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The case for working with your hands.

This is a discussion on The case for working with your hands. within the NEW MEMBERS READ HERE! forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; [QUOTE=Rookster;533641]It is a cut and paste [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/magazine/24labor if a 'hipster' rides his motorcycle every day- regardless of what tyres and air filter he has, is ...

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  1. #21
    Senior Member ART-ADS's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Rookster;533641]It is a cut and paste [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/magazine/24labor

    if a 'hipster' rides his motorcycle every day- regardless of what tyres and air filter he has, is more of a motorcyclist than the guy who spends 5 years building a bike with k&n filters and the rest of it and doesn't ride it - which is a lot of the 'real' café crowd that I have talked to
    I don't know what I'm doing. But I love bikes- my bikes- 98' RZ50, 92' H100 S2, 00' Gilera DNA 50 (ALL older than me lol)

  2. #22
    Senior Member Andyshep's Avatar
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    Every day until it breaks or he does.

  3. #23
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ART-ADS View Post
    if a 'hipster' rides his motorcycle every day- regardless of what tyres and air filter he has, is more of a motorcyclist than the guy who spends 5 years building a bike with k&n filters and the rest of it and doesn't ride it - which is a lot of the 'real' café crowd that I have talked to
    The thing is if the hipster rides the bike everyday he soon will work out that those cool looking tyres are actually fucking dangerous and the crappy pods make the bike run like complete shit. Over time, he becomes one of the 'real cafe crowd' as you call them.

    Unless of course he is happy to ride a shitty bike every day.

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  5. #24
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipmotorcycles View Post
    Really? This really hits home for me. It's really perspective if anything not overstating anything, or maybe you don't have the credentials to know what he's talking about.
    What about it is so appealing to you specifically? What resonates the most?
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
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  6. #25
    Senior Member Integra99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcw View Post
    Dear diary, today I tried to make a point on a motorcycle forum...
    Ha ha ha ha..

  7. #26
    Senior Member grandpaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillsy View Post
    The thing is if the hipster rides the bike everyday he soon will work out that those cool looking tyres are actually fucking dangerous and the crappy pods make the bike run like complete shit. Over time, he becomes one of the 'real cafe crowd' as you call them.

    Unless of course he is happy to ride a shitty bike every day.
    Many people don't know any better, as they have very little or no previous experience with "better" bikes. So, they are indeed happy with relatively poor-performing bikes that are not to many other people's liking styling-wise. Combine that with many of those former people's actual riding requirements (around town, quick highway jaunts cross-town, etc), and they may never NEED anything better /safer/different.

    "Live, and let live"
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    GrandPaul
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  8. #27
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grandpaul View Post
    Many people don't know any better, as they have very little or no previous experience with "better" bikes. So, they are indeed happy with relatively poor-performing bikes that are not to many other people's liking styling-wise. Combine that with many of those former people's actual riding requirements (around town, quick highway jaunts cross-town, etc), and they may never NEED anything better /safer/different.

    "Live, and let live"
    the thing about that is...well most people get bored with mediocrity pretty quickly, so a lot of them exit the hobby because they either a) think they have gone as far as they are going to go because they don't know any better, or b) realize that what they have is terrible and what they want looks wise will always be terrible and don't aspire to something that works well but looks different. Thus they cut a swath through the cache of available used bikes hacking and slashing and making all the stock unmolested ones more valuable. This isn't a new phenomenon, think about all the crappy brit choppers that were around when nobody really wanted brit bikes.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
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  9. #28
    jcw
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    Senior Member jcw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeto67 View Post
    the thing about that is...well most people get bored with mediocrity pretty quickly, so a lot of them exit the hobby
    exactly what I was thinking...

    The pipeburn/bikeexif cafe racers are/were a fad. It is fading
    Last edited by jcw; 05-15-2017 at 12:52 PM.

  10. #29
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    Since this is the type of discussions I like and since nobody asked me anyway and this is an opportunity to write a soyboysigh lenght post of pontification....buckle up for a whole sack full of opinion you didn't even know you didn't want.

    So the original OP-Ed piece is from 2009 and was written by Matt Crawford when he was promoting his book shop class as soulcraft. Matt is an extremely intelligent person and an excellent writer so it is often difficult to seperate when he is making a legitimate fact based point and really just pontificating out of his ass. These are all traits I feel like I share with him and I imagine that he and I would get along if we ever met (but I am probably wrong on that). Anyway, I think he gets some things right and some things wrong...and here is my opinion on it:

    Things he gets right:

    Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day? Where the chain of cause and effect is opaque and responsibility diffuse, the experience of individual agency can be elusive.
    This seems to be a moment when the useful arts have an especially compelling economic rationale. A car mechanics’ trade association reports that repair shops have seen their business jump significantly in the current recession: people aren’t buying new cars; they are fixing the ones they have. The current downturn is likely to pass eventually. But there are also systemic changes in the economy, arising from information technology, that have the surprising effect of making the manual trades – plumbing, electrical work, car repair – more attractive as careers. The Princeton economist Alan Blinder argues that the crucial distinction in the emerging labor market is not between those with more or less education, but between those whose services can be delivered over a wire and those who must do their work in person or on site. The latter will find their livelihoods more secure against outsourcing to distant countries. As Blinder puts it, “You can’t hammer a nail over the Internet.” Nor can the Indians fix your car. Because they are in India.

    And here is what I think he gets wrong (or over generalizes):

    High-school shop-class programs were widely dismantled in the 1990s as educators prepared students to become “knowledge workers.” The imperative of the last 20 years to round up every warm body and send it to college, then to the cubicle, was tied to a vision of the future in which we somehow take leave of material reality and glide about in a pure information economy. This has not come to pass. To begin with, such work often feels more enervating than gliding. More fundamentally, now as ever, somebody has to actually do things: fix our cars, unclog our toilets, build our houses.
    When we praise people who do work that is straightforwardly useful, the praise often betrays an assumption that they had no other options. We idealize them as the salt of the earth and emphasize the sacrifice for others their work may entail. Such sacrifice does indeed occur – the hazards faced by a lineman restoring power during a storm come to mind. But what if such work answers as well to a basic human need of the one who does it? I take this to be the suggestion of Marge Piercy’s poem “To Be of Use,” which concludes with the lines “the pitcher longs for water to carry/and a person for work that is real.” Beneath our gratitude for the lineman may rest envy.
    There are people in this world, true masters of their craft, who are literally tortured by the craft they labor under. They are often the finest wood workers, engineers, architects, masters of their crafts, for whom each project is doomed to fail because of some flaw they can see but others cannot (or do not see as a negative). They live a life of dissatisfaction and carry the yoke of their labors as a constant burden when obvious and well deserved praise is heaped upon them. Conversely I know many in the "surreal" professions who are content with the work and for whom it is not surreal. People who think happiness, or serenity, or even inner peace can be achieved through any manual labor or "useful Art" because it is real are falling for a fallacy - it is not the type of the work, physical vs non physical that is attractive. It is the result. People like to know that what they do matters to others, and with something you fix with your hands it is something that is much easier to believe because you restore usefulness to an object which is presumed to only have a benefit. People in large corporations are robbed of this because of the nature of large corporations so they have to create awards and praise and other forms of recognition for them to feel useful and let's just say that much like this artificial praise astroturf will never feel like real grass but that doesn't mean it doesn't do the job.

    There is a lot of division right now between the people who work with their hands and the people who work with their minds. Ostensibly people work with both, but neither side wants to see it that way with the office crowd clinging to the "work smarter not harder" mantra, while the laborers attach them on the grounds of intellectual elitism. In reality both are of the same socioeconomic level in the world but this fight has become the new primary method of division of the masses to keep them fighting each other rather than working against the top 1% wealthiest of the country. Again this is an old tactic - if the politicians have warring tribes they always have a job as advocate of constituents who feel a certain way.

    When I first read Matt's book, I agreed with this premise that educators were the motivators for the shift to knowledge workers. I mean I had lived it and watched first hand as my school shop programs closed one after the other. But over time I have read more and learned more and I hate to say it he is wrong and the reasons are mostly political. Now I get why Matt wouldn't want to write a political message into his book at the cost of disenfranchising a large groups of his readers, but still...I think it is more than a little dishonest, and sells our political system short, if we just push the blame on the educational system. So let's discuss.

    (forgive me if this gets a little political)

    The ugly facts are Republican politicians don't support federal spending in education. This isn't a political statement, it's a fact that the conservative platform has not backed educational spending since the 1960's and continues to do so today. Nixon, Reagan, Ford, and both Bushes all either cut spending or fought against any increase. The last conservative politician to increase funding for education was Eisenhower. He did it because he wanted to make sure America had an educated workforce for the upcoming space race. Buoyed by Kennedy and Johnson, Eisenhower poured buckets of money into math and sciences and put into motion the greatest period of technological advancement that this country had ever seen, and he unequivocally proved that quality of education improves the more you spend on it.

    This is the origin of a lot of the vocational training programs we saw in the 1950s-1990s, because they were gateways to the physics and engineering disciplines, even if the recipient never made it past fixing cars because of their life choices. The down side is that you end up pumping more qualified people into the market place which increases competition for jobs and drives wages down. All the Tech programs were expensive to run as well, much more expensive than things like typing or communications or other knowledge based electives. When Reagan came into power in the 1980's he made massive cuts in educational spending, amounts which are still missing even today. Additionally there was a glut of people looking for science and technical jobs (not IT, but old school tech) but there was this new technology that needed people to operate it: computers. Without funding the vocational programs slowly closed and/or consolidated, but since the "knowledge programs" were cheaper to run and delivered a value to the student to the job market, a lot of educators made the decision to shift the focus that direction.

    The lessons that we learned from all of this (or didn't because the people currently in power cry about poor education in America but refuse to spend on it) is that if you put money into education you have to put it in to all types of education so as to avoid artificially pumping up one side of the job market to the detriment of the others. Also people always complain that they never see the long tangible benefit of politics concerning education because it happens over a long period of time, but I feel like they just aren't looking hard enough. Finally, federal spending overcomes some of the barriers the poor or disadvantaged have with access to quality. Without federal funding, the neighborhood taxes pay for the local education and suddenly the quality of education in rich neighborhoods gets better than the education in poor neighborhoods.

    TL;DR: working with your hands does not make you better or worse than a person working in an office, you do not feel better about your job because of it, but instead feel better seeing the fruit of your labor and working for yourself instead of someone else.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  11. #30
    Senior Member BigAl8295's Avatar
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    I work with my hands when the Mrs. won't cooperate.
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