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"You're fired, Mr. Trump"

Posted May 25 2009 11:29pm
Imagine these words hitting our "industry captain" in some parallel Universe, which evolved beyond the survival of the "craftiest" stage. Here on Earth that struggle creates good television ratings; just on Monday, after “Apprentice”s finale, when Mr. Trump and Miss California were interviewed by Matt Lauer on another "prescient" matter, Mr. Trump hastened to point out his show’s ratings, unmentioned and unrelated to the interview’s agenda. Mr. Trump feeds on TV appearances, forever grooming his duck-butt hairdo and his image of the "biggest celebrity" (self-quote). On his "Apprentice" show he plays God before the contestants, as he quasi reveals the principles of success in business. But who are the contestants? Men & women of achievement in various professions: sportspeople, entertainers, performers, former Playboy bunnies, even a poker player – in the latest episode, i.e. "celebrities." If we haven't heard of them, that's why they enter the show! What moral code is revealed in Mr. Trump's boardroom: – team playing until the last act, when all niceties of civil behavior fall away & like gladiators, actors go for each other's jugular. Two absolute "Never-No's" of Mr. Trump's commandments:

1. Never quit voluntarily in anticipation of being fired - i.e. Don't deprive Mr. Trump of his favorite motto – You're fired!
2. Never offer to be "sacrificed", i.e. volunteer for possible elimination out of loyalty to a team member! In other words, when in a life threatening situation, don't mind your crew and the ship, save your own skin, captain Richard Phillips on Maersk!

Sometimes Mr. Trump relents from his iron code & consoles a contestant before firing him/her, recognizing he/she is "too nice a person" for the business world. On the other hand, the unabashedly obnoxious people are invited back for another season; they heighten the conflict in the contest drama. Sometimes a team wins by only a few dollars difference, yet that doesn't spare it from being shamed and ridiculed by Mr. Trump & the "winners". I am reminded of the dignified Captain Lee of Confederacy surrendering to the Union; the Union soldiers were warned not to jeer at their defeated compatriots. For Mr. Trump no one’s dignity, beside his own is untouchable. The show is a study in people's behavior: extreme competitiveness, the interplay of shifting “alliances” & betrayals toward the final goal – winning. The goal justifies the means. The prize is secondary to the contestants’ ego-gratification. Animosities & strategies toward this goal build an interesting game and the business model of life according to Mr. Trump.

If there is another planet, where the highest functioning beings didn't evolve by “natural selection of the fittest", a Universe built on principle of individuals striving for self-
realization, moral rectitude and compassion – Mr. Trump's kind would be the society‘s yahoos.

Finally, the show’s grand finale. Industrial strength hype is on. The finalists, Annie, the poker player, and the comedian Joan Rivers "hate each other's guts". Mr. Trump pokes the flame of antagonism by repeatedly asking opponents about their feelings toward each other. Annie is a superb fund-raiser. Her poker buddies don't feel the weight of money, they haven't earned by hard work; they plunk it down as easily as they shuffle it in on the green table. Annie plays her charm card; she has made gambling glamorous & her buddies generously support her effort. Joan, on the other hand, reveals true emotion. Her phone-calls inviting celebrities to the auction stayed unanswered & she ingeniously hired their gay impersonators; Lisa Minelli, Carol Channing, even a Joan Rivers’ double greeted & mingled with the guests. Later Mr. Trump confessed, that the real Joan plays herself much better! The party in Joan's quarters was well attended, lively, people having fun. In Annie's hall – fewer people, but Annie unloaded their “spare cash.”

The auction party over – contestants and previously “fired” celebrities – invited back for the final show, enter the board room. Annie wears a self-assured smile. Joan is composed and satisfied, regardless of the final verdict. Her experience of love given and received makes her a winner in her mind. In this show’s episode there are four more criteria beside the money raised, to judge the winner by. Annie raised almost three times the Joan's amount. Impressive! Joan won in three other categories. Mr. Trump delays the winner announcement; he asks the fired celebrities to pick a winner. Unexpectedly, majority pick Joan. Then he asks contestants themselves. Annie's ego, the driving dynamo of her actions, springs forward. Joan is proud & calm, standing for the old-fashioned values: honesty, integrity, charity. She opens a wider vista of humanity and reputation of America: we are a charitable country! While Any's charity is for the refugees worldwide – shown on a big screen – certainly a worthy cause, Joan is shown visiting & bringing lunches to lonely, physically impaired people right in New York City. She is seen in the charity's kitchen distributing meals. She is compassion itself. While Mr. Trump personally likes and admires Joan’s gift of comedy, Annie's ruthless, conniving "break-through" quality is his very success model, close to his heart. Whom will he pick? Could it be that his business and celebrity gravitas notwithstanding, he too stands under the producer's moral pressure, to pick a “designated” winner? Finally, he announces: Joan wins and it’s “You're fired, Annie”. Good night, America, you can go to bed with a good feeling that like in a fairy tale - compassion (the good) has won over "crafty"(the evil)! "See you next season" – pipes Mr. Trump to the camera, like blowing a kiss, in closing. The End.

©2009 Vlasta Diamant
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