Friday, November 23, 2012

Releasing Your Inner Vile

Just as parents in olden times warned their children not so stray from the forest path or to accept sweets from strangers or to go into a strange man’s house to look at some puppies so the modern parent must burden its offspring with some more up-to-date caveats. Cautionary notes based around imminent celebrity – because there are so many 15 minutes of fame flying around these days a kid has to be pretty abnormal not to have an agent or a regular day time interview slot on some plebeian television “magazine” show.

These celeb rules can be condensed into:

Never get involved with Radio One DJ’s, especially those that do a lot of charity fun runs.

Never be part of a kiddie band if you harbour any pretension of being taken at all seriously as a musician when you are grown up.

And lastly but not least, do not ever sign yourself up to be Alan Sugar’s next young apprentice.

I quite enjoy the adult version of The Apprentice. Mainly because the contestants are akin to the painted wooden ducks on a fairground shoot ‘em up. They are dislikeable in the extreme. They are hate fodder. Pretentious, loudmouthed, arrogant, over-reaching, self-deluded arseholes to a man and to a woman. It is OK to hate them. Hell, they don’t even care. Their goal is earn so much money the negative opinions of us lesser mortals becomes merely a source of amusement to them.

But I don’t feel comfortable hating the kids on Young Apprentice. And yet I do. I do truly, truly hate them. For all the same reasons listed above in their adult counterparts. How shocking to realize that the traits of arseholedom can be seen to flourish at such young and tender ages.

All the arrogance, bile and contempt for every human being around you except for the one who’s got something you want is there, written large in their mannerisms and the way they conduct themselves... combined and augmented by the patronizing, callowness of those too young to fully grasp the way the world works but old enough to grasp the mistaken belief that they do in fact understand everything and understand it better than anybody else on the entire planet, so get out of my way and let me do what I want to do, you nobcheese, all you are required to do is to tell me that I am eternally, megalomaniacally right... now buy me a new Angry Bird themed iPad and shut the fuck up.

What kind of parent allows their kid to be a combatant on a show that makes the boys in Lord Of The Flies look like Rupert The Bear and Friends?

These kids are fearfully adept in their vileness. I sometimes wonder if they are kids at all. Surely they are adults masquerading as kids? No kid can surely be that callous and Machiavellian in their manoeuvring?

I certainly wasn’t at their age.

But I figure it all comes down to this: self belief.

To be truly vile, to be truly poisonous to your fellow man you need an above average sense of self belief. To be a King Bastard or a Queen Bitch you gotta believe in yourself worse than the kids from Fame. Because if you have any sense of self doubt, any inkling that actually, maybe you’re not half so great as you tell people you are, you just cannot stamp all over other people and walk away from it unscathed. Self belief cancels out conscience. Conviction tramples the little voice of reason in your head into oblivion.

Self doubt makes you a better person. It might make you a crap businessman but it makes you a decent member of the human race.

And for that reason alone I hope my kids never have enough self belief that they’ll ever want to be Alan Sugar’s next investment monkey.

And as for Jim’ll Fix It, well, that’s been off the cards for a long while.

16 comments:

Expat mum said...

Interesting. We don't seem to get the kid version of the Apprentice here (thank god - American kids?) but it sounds awful.
I think it's something more than self-belief that makes people vile though. My son is an avid musician and wannabee rock star and it's self people and pure drive that keeps him going, but he's not a vile person. The vileness I think comes from something else. I think it's part facade and part fear in many people. Fear that their facade is going to be detected and we will see the emperor has no clothes. Or something like that...

Gorilla Bananas said...

Ah, they're not so bad, they're just like dogs without a pack leader. Nothing that can't be cured by a loud bark and a nip on the neck.

Nana Go-Go said...

I never watch 'The Apprentice' because it's unnerving to watch people do anything, apart from committing murder, to get to where they think it is they want to go. Watching 'The Young Apprentice' would be worse. The 'X' Factor makes me feel the same way. It's all about selling people dreams, isn't it? I doubt very much whether any of the parents involved have even heard of 'Lord of the Flies' which says it all in a nutshell really. Bit bizarre that people should bring their children up to worship money so much. Vulgar, even.
Have a good weekend.

Steve said...

Expat Mum: deep and probably correct on a psychological level. Whatever the cause, the kids who make it through the Alan Sugar selection process are inevitably annoying little twerps. Maybe is says more about the selection process than entrepreneurial youth as a whole?

Gorilla Bananas: corporal punishment? I heartily concur.

Nana Go-Go: vulgar? damned right. That's exactly what it is. And yet I don't mind other vulgar TV half so much... maybe because it is honestly vulgar where as The Apprentice sets itself up as some kind of self celebratory contest between business giants.

The bike shed said...

The trouble with TV is that it is exactly that - TV, not reality at all. Reality TV is an oxymoron.

the fly in the web said...

It can't help that we have a message to people trying to get on in life

Sell yourself.

Not do you have the ability to do A...just sell yourself as the person to do it.
Accounts for just about everything that no longer works...

Steve said...

The Bike Shed: on oxymoron populated by foxy morons.

The fly in the web: including local government...

joebloggs said...

I think we should count ourselves lucky, in some cities around the world these "kids" would be expressing heir unfaltering convictions at the business end of a gun. Either as a gang member working their way up the criminal hierarchy of drugs and murder, or as child soldiers ensuring their own survival in some forgotten war zone. The instinct for survival is expressed in many ways, we are all involved in some way, either as combatants or observers, however it doesn't make it right. All the apprentices "skills" are learnt in the playground from a very early age, then the more ruthless traits are reinforced by their parents.
It is truly car crash tv, and is edited to polarise viewer's allegiance and as such it works so well.

I wanted Lucy to win but as with most reality tv shows the best/most likeable people should not be allowed to win. The prize would corrupt them too much.

whoa needy!!! that's me getting off my high horse now.

Keith said...

Sometimes your sentiments so exactly match my own that I suspect we are the same person, separated by some freakish Hadron Collider accident.

I loath Young Apprentice to the same degree I love it's adult counterpart. It is just wrong to see teenagers slicked and glossed into fake images of themselves, earnestly imploring that they are 'passionate' about something. They should be on their chopper bikes, riding into cardboard boxes like they do on 'The Professionals"

Or am I showing my age ?

Steve said...

Joe: was Lucy the one that got "fired" this week? I thought she was the nicest of the lot - well mannered and gracious. Plainly wasted on Lord Sugar...

Keith: no, I totally agree. Both about them riding around on choppers and the Hadron Collider incident which denied us biological brotherhood.

Owen said...

Haven't seen or heard of the Apprentice, old or young, but your description of it brought to mind The Lord of the Flies... pretty damn scary...

Might be better not to watch at all, as it sounds positively poisonous... and there is already way too much poison around us all the time... But I'm sure you had your anti-poison cloak on...

Steve said...

Owen: I'm thinking of trading it in for a new one...

The Sagittarian said...

Oh my, didn't realise there were worse things than any Apprentice programme - sounds like a form of child abuse, get the parents!!

Steve said...

Amanda: I blame the parents.

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Ego, rather than genuine self-belief methinks.

But as one who has worked in the University system for 15 years, I know the type well and it's good that society is now also seeing them for what they are.

A kid can be evil from pretty well any age these days.

Steve said...

Laura: one word. Damian.

He's probably already here.