Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: The Apprentice

Beggars and Choosers


Sociology experiment:

This Morning

Looking disheveled and unshaven, I stood outside my local Starbucks and panhandled for money.  I said I was an unemployed Desert Storm veteran.  I mentioned that my wife and child left me and that I hadn’t eaten in a week.


This Afternoon

After showering and putting on a Lacoste polo shirt, I returned to the exact same spot to panhandle for money.  This time, I asked my film school friend, Roland, to show up with his camera and videotape me.   When asking for money, I told passerbys that I was one of the participants on NBC’s "The Apprentice" and that our latest "task" was to use our marketing skills to obtain the most money by "begging," or risk being "fired" by "the Donald."  I told everyone how important winning this game was to me, because despite my trust fund, my Harvard education, and my success as a Wall Street attorney in my father’s firm, I thought it would be "cool" to become Donald Trump’s apprentice and try to get a television gig of my own.  After all, who doesn’t want to be on TV?

TOTAL AMOUNT COLLECTED:  467 dollars, including 2 dollars I took from a homeless Desert Storm veteran

Tale of Two NBC Job Applications


I love NBC.  I really do.  And I’m not just saying that because I recently applied for a job there. 

The people at NBC are very nice.  I enjoyed my interview.  Before the interview, I went to human resources.  I spoke with a very nice and attractive executive.  We joked a lot about the relationship between NBC and Universal.  While I was there, I was given some paper work to fill out — and when I say paperwork, I mean PAPERWORK.  You know, the typical questions for a corporate human resources department:

Where have I worked for the last ten years?  What are my last seven residences?  Have I ever applied for a job at NBC before? Do I know anyone at NBC?  What are my references?  Have I ever made a joke or a disparaging comment about NBC’s lame comedies since Frasier left the air?  Have I ever watched one of the dozen different Law and Orders and can I distinguish one from the other?  Do I like David Letterman better than Jay Leno?    Have I ever been convicted of a crime or been in jail?

Now, imagine I have been convicted of a serious crime.  Imagine I did do some jail time.  Do you think I would have a chance to get the low paying job I was applying for, something I’m way overqualified to do? 

Even better, do you think they would let me host my own TV show — say a spin-off of "The Apprentice," one of the network’s most popular shows? 


NOTE TO THOSE COMING FROM 2 BLOWHARDS:  I’d like to welcome you here.   Please check out the other people on my blogroll.  They are much friendlier than I am.  I also would like to thank Michael Blowhard for his kind words about this site.  If only you would have made them earlier, maybe I would have gotten that stupid NBC job (which I didn’t).  Next time, I’ll fake you as a reference.   I also promise to stop describing your terrific blog to others as "the egghead one."

The Omorosa Strategy

The latest trend in reality shows, according to the LA Times, are shows involving pets, such as Animal Planet’s “Who Gets the Dog?” in which humans compete for the love of a cutesy dog.  When most of the losers don’t get the dog, they are crushed, but I was particularly surprised by Darren O’Hare and Ania Kamieniecki’s excuse when they  lost “Scooby” to another couple:

“We just thought of it as a fun thing, we weren’t looking to win” says Darren.  “We didn’t have our ‘Omorosa’ strategy.”

The Omorosa strategy?  Have reality shows so infiltrated our way of thinking that the name Omorosa carries so much weight to it?   Years ago, I remember my two uncles arguing at Thanksgiving dinner over who was the greatest strategist of World War II — Churchill or Stalin?   With the greatest generation fading, will Omorosa be remembered as this generation’s Sun Tzu?  Our Machiavelli?

Could it be that many of our missteps in Iraq are due to the Pentagon’s outmoded style of leadership?  Did President Bush have an Omorosa strategy?   Doesn’t our government see how much reality TV could be a mirror into our geopolitical world?

For example, in Iraq, isn’t it true that we were “Richard Hatch-ed” by the Iranians with the faulty intelligence about the WMDs?

What about the UN and our French and German “friends”?  This “betrayal” by our allies is not very surprising to any reality TV watcher.  Has there ever been a Survivor season where the strong guy who builds the shelter for everyone isn’t tossed off the Island the very next week by all the whimpering members of his “alliance”?  Isn’t the United Nations like the ultimate “Big Brother” house, all smiles when Julie Chen shows up on the monitor, but everyone gets busy backstabbing at night?

Would there be so many Iraqi uprisings if we ran things a bit more like Nanny 911?

Sure, there were some elections in Iraq and there is some progress with Syria, but can we we really win the hearts and minds of the Arab world?   Forget the neocons Paula Abdul-like optimism.    Is it really on the level?  As  Simon Cowell might say, very doubtful:

“Not if we continue to pick the wrong songs and sing them like we’re at a cheap karaoke bar.”

President Bush, if you really intend to succeed with your Middle East foreign policy, stop listening to those Pentagon wonks and watch some  “Apprentice.”