Thursday, March 8, 2012

Paul Teutul on The Celebrity Apprentice

I think that Paul Teutul Sr.’s appearance on the most recent season of The Celebrity Apprentice is interesting to think about in terms of Carroll’s argument about the significance of American Chopper.  Carroll discusses the changing economic climate in the United States and what this has meant for the idea of masculine professions.  The move away from an economy centered on labor to one that is service oriented has also meant a disappearance of traditionally masculine jobs, or jobs that involve hard labor.  The characters of American Chopper represent a nostalgic view of these traditionally masculine professions.  The employees of Orange County Chopper make their money through manual labor; they get their hands dirty and craft motorcycles from scratch.  They are also big, tough looking men that are undeniably representative of the traditional ideal of masculinity.
            That is why it is interesting that Paul Teutul Sr. is now appearing on The Celebrity Apprentice, where the work that he has to perform is based more on intellect than manual labor.  Teutul’s move from American Chopper to The Celebrity Apprentice mirrors the shift from an economy focused on manual labor to one that is centered on service and is more dependent on intellect.  Depending on how he is portrayed on the show, his appearance could also demonstrate the incompatibility of the traditional ideas about masculinity in a service-oriented society.  If he is portrayed as a joke or gets eliminated early, it would show how a working class individual is unable to succeed in the current economy.  The traditional idea of masculinity being tough and labor-oriented, this would also show that the typical idea of “masculine” must change in order to be successful in today’s society.  Teutul’s appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice could potentially become symbolic of the necessary change of the ideas of masculinity in modern society.

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