I don’t know anything about this kid, but I know he’s a thing. And so this is funny. Submit your friends.
Keep clicking. Laugh.
For posterity, Joe Barton is the the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who apologized to BP executives for our government’s attempt to shake them down for money in the wake of the oil spill leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. This is the same guy that went to China and told their government not to trust ours.
A short imagined monologue, by Mike Lacher for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
Guess the fuck what, Picasso. We don’t all have seventy-three weights of stick-up-my-ass Helvetica sitting on our seventeen-inch MacBook Pros. Sorry the entire world can’t all be done in stark Eurotrash Swiss type. Sorry some people like to have fun. Sorry I’m standing in the way of your minimalist Bauhaus-esque fascist snoozefest. Maybe sometime you should take off your black turtleneck, stop compulsively adjusting your Tumblr theme, and lighten the fuck up for once.
I was just having a conversation with some folks about this. It stemmed from the cost of higher education and whether there is decent return on that investment. And also from a friend of mine with a liberal arts degree who likes to tell high school kids to start their own businesses instead of going to college unless they’re planning on doing something like being a doctor or pharmacist or engineer. I’d extend that to include desired careers in research and/or academia.
They started out studying aerospace engineering, creative writing and urban planning. But somewhere on the path to accumulating academic credentials, they decided that working with their hands sounded more pleasant — and lucrative — than a lot of white-collar work. So bye-bye to term papers and graduate theses, and hello to apprenticeships to become plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics and carpenters.
Two main things jumped out at me.
One is earning potential. You can get a very clear idea of how much you’re gonna make as a journeyman. That article quotes $65,000 to $85,000. To (attempt to) make more, you go into business for yourself (entrepreneurship!). There’s the thought that with a college degree, you eventually make enough to pay off college, and then live comfortably, but there are advancement opportunities that in theory you’ll move up the management chain and start commanding six figures or more. Most of us never make it there.
One is cultural. Blue collar vs white collar. And the perception of the value of hard work in our society combined with that whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” American dream (of being rich).
Lots of vocational schools are pretty nimble about updating their offerings to keep up with structural change in the labor market. Locally, the Dunwoody College of Technology has recently introduced a Health Information Management program and expanded their green education offerings.
So, really, you can make it through life just fine working a trade. And probably enjoy it more. But we’re being socialized to believe that it’s somehow not a worthy profession and that someone else can always do for us because we can do better.
The only other profession I can think of that you can really learn and excel in (not including “serial entrepreneurship”) without necessarily going to college for it is web development and related things. But my web developer friends can feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.