Friday, August 10, 2007

Pig on a Pedestal

I really appreciate the recent TV/radio campaign for the show “Dirty Jobs.” I’ve blogged before about Mike Rowe and this excellent Discovery Channel show about the people who do disgusting tasks for a living. In the commercial, Mike explains that he has literally put a pig on a pedestal, to make an important point about our worship of celebrities.

Just as that pig spends his life in the mud just so we can have pork, the people “Dirty Jobs” features are folks who put up with a lot so that jobs that are essential to society get done. They clean up water treatment plants and sort recyclables out of the garbage and pick up road kill. Watching Mike try out these jobs is truly cringe-worthy TV. It makes you appreciate how horrific some jobs really are.

And as the commercial is trying to point out, Mike’s show gives the pig--metaphorically--a well-deserved moment in the sun. Our society’s cult of celebrities is always giving its attention to people who do relatively amusing, comfortable jobs like act and sing and play sports. While we deify a bunch of people who already enjoy wealth and glamour, we blow their admirable qualities way out of proportion. The nice thing about “Dirty Jobs” is it shows some admiration for people who truly deserve it.

So what is my point here, erotica-with-soul-wise? Simply that I concur with Mike’s observations: there are plenty of oft-overlooked but worthy human qualities we should idolize and love and even get turned on by. Fittingly, Mike himself has become quite the heartthrob among women who appreciate his courage and willingness to rub grimy elbows with tanners, roughnecks, and llama shearers. Does a guy look hotter in a tux on the red carpet, or smeared with poo in a treatment plant? Have you seen Mike Rowe smeared with poo? It’s pretty enticing (at least when you can’t smell him). He’s a real man, you see. Any dork can put on a tux, but it takes a guy with guts to, well, deal with things like rotting guts.

You know I can’t leave this topic without mentioning my own personal hero, Les Stroud (and Season 2 of “Survivorman” has just begun!). Covered in swamp mud, or dripping with sweat, in clothes he’s worn for seven straight days, there is not a damn thing wrong with what this guy looks like. That’s because what he looks like is a man willing to sleep with scorpions and eat grasshoppers, and to hike through jungle, across glaciers, and over blazing desert, all the while braving hunger, thirst, exposure and constant danger.

I really love that television is starting to celebrate more and more the people who have determination, smarts, stamina, and courage. It’s not just the dirty guys that turn me on; I also love people like David Bromstad, the interior designer, and Tom Collichio, the chef, and all the guys competing on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and Grant Imahara, the “Mythbusters” engineering genius. They are all people with special skills, and they all work very, very hard.

Even harder than the pig on Mike Rowe’s pedestal. So let’s salute them, and let them inspire our fantasies and our daily lives as well!

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