The sado-masochistic-voyeuristic discourse of the Apprentice

Posted in Media by Deputy city editor on May 30, 2007

Big other

“…an unintentional but brutal satire of business…” is k-punk‘s take on the Apprentice. I think this show has nothing to do with business. It is entirely a question of media studies. In his novel 1984 George Orwell described the two-minute hate, accurately foretelling a staple of future television entertainment. He even modelled his Ministry of Truth on the BBC so it is fitting that the BBC brings us this pillory drama in which “contestants” are humiliated and bullied not merely as entertainment but as the fulfillment of the loathing and contempt of the audience for those (the BBC sees) as “business” people. Greedy, ambitious, venal, dishonest, hopeless – who could not despise them?

Nobody in their right mind would hire any of the so-called contestants on the Apprentice but this is not the point. If Sir Alan is so drop-dead shrewd as we are meant to accept, would he really use this method to hire anyone? Nobody subjects themselves to this humiliation/exposure game to “win” a job as Sir Alan’s “apprentice” that pays – hold your breath! – £100,000 a year! (You do not need to be on the Rich List to share the joke.) The idea is to get a job in television.



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