The man who reinvented Donald Trump
December 29, 2018 5:37 AM   Subscribe

"We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture. We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise." Mark Burnett is the TV producer of "The Apprentice", the show which revitalised Donald Trump's public persona and paved the way for his Presidency.
posted by epo (68 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
During a 2004 panel at the Museum of Television and Radio, in Los Angeles, Trump claimed that “every network” had tried to get him to do a reality show, but he wasn’t interested: “I don’t want to have cameras all over my office, dealing with contractors, politicians, mobsters, and everyone else I have to deal with in my business. You know, mobsters don’t like, as they’re talking to me, having cameras all over the room. It would play well on television, but it doesn’t play well with them.”
I mean... the only thing that could be even more on the nose is would be if he ran around the country yelling "you knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in."
posted by zachlipton at 5:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [62 favorites]


I’m not trying to claim I can see the future, but I’ve ranted to my wife many times that this shit wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for that stupid TV show.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:57 AM on December 29, 2018 [46 favorites]


I resent that the cultural critics of the 60s and 70s were right and TV did eventually destroy our brains.
posted by The Whelk at 6:06 AM on December 29, 2018 [83 favorites]


I resent that the cultural critics of the 60s and 70s were right and TV did eventually destroy our brains.

I watched Network for the first time recently. It felt depressingly prescient, and no-one did a goddamn thing to stop it.
posted by Merus at 6:24 AM on December 29, 2018 [16 favorites]


I’m going to wait until my paper copy of the New Yorker to arrive before reading this because flinging that across the room will be much less expensive than flinging my iPad.
posted by Ampersand692 at 6:32 AM on December 29, 2018 [52 favorites]


I resent that the cultural critics of the 60s and 70s were right and TV did eventually destroy our brains.

By now, I am convinced that social media is just as bad for us and in much the same way. Sure some good things come out of it, just like there are some good programs on TV, but on the whole I think it's warping our collective consciousness in really negative ways. The results are everywhere around us; Trump is no less a product of Twitter and Facebook than he is a product of TV.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:40 AM on December 29, 2018 [29 favorites]


It would be weird to go back in time to when like the first season of The Real World was airing in the 90s, and be like, “There is a direct line from this to fascism.”
posted by supercrayon at 6:42 AM on December 29, 2018 [90 favorites]


Synopsis: Mark Burnett is a modern-day PT Barnum. Somehow things went wrong and the Pumpkin-headed boy took over the circus.
posted by pangolin party at 6:45 AM on December 29, 2018 [11 favorites]


I mean, one of the early shows was literally called Big Brother, so...
posted by dbx at 6:46 AM on December 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


“just like life is kind of a mean game,” Burnett told CNN, in 2001. “Everyone’s out for themselves.”

No, it’s not. Choosing to believe that, and to act on that, to willfully profit from it by assembling damaged people specifically chosen for their utter inability to be humane to one another is part and parcel of the reason why people like this cancer on humanity thrive. Fuck this guy, and the damage he’s so proudly wrought.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [135 favorites]


Yeah, this notion that it's a dog-eat-dog world where the only virtues are selfishness and greed, and you gotta fuck over the other guy before he can fuck you, is poisonous and is probably the ultimate root cause of most evil in the world today.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 7:02 AM on December 29, 2018 [46 favorites]


A religious doctrine which can cause a person whose sole accomplishments are volunteering to be a British paratrooper in Troubles-era Ireland, making shows that valorize viciousness,and elevating a mumbling racist uncle to the presidency to feel he has God's favor is one that has no place in this world. It is Satanism, plain and simple, traveling using Christianity's passport.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:16 AM on December 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


And the kicker:
For nearly two decades, Burnett has also spoken about his desire to make a television show with Vladimir Putin. In 2001, he sought to enlist Putin in a project called “Destination: Mir,” a reality competition in which the winner would be sent into space. The idea was scuttled after Russia decommissioned the Mir space station. In 2015, Burnett expressed an interest in building a reality show featuring Putin—not so much a program about politics, Burnett suggested, as a hymn to the glory of Russia, “the humans, the nature, the animals of the nation.”
It's the Silvio Berlusconi-ization of world politics.
posted by clawsoon at 7:21 AM on December 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


And isn't this how Bannon got his money, as well?
posted by maxwelton at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2018


I was dumbfounded when I realized that the Apprentice ran for fifteen seasons. I watched a few episodes of the first season and then never really thought about it again until Trump started running for president. I really thought that it only ran for a couple of sad seasons and was forgotten about.
posted by octothorpe at 8:01 AM on December 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


I never saw a single episode of that show, but it is my least favorite show ever. It is a bad show, many people are saying this.
posted by Chronorin at 8:06 AM on December 29, 2018 [44 favorites]


this is the "true" story
of seven strangers estranged, barely human, oligarch-wannabe grifter shitstains
picked to live in a loft the White House
to find out what happens
when people stop being polite
and start getting real
posted by glonous keming at 8:20 AM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


trooooo storaaaaaay /extremelyjonbrennanvoice
posted by entropicamericana at 8:37 AM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


This paragraph suggests that the man who brought us this nightmare was, himself, an undocumented immigrant. An "illegal", in the current parlance. [Emphasis mine.]
When Burnett left the Army, after five years, his plan was to find work in Central America as a “weapons and tactics adviser”—not as a mercenary, he later insisted, though it is difficult to parse the distinction. Before he left, his mother told him that she’d had a premonition and implored him not to take another job that involved carrying a gun. Like Trump, Burnett trusts his impulses. “Your gut instinct is rarely wrong,” he likes to say. During a layover in Los Angeles, he decided to heed his mother’s admonition, and walked out of the airport. He later described himself as the quintessential immigrant: “I had no money, no green card, no nothing.” But the California sun was shining, and he was eager to try his luck.
posted by hippybear at 8:38 AM on December 29, 2018 [35 favorites]


My wife insisted on watching the first couple of seasons of Apprentice. It was so obvious from the start that Trump was a tasteless fraud and a liar, that it was inconceivable he would have any success in politics. The American viewing public and electorate are pitiful.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:20 AM on December 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


A few years ago I showed my kids Network, Merus. They didn't get that it was satire. It was just the tv news they could watch.
posted by doctornemo at 9:46 AM on December 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's been obvious from the start of Trump's political career that he was being run by much smarter people for their own reasons or aggrandizement--this guy, Bannon, Robert Mercer--but this part about The Apprentice really jumped out at me:
“The Apprentice” was built around a weekly series of business challenges. At the end of each episode, Trump determined which competitor should be “fired.” But, as Braun explained, Trump was frequently unprepared for these sessions, with little grasp of who had performed well. Sometimes a candidate distinguished herself during the contest only to get fired, on a whim, by Trump. When this happened, Braun said, the editors were often obliged to “reverse engineer” the episode, scouring hundreds of hours of footage to emphasize the few moments when the exemplary candidate might have slipped up, in an attempt to assemble an artificial version of history in which Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip decision made sense. During the making of “The Apprentice,” Burnett conceded that the stories were constructed in this way, saying, “We know each week who has been fired, and, therefore, you’re editing in reverse.” Braun noted that President Trump’s staff seems to have been similarly forced to learn the art of retroactive narrative construction, adding, “I find it strangely validating to hear that they’re doing the same thing in the White House.”
Also:
All the candidates paid lip service to the notion that Trump was a peerless businessman, but not all of them believed it. A standout contestant in Season 1 was Kwame Jackson, a young African-American man with an M.B.A. from Harvard, who had worked at Goldman Sachs. Jackson told me that he did the show not out of any desire for Trump’s tutelage but because he regarded the prospect of a nationally televised business competition as “a great platform” for career advancement. “At Goldman, I was in private-wealth management, so Trump was not, by any stretch, the most financially successful person I’d ever met or managed,” Jackson told me. He was quietly amused when other contestants swooned over Trump’s deal-making prowess or his elevated tastes—when they exclaimed, on tours of tacky Trump properties, “Oh, my God, this is so rich—this is, like, really rich!” Fran Lebowitz once remarked that Trump is “a poor person’s idea of a rich person,” and Jackson was struck, when the show aired, by the extent to which Americans fell for the ruse. “Main Street America saw all those glittery things, the helicopter and the gold-plated sinks, and saw the most successful person in the universe,” he recalled. “The people I knew in the world of high finance understood that it was all a joke.”
I want to see Trump turfed out and punished as much as anyone, but never forget the people who set him up and enabled him at every step of the way, who will escape punishment themselves, and who will doubtless already be looking for a replacement without Trump's numerous liabilities.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [75 favorites]


I am so weary of seeing that gold plated shitstain referred to as a 'poor person's idea of rich'. That's so fucking insulting. I lack cash flow, not aesthetics.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:36 AM on December 29, 2018 [67 favorites]


Better to say a stupid person’s idea of rich.
posted by valkane at 10:49 AM on December 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


> Somehow things went wrong and the Pumpkin-headed boy took over the circus.

I feel that's just the right kind of symbolism for a fairly decent Batman or Judge Dredd graphic novel.
posted by Leon at 10:54 AM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


hippybear: This paragraph suggests that the man who brought us this nightmare was, himself, an undocumented immigrant. An "illegal", in the current parlance. [Emphasis mine.]

Ha. Perfect. The other thing that occurred to me when I got to that paragraph is that if you mashed up the lyrics to Warren Zevon's "Lawyers Guns and Money" and "Jungle Work," but added the plot twist of the protagonist never being in any real danger and basking in the incandescence of his own white privilege you'd get a song about Mark Burnett.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:57 AM on December 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


Les Moonves, then the chairman of CBS, arranged for the delivery of a token of thanks—a champagne-colored Mercedes. To Burnett, the meaning of this gesture was unmistakable: “I had arrived.”

Toxic, predatory men slapping each other on the back FTW.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:59 AM on December 29, 2018 [17 favorites]


In the timeline where I'm in charge of this shit show, these people would be tried and convicted for the crime against humanity known as "Straight Up Frontin'" and they'd be sentenced to pick up trash and clean public restrooms at free market rates for the rest of their lives.

My imaginery timeline is very clean and shiny and there are many very nice public restrooms.
posted by loquacious at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2018 [32 favorites]


I watched Network for the first time recently. It felt depressingly prescient, and no-one did a goddamn thing to stop it.

It really was dead on, but it was received as satire that was almost over-the-top, I think. I don't know, I was just a kid....I remember seeing a trailer for it. TV news, in the mid-70s, was still a trusted and respected institution, and the idea that it would be sold out for sensationalistic profit-making spectacle seemed hyperbolic, I think.
posted by thelonius at 12:21 PM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


In the timeline where I'm in charge of this shit show, these people would be tried and convicted for the crime against humanity known as "Straight Up Frontin'" and they'd be sentenced to pick up trash and clean public restrooms at free market rates for the rest of their lives.

My imaginery timeline is very clean and shiny and there are many very nice public restrooms.


Impossible. That would require these people to put in a day of decent, honest work.
posted by tzikeh at 12:32 PM on December 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


In the opening episode of Season 11, the theatrical tension of the boardroom was suddenly punctured by an electronic trill. “Whose cell phone?” Trump growled.

“How do I turn this off?” Busey stuttered, fumbling with the tiny buttons.

“Gary, turn your cell phone off!” Trump said. It is strange to watch this kind of malarkey now and consider that only a few years later one of these men would be President.


In which someone with a traumatic brain injury is cast with the sole purpose of being an object of derision.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:50 PM on December 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


I have linked to this on the blue before, but it is worth remembering that one of the people executed for crimes against humanity after the Nuremburg trials was a newspaper editor: to quote from the judgement "Streicher's incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity."

Yes, media has changed, but that's tinkering with the method rather than changing the underlying playbook.
posted by Vortisaur at 1:10 PM on December 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


My boss at the time of That Infinitely Stupid TV Show actually wanted to make it madatory that all managers watch it and discuss it so we could learn-what? How to be assholes? I laughed and laughed in her face. Offered to watch once I got caught up on my never ending pile of work I wasn’t compensated for.
posted by RichardHenryYarbo at 1:59 PM on December 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think we're overdue for a movie treatment of Bug Jack Barron.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Katherine Walker suggested that part of the reason Burnett seems so unfazed by the role he has played in the Trump saga may be that he is British. “There is something to being American and having these visceral reactions that Mark doesn’t have,” she said. “He just doesn’t get it on that level. I don’t think he has the same sense of Oh, my God, what have I done?” For many Americans, the Trump Presidency evokes a painful feeling of dispossession, as cherished norms and national institutions are eviscerated. “People are making it seem like Mark’s ignoring evil,” Walker continued. “But I think it’s more benign than that—and scarier, in a way. He doesn’t care. He just wants to stay out of it.”

DSM 5 has a few things to say about this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


There is a direct line from this to fascism.

I hate to admit that my younger brother was right about anything, but he totally called this back in 1996 or so and I should probably give him props.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Devils advocate: If you're gonna say Trump became president because of his reality show, you have to say Obama helped him by making fun of him for it. That was the real trigger that pushed Trump to do it.
posted by fungible at 5:36 PM on December 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


Obama treated Trump as exactly the fool and fraud he is. Obama rightly ridiculed the gathered sycophant press who treated Trump as a serious person rather than a reality show celebrity. Too bad so few have had the courage to follow Obama's lead.
posted by JackFlash at 5:58 PM on December 29, 2018 [15 favorites]


aspersioncast: I hate to admit that my younger brother was right about anything, but he totally called this back in 1996 or so and I should probably give him props.

I mean, epony-fraternal-sterical, but you can't leave it like that. What did your brother say in 1996, and about what?
posted by tzikeh at 5:59 PM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]



It would be weird to go back in time to when like the first season of The Real World was airing in the 90s, and be like, “There is a direct line from this to fascism.”

COPS must've had something to do with it, too.
posted by methinks at 6:19 PM on December 29, 2018 [8 favorites]


So this man is basically Kingpin and he launched this world into the worst Spidey-verse.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:21 PM on December 29, 2018


I literally lol'ed at the part where the former chairman of MGM is described as "thrifty" because he "liked to spend weekends quietly tending to the racehorses he owns". The rich are different from you and me.
posted by peeedro at 6:43 PM on December 29, 2018 [10 favorites]


PBS did a biographical overview of Trump and Hillary before the election. In it, Roger Stone was asked why people would vote for Trump, and he said that Trump was regularly portrayed as the ultimate businessman on national television. The interviewer replied, "Yes, but on a reality T.V. show". Stone shot back "T.V. is T.V."
posted by xammerboy at 7:05 PM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this notion that it's a dog-eat-dog world where ... you gotta fuck over the other guy before he can fuck you

I was enlightened by clawsoon's comment about this from almost a year ago (in a post about manly men's resistance to green behaviors); maybe you'll be, also.
posted by Rash at 8:13 PM on December 29, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am so weary of seeing that gold plated shitstain referred to as a 'poor person's idea of rich'. That's so fucking insulting. I lack cash flow, not aesthetics.
posted by Space Kitty at 19:36 on December 29 [37 favorites +] [!]

Right. Riches famously do not correlate very well taste. Literally the nouveau riche and starving artists. And, forget about causation.

Better to say a stupid person’s idea of rich.
posted by valkane at 19:49 on December 29 [17 favorites +] [!]

Better is some ways, but worse in others. We keep talking about how stupid Trump is and this is his vision of rich. But, when applied to the viewers and general public this isn't being poor or being stupid. It's experience--or lack there of. Class experience. It's not having ever been around the upper classes and the truly wealthy and how they live or operate.
posted by Gotanda at 8:49 PM on December 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


But, it's like, I mean... have you ever been to any of those Rococo mansions in Europe? It's not like those were paragons of well-expressed taste, and those actually were the upper classes.

There's a lot of grotesquery of different sorts when it comes to money spending money to look like its spending money as a signifier that it has money. That's Trump, that's Louis XIV, that's a lot of things.
posted by hippybear at 9:00 PM on December 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


What did your brother say in 1996, and about what?

That The Real World (and reality tv in general) was going to destroy democracy - I'll have to see if he remembers his exact phrasing because it was funnier than that, but we just revisited the conversation recently and I can still recall snippets of it pretty clearly. It was something along the lines of "this is where we're all headed, everything is going to be just hamming for the camera like WWF, except they'll start sneaking in ads and politicians more and more until that's how everything works."
posted by aspersioncast at 9:09 PM on December 29, 2018 [12 favorites]


Obama treated Trump as exactly the fool and fraud he is. Obama rightly ridiculed the gathered sycophant press who treated Trump as a serious person rather than a reality show celebrity. Too bad so few have had the courage to follow Obama's lead.
On Bolsonaro's rise
posted by Apocryphon at 10:00 PM on December 29, 2018


Obama had already been the focus of Trump's ridicule through literally years of his Birtherism bullshit, so he was also sort of responding in kind. Not perhaps the best way to respond to a bully, but Luther hadn't been invented at that point in time.
posted by hippybear at 10:05 PM on December 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Fourteen seasons. Gah.
posted by tilde at 8:14 AM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


This has been sticking in my mind, this article, this guy. It finally clicked, it’s the Seder, and he’s the wicked son, asking “what do these societal mores of decency and cooperation, so that even the lowest does not suffer, mean to you?”

The response is clear. He is to be shunned, to be cast out. He cannot understand the concept of society coming together to create something more than the sum of its parts, and as such, he deserves no place in it, and no sustenance from it.

Instead, he’s disgustingly rich, and we live in the shadow of the rot he’s created.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:32 AM on December 30, 2018 [10 favorites]


"Here's what Woody said:
As I look around, it's mighty hard to see
This wide and wicked world is a funny place to be;
The gambling man is rich, and the working man is poor,
And I can't feel at home in this world any more"

Geoff Muldaur The World is Not My Home
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:27 AM on December 30, 2018


John Mulaney; Donald Trump is what a hobo imagines a rich man to be
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:26 PM on December 30, 2018


DSM 5 has a few things to say about this.

A non-American not caring about American politics in the same visceral, emotional way that an American does is not psychopathic. I have opinions about politics in all kinds of countries but I only get real feelings of revulsion and fear (or joy and pride) from politics in my own country. Isn't some version of that natural?

The DSM also probably has a few things to say about all the Americans in this thread who are absolutely fuming at someone who... made a reality show with a comical businessman. There's no indication that he was involved with the campaign, I guarantee you that as a foreign national he didn't vote for him! To me, it looks like an attempt to displace the collective guilt of the American people for voting for this man (more or less) onto someone who objectively speaking is guilty of nothing more than making bad television.

I mean, Julius Streicher? Really? Every racist uncle who voted for Trump (something that Mr Burnett is not able to do) is somehow let off the hook because someone who cuts together a reality show put a comical character in it.
posted by atrazine at 7:00 AM on December 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm afraid you've misread the application of the word clown. Donald Trump is not, and never has been "a comical character." The outrages he's spent his life perpetrating on our cities and citizens are not amusing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:36 AM on December 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


I think that clowning is an essential part of Donald Trump's public act. The hair and the makeup and the intentional twitter typos are all there to provide detractors a shallow critique instead of a substantial one. Look at how Alec Baldwin portrays him on SNL, he plays a dope and dummy which doesn't take any of the wind out of Trump's sails. Baldwin could but doesn't show Trump to be the cruel blowhard abuser and bully that provides the real source of his political power.
posted by peeedro at 9:56 AM on December 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


Mark me down as another old who shook is head in disgust when the Real World etc. replaced music videos. I also am proud to have never seen COPS or the Apprentice or any of that. It all just feels exploitative and dumb and, duh, fake. I don’t get it.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:11 AM on December 31, 2018


Reading the Burnett piece reminded me of a Harper's piece from the early 90s called "Tales From the Cutting Room Floor." I found this this scanned pdf.

Long story short, the author worked in the cutting room for a police reality show in the early 90s, and it's interesting to read in light of the degree to which reality TV has taken over broadcast television. She walks you through the contortions they went through to make the cops look good (she sees them shaking people down time and again - and much more - in the raw footage) and strip away any temptation towards feeling empathy for the people they're busting for penny-ante victimless offences. And here we are, over 25 years later.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:09 PM on December 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


Impossible. That would require these people to put in a day of decent, honest work.

Yes, but there's so many of them!
posted by loquacious at 5:29 PM on December 31, 2018


Burnett sometimes went so far as to imply that Trump’s involvement in “The Apprentice” was a form of altruism. “This is Donald Trump giving back,” he told the Times in 2003, then offered a vague invocation of post-9/11 civic duty: “What makes the world a safe place right now? I think it’s American dollars, which come from taxes, which come because of Donald Trump.”
It's far from the most infuriating anecdote in the article, but it sure jumped out at me.
posted by ckape at 7:29 PM on December 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


ckape: It's far from the most infuriating anecdote in the article, but it sure jumped out at me.

The calculation (throughout the article) seems to be, "Donald Trump makes for entertaining television. Entertaining television that I'm in charge of makes me rich and powerful. Donald Trump only wants to work with people who say ridiculously positive things about him. Therefore, my easiest path to being rich and powerful is to say ridiculously positive things about Donald Trump. Ergo, this ridiculous statement."
posted by clawsoon at 8:41 PM on December 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


My objection was not to calling Trump a clown, because I think he is one, but to saying that he is comical, which he is not.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:33 AM on January 1, 2019


A non-American not caring about American politics in the same visceral, emotional way that an American does is not psychopathic. I have opinions about politics in all kinds of countries but I only get real feelings of revulsion and fear (or joy and pride) from politics in my own country. Isn't some version of that natural?

For someone steeped in a culture that survives psychologically by depersoning the objects of its colonial power projection, yes, it is "natural."
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 9:36 AM on January 1, 2019


The hair and the makeup and the intentional twitter typos are all there to provide detractors a shallow critique instead of a substantial one.

Or he could just be a vain, semi-senile, semi-literate idiot who also happens to be an evil, egotistical autocrat. Does the rest of his behavior support the idea that Trump is a calculating strategic dissembler capable of playing a long con even when doing so invites constant public mockery? Or does it seem more likely that he is just a thin-skinned, ill-informed, impulse-driven bully who got where he is through a combination of money and shouting?
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2019 [9 favorites]


I mean the history of autocrats is littered with dictators who couldn't strategize their way out of a wet paper bag, and for that matter dictators who were quite obviously gibbering, frothing maniacs. You don't have to be smart or competent to be in charge. Examples are everywhere.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 2:15 PM on January 1, 2019 [6 favorites]


For someone steeped in a culture that survives psychologically by depersoning the objects of its colonial power projection, yes, it is "natural."

Do you really have the same emotional reaction when Duterte says something vile as you do when Donny from Queens does?
posted by atrazine at 7:16 AM on January 2, 2019


Fifteen years and one day ago, The Apprentice debuted on NBC. I only made it through the first season, with the help of Mefi's own Linda Holmes' recaps for Television Without Pity (archive). When the 2nd season came around, I didn't watch, because I didn't think the show could get any better.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:43 PM on January 9, 2019


We were forced to watch this show for my economics class in high school (my teacher was retiring and had pretty much checked out). I hated it then and used it as one of my quick reasons to not vote for Trump ("I hated him on the Apprentice, why would I want to have to watch him for four years?")

Now that he's president, I feel like forcing us to watch it has now become retroactively political.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:33 AM on January 10, 2019 [1 favorite]


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