Sunday, October 3, 2010

My High Horse

There was a time in history when a mans working skill was valued in high regard. A time when the sweat on ones brow and the finished product made by ones own hand had a distinct connection to its creator.
A time when learning a trade was seen as heroic, and not as a resort for ones failure of not being able to 'hack' a university degree.
Real wages for skilled labour began to dwindle when these same small craftsmen had to compete with factories producing an often substandard product in the name of affordability. The working men slowly began to shut there workshop doors and take on mundane jobs on an assembly line producing one part of a puzzle without having a strong physical connection to the finished product.
Tradesmen were diminished, there importance trampled on and there skills lessened to a point where any man can now do a 4 year (often less nowadays) apprenticeship and call himself qualified in his chosen field.
Skills that a man would craft over a lifetimes devotion to a trade were now accessible to anyone who could push a button on a machine and soon a white collar approach to life was seen as a most successful pursuit to happiness.
Money and power was everything and the ability to point fingers went a long way to destroying a mans true soul.
The pursuit of big money and power made many men lazy and effeminate. The world was flipped up side down. The man at the bottom was devalued and the man at the top making his invisible deals was seen as heroic and worthy of worship.
How does a man who sits at a desk get a sense of what it is to be a man? Where is the virility found in a faceless bureaucracy? What becomes of an individual inside a corporation?
The battle over this is all futile however. Society demands a cheaper product wrapped in the guise of quality, and cost cutting over craftsmanship and pride.
I don't know where I'm going with this, the story has no end. Its probably all just a bunch of high horse rhetoric.
In a way i guess if theres any point to be made, its that no matter how strong the pull or prestige of a white collar life i believe each man has a subconscious desire to produce something, and know the real brow sweat that went into making something with there hands. Save yourself from a midlife crisis, don't waste your money on a new Porsche just make something worthwhile and be quietly proud.
Now watch this and tell me you don't understand.

David A Smith - Sign Artist from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.


  1. Worth a read: 'Shop Class as Soulcraft' here:

  2. Thanks! I just ordered a copy.