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Andy Rooney Angers Some Viewers (But He's Right)

by Bob Sassone, posted Mar 22nd 2010 3:02PM
Andy RooneyI've never understood the animosity that Andy Rooney attracts by a certain segment of the TV viewing population. Take his segment on last night's '60 Minutes' (video after the jump). He talked about the jobless rate and the jobs that are available now and how maybe - just maybe - we need more plumbers and other people who actually do something more than we need, well, people who do my job.

This isn't a new stance by Rooney. He's been saying the same thing for years. Rooney just turned 91 years old so he's earned the right to repeat things if he wants. But I know that Rooney has talked about this before because, well, I've actually read what Rooney has written over the years. Most people who dislike Rooney know him for only one thing, his weekly segments on '60 Minutes.'

But the guy has been a journalist since World War II and has written several books and a weekly column for decades, but the people who find him "unfunny" or "irrelevant" only know him from the CBS show.

That's not to say that his segments there are bad. I quite enjoy them. I'm just trying to point out that there's more to Rooney than these segments and the people who dump on him (and most of them are young, I would bet) should investigate him a little bit more.

The folks over at Gawker posted about it, and did it with their usual blend of cluelessness and snarkiness (I wonder what the average age of the writers is over there?). The headline is "Man Unqualified For His Job Lectures The Unemployed" and says that Rooney should be picking up trash instead of writing.

I wonder if the writer even realizes that he's not only insulting Rooney with that line (Rooney has a pretty good resume) but also insulting trash collectors by saying that people who do that job are somehow lower class citizens? But that comment is nothing compared to the garbage spewed in the comments section of the Gawker post.

Various readers throw around the words "geezer," "elitist," and "douchebag," three words I would never connect to Rooney, who seems to one of the most normal "very famous" people around (they also bring up how his hands shake - classy). Honestly, I can think of many people who might deserve those comments; Rooney isn't one of them.

Some of the readers over there actually defend Rooney and his experience and kudos to them. Still, there's too much nastiness in the comments, as there is over at the '60 Minutes' site. Rooney really didn't say anything that wrong in the segment below, did he? Especially if you take the entire essay for what it is and not focus on one or two lines.


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Sharon

Its intersting that everyone is on the "degree or plumber" bandwagon. What about what he said about businesses caring more about profits than employees or the quality of their product?

What about what he said about companies laying off...you dont have to be a rocket scientist to see that this has been a pattern of American business for years.

Not making enough money for the corporate bonuses...lets just layoff our employees and make the ones that stay do 3 or 4 times the amount of work.

This issue isnt whether anyone who is unemployed should take a lower paying job or not...the real issue is...the 4% of Americans that control 96% of the money.

The greedy Corporations...and yes..the greedy Universities..that play a Capitalistic game to our faces and screw us at every turn. While workers are loyal to employers and work for years..in factories, foundries and assorted other corporate businesses...they are pitted against each other through fear of job loss, loss of benefits etc. Then you retire and theres no pension fund...or losses of insurance...etc

The working people of America who show up everyday and work in all kinds of weather...sick or healthy...are all now and always have been at the mercy of the powers that be...even the unions have to make major concessions (Thanks Mr Reagan). Workers have no power...zero...they have no rights....no ones job is promised tomorrow....its all about a few who collect huge salaries and for doing what??

We shouldnt be judging our fellow working people for wanting more...afterall it is the American way. We were all told as children .."you can grow up to be whomever you'd like to be" and we were being told that by sheep...who went to work and didnt complain and put up with all this crap and now here it is in our laps.

We shouldnt blame our fellow workers who have been accustomed to earning $250,000 a year for not wanting to flip burgers (no offense to burger flippers)...they were told..if you do this..this and this..you will get to this place..then they get there and in a moments notice it is gone. How can you pay a mortgage you took out while earning 6 figures working for minimum wage?

Why is it that no one ever says or mentions the "working" class? How many of you think your middle-class and arent? In 1990 to be considered middle-class you had to be earning $90,000/yr as a single person and roughly $150,000 as a couple. I do not know what the figures are now...I heard some "intellectual" from the Brookings Institute a few weeks ago and his numbers were lower...which doesnt fair well for the middle-class does it.

We are all getting the shaft and the greedy bastards responsible for it...BANKERS, CEO's are laughing at us all the way to the bank. If we want to get angry and be judgmental ...perhaps we should go after the source of the problems...not each other.

March 23 2010 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Barbara

If Rooney's intention was to start a conversation on the subject then he has been quite successful.

March 23 2010 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
A. Roberts

Many of you have missed the point he was making: That an executive produces nothing more than some words on paper; the craftsman, or laborer, provide a real good, in some cases a product, in other cases maybe only new tires on a rim. That was his point, to have more people actually producing something, or a worthwhile service. He gave a couple of examples of working with the hands, as a contrast to the desk worker.

March 23 2010 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CoreyR

I just love all the people ranting about Andy Rooney. He was right you know, more people do need to work in meaningful, "doing something" jobs. All my life I had "doing something jobs," until seven years ago when finished a four year degree (returning adult) and took a state job. Now I sit in a cubicle and shovel papers from one tray to another. If I am out sick for a week, nobody even notices because it is all just buerocratic BS. I cannot get a real job making anykind of decent money though but I keep looking.
Could it be that most people, who did not like what Mr. Rooney had to say about getting a job "doing something" are terribly upset because they really do not want a job where they might have to "do something?" I know a whole lot of cubicle monkeys who are really just lazy shiftless fools at heart.
By the way, does anybody know of a hands on job that an ex paratrooper can get into and make honest, decent money?

March 23 2010 at 4:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Larry

Because of the negative responses to Andy Rooney I would like to add the following.
The pain you experience while providing for a family without a job is hard to describe. However, what we want, what we deserve, and what we get most often do not match. There are those that feel they are owed thus the blame game. Well you have two choices; create your own job or work for someone else.
Every democracy has failed (at around 200 years of age) when the general populace gained control of its nations treasury. This has been done through politics just as we are doing now in America. Sooner or later the system fails when there are more takers than givers. We can no longer afford to cover individual's mistakes through the buying of their votes with borrowed money and taxing the top 5% (the ones that create 70% of our jobs) is government assisted suicide for the jobs market.
If there is a charging lion you have two choices, prepare or put your head in the sand and ignore the inevitable. In short Andy Rooney is saying now is not the time to run in place. Whether you just graduated from school or are trapped with a midlife lay-off you need to look to and prepare for the future.
Illegal aliens with language, education, and skill deficits have been taking jobs we do not want for years all while dodging the police. I knew one that regularly sent money home to support his family and returned to Mexico last year with almost $175,000.00 to start a grocery store after four years in America...........but then he did not buy cars, houses, RV's, or boats that he could not afford. He did not eat out at restaurants on a regular basis. He did not have cell, internet, or cable tv bills. He did not have alimony, child support payments or other self induced expenditures and I could go on but you get the message. How did he do this? He worked full time rebuilding cargo pallets getting off at 5:00Pm then working one to two part time farm jobs afterwards including weekends. He had a goal and managed his cost and risks.
Companies pay 10-12000 insurance premiums per employee, half of their social security tax overhead and equipment cost while having to monitor their misuse of company time on cell phones, internet, or pilferage of company inventory etc.
Why? Because our economy was in the driver's seat and they could afford this but not any longer. While America will make somewhat of a recovery we are clearly losing ground and this will continue as new emerging markets do tomorrow what we did yesterday.
Not wanting to change because of attitudes, age, physical ability, lack of education, or other limitations are personal problems. Tough but true. In the past our liberal congresses of the past covered these but that is changing. Because of its deficits, America is on the verge of having its AAA debt rating lowered which will freeze all of our markets maybe forever. Yes this can happen, just ask Great Britain or Russia.
I do not believe in socialism but I do not want to see others without either. What Andy Rooney is saying is choices we had just yesterday may not be options tomorrow and those that wait for things to go back as they were may be ignoring they can't.
Based on the world's efforts to redistribute the wealth, something Obama has addressed a willingness to do on the global stage recently, everyone will be forced to make lifestyle changes. After all there are only two systems in the world...........unequal wealth or equal poverty. America's average income is over $50,000.00 while half of the world makes less than $2.00per day). In my state, minimum wage is $7.15 per hour. A couple working 40 hours per week at this rate would make $29,744 per year. Any willing couple in America should be making this or more. That alone would slash our nation's debt.
Going back is easy but a delay in going forward is a mistake. Remember, you have two choices. Create your own job or work for someone else ...........if they want to hire you. The Constitution guarantees' freedom, not jobs. We were to use our freedom to create our own jobs. Somewhere along the way we got picky, wasteful, and mismanaged our risks.............................



March 23 2010 at 4:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tank74

I liked your piece. It was eloquent and respectful to a man who, as you point out, probably disdains your work. I'm 54, halfway between Rooney and the negative nabobs. I enjoy the majority of his work; am occasionally at a loss to find a point, if any, to some of his wandering pieces; and, chuckle at his refusal to accept modern technology (e.g. email) as a legitimate form of communication.

March 23 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diane

Hey, Andy,,,,let's get the welfare trolls trained for plumbing jobs and lawn maintenance. I sure didn't pay for MY education so that my future would entail excrement clean up. We have tax consumers for these kinds of job.

March 23 2010 at 4:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BIGBOB

Park benches are filled with people who majored in History, Fine Arts, Sociology, Psychology, Kinesiology, etc. Many would have been better off not wasting their parents' hard-earned money by learning a trade instead. Soon there will be all Marketing and Communications experts and no plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, mechanics. But, don't listen to me or to Andy Rooney or anyone else who has "been there, done that". The nanny state will take care of you. Fools!

March 23 2010 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jane

I have to agree with Mr. Rooney. I know several people who are out of work, whine about how they have no money, but won't take work that is "beneath" them. Many fast food chains are hiring. Money is money - get what you can while things are tough.

March 23 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan Phillips

I work for My Plumber in N. Va. and like it or not Ladies and Gents, Andy is right. I just did my 15 minute bit for our 3 day orientation that all our new employees go through. From where I was standing, I counted 7-10 new Plumbing and HVAC techs and 5 new parts runners and trainees. Not many industries are hiring on that level these days.

March 23 2010 at 3:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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