it’s true that I run a foundation that assists men and women who wish to pursue a career in the trades. More specifically, a skill that does not require a four-year certificate,” Rowe wrote.
“To date, mikeroweWORKS has awarded ove $6 million to 1,700 people to get the training they require to become welders, mechanics, plumbers, electricians, and so forth. It’s true that I don’t offer scholarships to individuals who want to a university education, but that doesn’t mean I’ve sh** upon them. Does it?”
For years Rowe has made his position about college education well known, but he has never blanketly condemned higher education.
He simply has advocated for a view that does not make four-year degrees necessary and expected of young adults.
“Community colleges, trade schools, and apprenticeship programs are labeled as ‘alternative.’ Millions of well-intended parents and guidance counselors see apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities as ‘vocational consolation prizes,’ best suited for those not cut out for the brass ring: a four-year degree,” Rowe’s “Works” Foundation explains.
“The push for higher education has coincided with the removal of vocational arts from high schools nationwide. And the effects of this one-two punch have laid the foundation for a widening skills gap and massive student loan debt.”
Rowe has correctly pointed out that this cultural push for four-year degrees has led to massive student debt across the U.S.
There is nearly $1.75 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt, Student Loan Hero reported.
There are about 48 million Americans who have student loan debt.
Meanwhile, there is a national shortage of skilled laborers (i.e. people who went to trade or vocational school for specific training), Fox News reported.
The shortage became especially noticeable and dire during the pandemic.
“There are millions of job openings available for skilled workers. But filling them all remains a problem,” Fox reported.
This all goes to prove Rowe’s point.
But as he highlighted, he’s not a fraud for having both a college degree and these opinions that advocate for changes that will balance the economy better and give individuals fulfilling and well-paid careers that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
Of course, just like Rowe is entitled to his opinion, “The Southern Gentleman” is also entitled to his, as Rowe pointed out.
It’s just important to know what one is talking about before criticizing.
“Thanks for your time, and good luck with the whole gentleman thing,” Rowe concluded his comment.
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