@Rachel@twitter - You would enjoy Monty Python's "Coal Miner" sketch. Check it out on YouTube if you've never seen it.
Manual labor in America isn't dead, yet. You'll find skilled laborers working the oil fields of the Northwest, or the Alaskan fishing grounds ("Deadliest Catch" has done a lot for reviving the image of the working class guy), and so on.
The effort to tacitly blame Reagan for somehow masking the decline of the working class male is ironic. Obama and his union cronies tried to shut down a new Boeing plant in South Carolina, and it's been Democrats who have opposed the opening up of domestic energy sources - something which would quickly create thousands of high-paying, working-class jobs.