Sugar is Kosher; Stupidity and Michaels Chicken Arent
by Ian R Thorpe
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: gordon brown, labour, prime minister, downing street, movie, television, satire, humour, humor
I have not been able to get interested in this new television series of The Apprentice with a bunch of chavs trying to demonstrate their budding business acumen to Lord Sugar and his sidekicks. The usual crop of desperate wannabes on The Apprentice are aged beteen twenty and thirty and thus have had time to develop the unique and idiosyncratic personality flaws and disorders that make them such a repulsive and obnoxious bunch of are kissing, back stabbing attention seekers as you could imagine, as repulsive as the desperate wannabe Celebs and Pop Stars of Big Brother and the X Factor rolled into one.
The regular Apprentices are entertaningly unpleasant in different ways, sixteen year olds (and I know, I was one once) are all unpleasant in the same way, mostly because of that hormony miasma that hangs around them.
Still ~I can always look back on my favourite Apprentice moment, the Kosher chicken episode. For arrogance, ignorance, misplaced self belief and sheer stupidity this will never be beaten.
Sir Alan Sugar and his sidekicks in that series, Margaret Mountford and Nick Hewer like The Three Amigos had known each other for years, they complemented each other, they had all the schtick of an experienced comedy act, the knowing glances, the raised eyebrows etc. They knew how to deal with upstarts.
Young wannabes however will always think they can outsmart such old hands, I did at that stage of my career, so did most of you who have scaled the career ladder I expect. We know what to expect from the Apprentices.
The Apprentices did not disappoint; they were as odious a bunch of ambitious, selfish, untrustworthy, nasty, egotistical, back stabbing, self pitying zero-talents as a manager could ever hope not to meet.
Marvelling at their sheer horribleness on tele is a different matter though. They are compulsive viewing.
One week Sir Alan Sugar selected two teams and set them the task of travelling to Morocco and in the souks of Marrakech haggling to get the best prices for goods from the local traders. The teams were sent off with an extremely detailed list of specifications for what they were to buy, a fixed amount of money and a strict time limit.
The tanned cows hide complete with tail did not prove a problem. The team led by nice Jewish boy Michael Sophocles soon found a shop selling hides and leather goods in the souk and the nice Jewish boy (the significance of which will become apparent,) thought he was the dogs bollocks when he haggled the trader down from Ł200 to Ł54. So pleased with himself was Michael that he told everyone he was the dogs bollocks loudly and often.
The other team did not fare so well with the hide, they sought out the tannery district of the souk (like a city within a city with over twenty miles of alleyways covering many acres) and had to brave the smells of traditional leather making, a craft that put urine to good use.
Other items on the list, a cactus, a Berber rug and a juicer (I said the list was bizarre) were not difficult. Nor were the medium strung tennis rackets so Michaels team thought they would gain advantage by bribing the shop to delay the stringing until the following day, incurring a penalty for the team.
Things started to get tough with the Mosque Alarm Clock. These wonderful gadgets are cheap alarm clocks housed in a marble effect plastic case shaped like a mosque.
What is wonderful about Mosque Alarm Clocks is they rouse sleepers with a call to prayer, Allahu Akbar, pronounced in stentorian tones. I want one to put in the guest bedroom, nobody would ever outstay their welcome.
Problem for the Apprentices, Sir Alan wanted a green one and green was not the in colour for Mosque Alarm Clocks in Morocco. There was a desperate chase round the electrical quarter before both teams found what they needed.
The most difficult item on the list for the team led by the nice Jewish boy was the kosher chicken. While their rivals headed for the Jewish quarter of the souk led by a young Asian woman who knew how souks, bazaars etc. are divided into different areas for different religions and trades, Michaels team spent a long time discussing what kosher actually was before the nice Jewish boy persuaded them it was the Muslim rule that requires meat to be blessed by someone from the mosque. They rushed off to find a Halal butcher.
I should mention here that Alan Sugar is Jewish. Nobody except perhaps his Dear Old Mum has ever accused him of being nice. People do not get to be billionaires by being nice.
Watched by their accompanying judge Margaret who constantly rolled her eyes at the sheer stupidity of what was happening, the team asked about getting someone from the mosque to bless their chicken so it would be kosher. A not so innocent bystander helpfully told them that in Islam all butchers premises are classed as mosques for purposes of blessing kosher meat.
See, Muslims do have a sense of humour.
A bemused butcher finally agreed to say a prayer over the chicken before slaughtering it.
Back in the boardroom at the end of the show Sir Alan faced nice Jewish boys team. He was not impressed with the report his fellow judge had brought him. The show's catchphrase, YOURE FIRED seemed to be dancing on his lips.
First he reprimanded Jenny who had been appointed team leader for letting Michael usurp her leadership. Then he said YOURE FIRED to another Jenny for organising the attempt to sabotage the opposing teams tennis rackets. Then he asked the nice Jewish boy to tell him about the cow hide.
Yeah well putting the tennis rackets behind us, I did great with the hide, Michael burbled, I haggled them down from Ł200 to Ł54,
He was like a puppy expecting to have its tummy tickled.
Yeah, nothing wrong with that, said Sir Alan, his face a mask, unfortunately the other team went to the tanners quarter and bought a hide for Ł15. Then the teeth bared and the claws came out.
You were supposed to get a kosher chicken, was the one you bought a halal chicken.
No Surralan, it was a kosher chicken, someone from the mosque blessed it. Michael cowered.
Michael, you put on your CV that you are a nice Jewish boy. Im Jewish, did you think that would impress me?
No Surralan, I am Jewish.
Then how come you dont know what kosher means to Jewish people? Are you Jewish or did you lie to impress me?
Well I erm I erm well erm...
You dont know whether you are Jewish, drop your trousers, well soon tell you.
Margaret and Nick exchanged a look that said we feel sorry for him but were having too much fun to help. Michaels eyes roamed round the studio as if he was looking for a straw to clutch at.
I erm um er Im half Jewish.
Half Jewish, bellowed Sugar, well in that case you should know half of what is going on.
Looking at the whole team Sugar said coldly, I asked for a kosher chicken, you brought me a halal chicken because none of you knew what kosher means. His sneering tone and curled lip suggested the team would have done better had they tried to fob him off with a kosher pork pie.
As the judges pondered the fate of Michael, Nick said, I cant understand it, he is clever, he has an honours degree from Edinburgh University.
Margaret bounced it back, I think Edinburgh is not what it was.
A great line for the occasion but not quite fair to Edinburghs excellent University. Michaels plight is an illustration of something I notice more and more. Young people coming out of education are equipped not with insatiable curiosity, a desire to know what is going on and to understand as much about everything as they possibly can, but with insatiable ambition, a swollen and inflamed ego, a blinkered world view, arrogance and a sense of entitlement.
There is an African proverb that should be posted on the wall of every classroom:
Not to know is bad, to not want to know is unforgivable.
Modern education is teaching people to not want to know, to not care and thus to not be aware of things in their world. We have a generation of Michaels getting set to become world leaders in business and politics.
Apprentice Speak: Talking Corporate Bollocks.
As the government tried to sell off last year's stock of swine flu by telling us the pandemic that did not happen last year had come back to not happen again this year. There is a pandemic running round at the moment though as evidenced by this year's UK run of The Appentice on television. If Lord Sugar's candidates were as good at getting things done as they are at talking management spek bollocks he's be on a winner.
Five A DayA recent survey on our understanding of a portion of fruit and veg shows that 25% of the surveyed adults thought orange squash counted as a portion of fruit. A can of Tango must count as two portions then. Add a portion of lemon meringue pie and you're almost there! Somehow we supect Nanny State's nagging about the health benefits of five a day ae falling on deaf earsIf you liked this, please give it a boost
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