Apprentice
Send In The Crowns

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Miss Alli: B+ | Grade It Now!
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The Tooth Hurts

The Apexiennes, in their van, discuss the "buzz" matter with the PM of the week, who is Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells them that her management style is to delegate things to everybody else, and then everybody else is responsible for producing their part of the work. Which is convenient for her, if you think about it, because it's unlikely that the delegating itself will go horribly awry, unless she forgets the names of the women on the team. ("You delegated that task to Kirsten." "So?" "There isn't anyone on the team named Kirsten. Good guess, though.") Elizabeth interviews that, in fact, she had previously worked for P&G in her actual life, so she thinks that if she hadn't volunteered to lead, it would have looked bad. (May I say, without unnecessarily spoiling the episode, that she seems to have neglected to note that if she did lead and sucked, it would look even worse?)

In the van, the Apexiennes start talking celebrity endorsers. "How about 'Come brush your teeth with P. Diddy'?" Sandy asks. ["Great idea! Now get out of your time machine and come back to 2004 with the rest of us." -- Wing Chun] Elizabeth tells us that the team had found an agency called Alliance that does promotions with celebrities, and that the agency was going to help them out. They go into an office to meet with The Oiliest Man Ever, who is apparently one of the agent guys. He gets on the phone with someone and talks about how he needs a celebrity for half an hour to an hour, just "to create a stir." Like, just a stir? I would think any celebrity who could be paid to swear drunkenly would work for "a stir." Paging Courtney Love! Ah, but Elizabeth says to the OME that "it has to be someone mainstream." The OME suggests LL Cool J, to which the other women respond positively. Elizabeth, however, warily says, "I don't feel like LL Cool J's mainstream." Ugh. ["Yeah. He was reeeeal edgy in Deep Blue Sea." -- Wing Chun] Sandy and Jennifer C., who are with Elizabeth at the meeting, try to correct this misapprehension, because seriously? LL Cool J is Will Smith, only less so. LL Cool J is totally mainstream. He's pop-hip-hop-rap, and that's a very, very wide cultural swath, not that Elizabeth seems to know this. There were people on the forums who believed that Elizabeth meant that the person had to be white when she said "mainstream," and I don't think it's that -- especially not consciously. What I do think is that pop-hip-hop-rap is not Elizabeth's own cultural niche, so she subconsciously under-measures its celebrities. It's not surprising, nor does it necessarily make her a racist. It just means she doesn't know pop culture all that broadly. I don't think she meant white -- to return to my previous example, there's no way she would have said no to Will Smith. Or Queen Latifah, or somebody else who is a big enough star. I just think that she uses her own frame of reference, so somebody who's Famous but not Superduperfamous right at the moment, such as LL Cool J, is downgraded in her rating system because she's not as familiar with what he does. People who are equally famous in areas of culture you don't follow don't feel like they're that famous to you, and you don't have to be a bad person to react that way. I would do the same thing with country musicians. You could give me one with an actual Fame Quotient of 8, and I'd grade him a 6, because I don't listen to country music. But of course, my family used to have a cat named Marmalade, whom we called "Marma," and my sister used to sing, "Marma said knock you oooouuut" to him, so that's the only thing I think of when I think about LL Cool J. So what do I know?

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Apprentice

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