Sometimes I get totally bored by cars, trucks and construction equipment. The magazines often regurgitate the same stuff and a month or three off the trade press can be quite refreshing. Nothing is going to change that much. Nothing is going to be reported just once and if it is really important it will be reported, dissected, criticised etc. to the point where sometimes I want to scream. Keep up to date with Car Magazine and Construction News and you will see what I mean. In fact, quite frequently I have been told when at home to stop arguing with the radio or television because it cannot answer back. Yeah! And sometimes I cannot stop its frequently biased banter! But back to the trade news proper. Being an avid reader of newspapers and New Scientist all the really tasty bits appear there in condensed form even though, sadly, they are usually written by a spare journalist who has been given the job of writing a specific article. Whether they know one end of a diesel engine from the other, whether they think that Adblue is for raunchy advertising or a Euro 6 is a round in the Eurovision song contest is irrelevant. They plough in.
Sometimes non-trade articles are written by what I think are called stringers. People that write articles on anything and just keep up a regular supply of “informed” verbiage to several publications at a time. A classic example of this the following story and, later, an article written by an American journalist.
I was hanging around Detroit in the US at the time and remember that there was a splendid lady, a senior manager in Product Planning in the Ford Design Studio in Dearborn. Her metier was door casings for cars, vans and trucks. Nobody knew more about door casings than she. She could turn the description of a quadruple fabric cascade of matching colour shades running from the top of the door belt rail, down through the handle aperture and on to the glove pocket then curling round the base of the door into a story worthy of a film. The enthusiasm, the use of descriptive language that painted pictures in the air, her immaculate haute couture presence more Christian Dior than Vivienne Westwood and that perfect hair and make-up – it all held the assembled company in thrall. She was going to get her message across come what may. It started as she entered the studio with a ricochet tat tat from her heels that were de riguer to command the attention of the room, a room full of men and where the shortest, me, was only a miserable 6’ tall. She had a sidekick, a clone of herself, a girl aged early 20s who carried her files, ran messages and who spoke to all assembled before the great entrance by her boss. She was the warm up act and was in awe of her boss and it showed. It showed her what a woman could do in a man’s world and she was determined to do the same. Aggression – a “you aint seen nothing yet” type of attitude.
And now for the back story. A lady journalist was given the job of interviewing this female power house. Did she write about her rise to fame through the ranks, her months spent studying plastics and fabrics and doing Florida tests for fade and abrasion tests for durability, doing clinics for market sector acceptance etc? Nah. She wrote about how this woman got up at 4.30/5.00 every morning and immediately went into her exercise regime under the whip of her personal trainer. Her half hour of yoga and meditation followed by her macro biotic diet of a breakfast. She reported how a hair stylist was wheeled in every other day. Professional make up advice and a personal shopper and colourist ensured that she was up with but not in advance of business fashion, how her clothes were finely tailored and carefully assembled so that co-workers (awful word) did not feel that she was wearing the same outfit twice. This woman was going to succeed even if it took 30/40% of everything she earned. And the lady journalist on the story was going to make sure that she was held up as a beacon of commercial success to every woman who read the article. I am already on very thin ice here so maybe it is better that I do not go on.
So now think of the horny handed engineer who has worked out how to adhere a complete car body shell together with superglue and thus saved the planet all the power required to do 200 spot welds. He will get a “well done Charlie, you can keep your job” accolade but also a “but do not expect to be promoted because you are too useful where you are” message loud and clear. “You just know too much about body assembly for us to risk losing you Charlie”. Oh, “have a small bonus to keep you going”. And this is all it takes to ensure the continued application of the man’s nose to the grindstone.
Men and women. They are so different, so very different; we have no option but to try and understand each other as we try to get along together. Maybe that is why the population is roughly 50/50 and not 80/20. See Fishers Principle. Possibly that could be a musing for another day!