Would you Employ Any of these People?
It is time to confess to a guilty pleasure... Currently I don't watch much TV, but one programme I really do try to see at one time or other during the week (and no I can't record it, because I've forgotten how to work the DVD recorder I use it so infrequently, and for some reason it isn't on BBC i-Player) is BBC's The Apprentice... And its little sister "You're Fired" with the ubiquitous Adrian Chiles.
I feel a little bit uneasy about this, because it is really only a version of Big Brother for people with MBAs... but for some reason it has captured my attention in a way that none of the other unreality shows ever have... And I am no "Johnny-come-lately"... I became addicted to it from its first incarnation in the USA with Donald Trump as the Apprentice-Meister...
But hardly a week goes by when I am not left foaming at the mouth with the various contestants... It is hard to believe that such a bunch of arrogant, incompetent, unpleasant individuals could be assembled in one place... But each year the BBC trumps itself... With this year's batch being the most useless yet... And invariably, the ones who boast the most about their strengths are the ones who show themselves to be least capable with the most straighforward of tasks. I know it is all an artifice created by skillful directors and editors, but I honestly wouldn't employ any of these clampets to run a sweetie shop.
This morning on BBC Radio4's A Point of View journalist Lucy Kelleher broadcast a wonderful critique of the self-promoting, boastful culture of which these individuals are the epitomy. I wouldn't agree with some of her conclusions, but she did show up brilliantly the shift in society from the natural reserve of traditional British culture, towards a pseudo-American brashness. I must say that while I think that Alan Sugar trumps Trump as the circus master of this little freak show, the American contestants are still streets ahead in the boasting stakes... But many of them also live up to their self-descriptions. The Brits are both bad at boasting, and often fall far short of their over-egged self-evaluations. And what they boast about is the sort of things that anyone with any sort of decency would keep quiet about... their ruthlessness, their dishonesty, their willingness to steal another's husband on one occasion.
Why do I love it? I suppose it is the freak show factor (just like I occasionally flick over to watch "Britain's Got Talent" open-mouthed...)
But it should not be advocated as good practice by aspiring leaders in any sphere of civic society... The values they are espousing and the activities they are engaging in to become "The Apprentice" are actually and actively sociopathic... Demonstrating why the survival of the fittest cannot be the only force at work in the evolution and development of human society.
It also points up again the completely counter-cultural nature of the gospel, which we find in Paul's letter to the Ephesians
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
We are saved by grace, for good works... Not by graceless boasting or works of malice...
So I am glad that I serve as apprentice to a different master.