Jerry Springer has the most random job
How was your day at work Jerry? “It was alright. I spoke to a man who married a horse.”
Jerry Springer is a huge deal in the US. Think Jeremy Kyle, but significantly more famous and eminently more likeable.
His show has been running for 25 years and has come to redefine Television indefinitely. Partly thanks to his show, TV bosses realised how much money is to be made in facile reality TV.
But Springer has so much more to offer than sound bites about his “circus” show. He speaks affectionately, albeit a little apathetically about the show. What makes Jerry spring is politics. “Politics is my passion!” he enthuses.
The Jerry Springer Show started out “like all other talk shows”, featuring discussion of politically contentious issues at the time, such as interracial marriage. The decision to “target young people on young subject matter” meant the show developed into what it is today, a platform for “crazy stuff” like that “guy who married a horse”.
Despite the show being about “dysfunctional, outrageous, inappropriate behaviour”, Springer manages to come to the conclusion that it serves as “a reminder of how we’re all alike- we all want to be happy, and all get pissed off when things don’t go well”.
Its just an issue of self-presentation. For the hapless people on the show who haven’t been afforded the luxury of a “great education”, lessons about how to “deal with internal anger and learn self-presentation” haven’t been taught.
Jerry reckons that if a professor from Oxford (not Cambridge, he jokes, keeping in line with the long tradition of speakers making references to the non-existent rivalry between the two universities), “found his wife in bed with another man, he wouldn’t exclaim ‘Forsyth my Dear. What is it that I have found!’ I can guarantee he’d scream and punch and do everything people do on my show” – just not in public.
Springer jokes that “it’s the most fun job you can imagine”, whilst accepting that the show “has no purpose” apart from giving the audience “relief from your life for an hour”. That seems to be the general point about television, right?
Springer certainly isn’t contented just sitting on his laurels (and $$$), kicking back with a caipirinha and watching the sunset over Malibu beach. Instead he flies to England to give a talk about ‘Liberalism and the US Presidential Election’ in a cold and draughty building filled with slightly bleary-eyed students.
Politics is his passion but Springer never “wanted to mix up my living with my politics”. He argues, “it becomes intellectually dishonest if the way I support my family is by being in office, that means I have to win the next election if I want to put continue to put food on the table for our family”.
This is arguably a bit of a simplistic interpretation of politics vocations since past experience actually shows that politicians tend to be okay when they get booted out. I mean look at our dear old Julian. He seems to be doing okay for himself now.
On the one hand he argues for the deprofessionalization of politics, yet urges against Donald Trump becoming president since, “Why would you choose someone who hasn’t being involved in government before?”
Clinton is the best candidate for the job because politics “in her DNA. She’d go in day one prepared”.
He justifies this tension in his thought to me by saying, “I want you to have some experience before you take on the biggest job in the world”. Fair enough.
The success of The Jerry Springer Show, which feeds off controversial participants and the huge popularity of the divisive Donald Trump begs the question: what is it about controversy that sells? Springer pauses for a second before launching into his explanation for this situation. British newspapers, much like American TV “sell because they get controversy”.
This realisation came “with the Vietnam war and Watergate”, events both proving “politicians weren’t always telling us the truth”. After this, “anyone going into journalism wanted to be the next one to find the biggest scandal…if we can show that they’re not saintly, we will sell papers.”
The public’s desire for scandal and revelation of deception in part explains the success of figures such as Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump. They realise people love scandal, so why not build your platform upon that very premise?
Springer can only laugh at the hypocrisy this kind of system introduces. When interviewed on News Channels, Jerry is constantly grilled, “How can you put that stuff on air?” He laughs despairingly, “the hypocrisy is unbelievable”. All day in the build up to his interview, the news channel will run clips from his show “of people fighting because they know that will get more people to watch”.
He tells us there is not point criticising it, just being aware of it. Don’t be depressed either, if anything it just opens up our career options. I hear PR is the thing to do nowadays?