The Extent of Truisms in American Comedy on Blue Collar Values


In today’s society, we live in a white collar obsessed world, belittling the significance of blue collar workers. Most high school students graduate with the intent to go on to college in order to achieve a white collar career (Brown, 2008). American comedy abuses blue collar career values in order to humor the white collar class. They feel the blue collar life style is more of a joke and do not take it seriously. They use American comedy to stretch the worth of blue collar jobs, make fun of their values, and mock their lifestyle. On another note, blue collared workers are the reason why white collared careers are possible. If it wasn't for workers categorized in the blue collared field performing all the "dirty" jobs, white collared job opportunities would not be feasible. Comedy is part of the white and blue collared lifestyle. Without comedy directed towards areas people can relate to or interact with, the world would be a very dull experience to some. It seems that very little comedy is directed towards white collared workers. Of course, skits on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan, and The Daily show poke fun at government politicians, current and former presidents, and other government officials. Hosts either portray characters in office, or perform skits making fun of the economic situation the country is in, unemployment rates, or how bad some officials are at performing at their jobs. No one really talks about shows like Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, which is a total joke to viewers across the nation. The show sparked a few laughs at first, but resulted in dull realization of the business world and became more of a joke then an actual show. Ratings for the show started to plummet and Donald lost twenty one percent of its season premiere audience, falling to a three eighths rating and share in ad-centric adult 18-49 audience (Rash 2009). Donald was also a target for the on growing popular show celebrity roast on Comedy Central. Comedians took turns roasting Donald about various situations and altercations which happened before and during his current reign as one of the wealthiest men in the world. The roast on Trump could be one of very few comedy related assaults towards the white collared work class. It seems comedy towards blue collared workers is more evident in society than poking fun at the white collared class. In some instances, a person would never hear of jokes aimed towards doctors, lawyers, judges, managers, engineers or any other white collared job titles which carry a high level of prestige. Probably because making fun of blue collared jobs is much more easier task, and more people can relate to blue collared jobs because they were once part of the blue collared work force. Some people find the comedy approach towards the white collared jobs to be the perfect example of what a white collared worker actually is. Suit and tie, nice cars, fancy house, kids and wife are spoiled and happy, and everything in life is just peachy. But little do some people realize, with hard work and determination, any blue collar job could provide the same attributes, with a lot less flare.

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Although blue collar jobs are often looked down upon, Americans today do not realize how much blue collar workers contribute to the white collar lifestyle. A white collar worker is a career path in which non manual labor is produced (Brown, 2008). White collar careers consist of surgeons, attorneys, managers, politicians, etc. White collar jobs are created due to blue collar workers creating their work environment (Grey, 2007). For example, when a new hospital is built, prior to the opening, blue collar workers build, matinence, and organize the job site. Blue collar workers make the lifestyle of white collar workers simpler. The work environment in today’s society is impacted mainly on the work produced by the blue collar workers. Another example would be the C.E.O of a company holds a white collar job, yet they still need blue collar workers, such as truck drivers, in order to run their company efficiently.

In some instances white collar workers do in fact have an equivalent work load to blue collar workers. For instance, a doctor is considered to be a white collar job title, yet they do as much manual labor as a blue collar worker. Often when the term blue collar comes to mind, people categorize their thoughts as lower class, lower wages, and lower standards. A power-plant operator is considered a blue collar job, operating machinery in order to create electrical power used in homes and businesses. Someone with this job title earns an annual wage of fifty-five thousand dollars a year or twenty-five dollars and three cents per hour (Forbes.com, 2006). Even though white collar careers often have higher salaries, there is still a decent amount of money to be made for blue collar workers. Along with a decent salary often comes great company benefits.
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Blue collar workers are hard working, self motivated, and often extremely reliable. Although these types of careers can seem grungy to some people, it is a lifestyle in which these workers are able to adapt to in order to support both themselves and their families. Blue collar workers don't use their job as a way of showing off, like a new car, they do it because they have to keep their family going. Sure they may seem dirty and poor but they are happy. Some might say blue collar workers are happier than white collar workers. White collar wants more and more money as they get it. Which is what sets them apart. Many people get the wrong idea about blue collar workers and their values, but they don't see the bigger picture. They are hard working, regular people who are just trying to live life day by day.

American comedy towards blue collar values is as true as the world is flat. American comedy makes Blue collar workers seem like trailer trash hicks. If you where to ask people what they think blue collar means, 90% would say they are hicks who sit around drinking and eating food off their stomachs (Admin). The blue collar comedy tour is a good example. This consist of comedians such as Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Ingvalt, and Ron White. These comedians reference 'blue collar' as being more of a 'down south' and, as they say, "redneck" sub-culture; with the famous lines, "You might be a redneck," and, "get 'er done".The truth is, blue collar workers work harder than more than half white collar workers. People feel that because blue collar workers make less money and have very manual jobs, that it is okay to make fun of them.
The majority of the comedy used today is aimed at blue collar job titles. But what about the white collared workers? It was only until a couple of weeks ago in which i saw a change in how comedy was portrayed to the white collared class.

To conclude, Blue collar and white collar jobs are very different but both important. White collar jobs are higher up like surgeons and blue collar jobs are considered lower like garbage men. They both are a way of life, but are not to be taken as a joke. It would be hard for white collar jobs to exist without the strengths of blue collar workers.

“American comedy abuses blue collar career values in order to humor the white collar class. They feel the blue collar life style is more of a joke and do not take it seriously.”

The thesis of this article essentially states that blue collar jobs are so poorly regarded in our society that there are entire comedy rifts devoted to mocking not only the professions but the people who carry out the positions. This idea is a broad generalization of an extremely narrow subject. Americans in general do not poorly regard blue collar laborers. This statement is buttressed with the mention of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. While much of the content of this shows mocked a certain type of lifestyle, very little of the shows content is directly aimed at the American Blue collar worker. Furthermore many comedians of similar racial or ethnic background have toured together. The Kings of Comedy was a comedy tour that featured several black men performing comedy during any given show. The same is true for the Latin Kings of Comedy, which was a group of Hispanic men who performed comedy during any given show. Each comedian performs a different set and typically discusses a myriad of social issues, not just those directly related to the name or “theme” of their show,.

Blue Collar work is synonymous with the long held intuition of the labor union. The Labor Union is a special interest group that advocates for American workers. Their largest representation is that of blue collar or skilled laborers. In recent years Americans have held labor unions in high regards and often agree with improving the working conditions of the American Blue Collar worker. As many as 58% of Americans stand behind labor unions and their practices. Generally speaking Americans believe Labor Unions have vastly improved the working conditions of the American worker. By extension, Americans do not have a laissez faire attitude towards the plight of the American blue collar worker. Nor could I find any substantive documents outlining an American disdain or mockery of the work done by Blue Collar employees.



Essentially the thesis of this article is in direct contradiction of the ideals held by Americans. Historically, the middle class of this country was composed of laborers and artisans. In the early nineteenth century, many middle class Americans were clerks, semi skilled or skilled laborers and craftsmen (Davidson, Delay, Heyrman, Lylte and Stoff 2009.) Middle class people typically were unable to advance their social status, and their future generations would often remain in the same class (Davidson et al. 2009.) Generally speaking, most Americans are only a generation or two removed from blue collar laborers. While the shift in labor composition that accompanied the Industrial Revolution dramatically shifted Americans away from blue collar labor (Davidson et al. 2009,) it does not indicate that Americans no longer value or respect blue collar labor.








Works Cited


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Brown R., Rev (March 26, 2008) Trade & Manufacturing Jobs. Retrieved by http://www.helium.com/items/951059-reassessing-the-value-of-blue-collar-labor-in-a-white-collar- obsessed-world.php

Forbes.com (May 2006). The 10 best-paying blue-collar jobs. Retrieved from http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/Forbes/The10BestPayingBlueCollarJobs.com

Grey D., Kay (April 8, 2007). Trade & Manufacturing Jobs. Retrieved by http://www.helium.com/items/260797-reassessing-the-value-of- blue-collar-labor-in-a-white-collar-obsessed- world.php

Kaiser Commission (October 8, 2009). Uninsured Rates Among Selected Industry Groups, White Vs. Blue Collar Jobs, 2008. Retrieved from http://facts.kff.org/chart.aspx? cb=57&sctn=161&ch=1282

Novak, Sara (February 1, 2009). Green Collar the New White Collar. Retrieved from http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/02/new-ways-to-find-green-jobs.php


Rash, John. (March 10, 2009) ""Celebrity Apprentice" Ratings Down 21%, More Trouble For Beleaguered Donald."Huffpost Media. Huffpost Meda : The Online Newspaper Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/10/celebrity-apprentice-rati_n_173408.html

Davidson, J.W., B. Delay, C. L. Heyrman, M. Lytle and M. Stoff. (2009) US: A Narrative History, Volume
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Madland, David (2010) "Why is The Public Suddenly Down on Unions?" retrieved from http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/2010/07/public_opinion_unions.html
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