Comedienne Joan Rivers will face off against poker player Annie Duke in the final of Celebrity Apprentice this weekend. There was never any doubt about this. The two will be a television spectacle, a sort of modern day version of The Fox and the Crow and no producer or scheduler in their right mind would have passed up the opportunity. Donald, it was not worthy of you to pretend otherwise, particularly when it meant your loyal viewers had to endure the preening Piers Morgan (a former tabloid editor who knows what makes a good story) pretending to adjudicate and appearing to advise the demise of Jesse (who we liked until he got huffy) and Brande (who wouldn’t cry in case she got puffy).
Anyhow, the Crone will be propped in front of her telly this weekend, cheering on Joan. She was never a fan of Ms Rivers before, finding her sex-n-surgery stage act more than a little wearing. Now though, she has seen a different side of the hard-talking hag and is cheering her all the way to the final boardroom, even though she fears Joan cannot win. The Crone, you see, has much in common with The Joan. Yes, yes, both have seen better days, are unlucky in love and appear to be destined to work ’til they drop, but this is not what has spiked the Crone’s concern. In Joanie, the Crone sees a quick thinker, an energetic champion, a loyal teammate and an impassioned mom. She also sees a woman whose tongue often runs away with her–a gift of the gab turned into a tinker’s curse–and someone whose faith in the force of her own personality allows her to think that anything can be achieved if you just push, shove, barge, blether, charm, cajole, coerce, fume, fizz, harangue and harrumph hard enough. The Joan we have seen in The Donald’s boardroom is committed and empathetic. She is heartfelt and generous; frank and forthright. She displays guts –spills them–and never shuts up. Her opponent, though no shrinking violet, is more wily and watchful. She waits. She weighs the risk. She works out the options of others, their likely moves and her own next step forward. She test theories, she runs plans, she never loses focus and she keeps her mouth shut. When she does speak her words plant careful landmines for others to step upon and detonate. Team mates or opponents, they all do her dirty work without even knowing it, and the collateral damage is all theirs. While Joan yells and stomps and hurts and works her heart out, Annie is still and holds herself separate from the swirl. Joan’s face, famously, is frozen by endless surgeries and botox raids but still her eyes and her mouth tell her story: sparking tears,;spewing fire; softening unexpectedly. Annie’s features may be more mobile, but she is more truly masked, her heart always hidden.
The Crone this week took part in a discussion session on risk–how to assess it, and how to manage it. The program was for big business types worried about swine flu and terror attacks, or internal fraud and failures of strategy. There was much talk of risk appetite and risk aversion. All of it caused the Crone to suddenly see that she is not so much a risk taker, as just risk oblivious. She simply doesn’t stop to think, and if thought of disaster does cross her mind, its usually competing with too many other bright and shiny options. The Crone has too high an opinion of her own ability to turn things around and make them come out right. Her attitude is endlessly ” How bad can it be?” and the description ‘harum scarum’ could have been invented for her. This is why she keeps running out of gas–literally and figuratively. The Joans and the Crones of this world can get a lot done, and give a lot of people a lot of fun along the way, but they go about it the hard way and, while they talk a good game, they are not always a good bet. The Crone predicts that Annie will win on Sunday, bringing home the big prize for her charity. From what we’ve seen on TV, she’s hard to like, and harder to trust, but her personal mastery, essential to all leaders, is second to none. Leaders though, need followers, and even the Donald, perhaps more of a Joan than an Annie, questioned whether anyone would sign up to stand alongside Annie Duke, a lone gun.