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Why does Jeremy Clarkson get me so angry?

March 25, 2015

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A friend has, quite reasonably, observed “people seem to hate Clarkson out of all proportion to him being a presenter of a show about cars”. It’s a fair point. While I don’t “hate” Clarkson, he does make me very angry. Why is it that this man, whom I can quite simply ignore by switching channels, squats on my emotional world in such a colourful way?

For me, Clarkson is the intersection of several political ley-lines. This makes him more prominent as a symbol than it should.

He enables and emboldens xenophobia to a significant degree and, each time the BBC stood behind him, it felt like they were cool with that. He seemed to be the entertainment equivalent of Nigel Farage. I know many of you don’t see the fuss about calling Mexicans “lazy, feckless and flatulent”, or going to Argentina and making fun of a conflict in which over 900 young soldiers lost their lives, or calling his black dog Drogba, or using the word ‘n****r’, or calling a Thai man a ‘slope’, or travelling through India on a train the side of which reads “Eat English Muff”, or calling Romania ‘gypsy country’. But cumulatively this stuff has an effect. As does making fun of murdered prostitutes, attacking a politician because of his disability, making Nazi salutes at a German car and joking about killing Albanians.

I don’t think, unless you have been at the receiving end of someone screaming “paki go home” from a car window in the street, of some sort of mindless discrimination or bullying like that, there is any way to actually describe the fight-or-flight feeling people like Clarkson create in someone who feels “other” in any way. Clarkson, in this way, becomes emblematic of every bully. At work, at school, in the street. That there are people defending him, even after the details of what he has done have emerged, is a source of profound concern. Somehow “the right to offend” has assumed larger significance in some people’s minds than “the right to go to work and not get punched”. I can only put it down to a worrying lack of empathy – a million people able to only identify with the aggressor, rather than the victim.

But it is more than that. It feels like he is at the vanguard of a reaction by those who are privileged in every way – race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, background, wealth, platform, position – against losing what is, objectively, a tiny bit of their privilege. He felt like the epitome of the Farages, Littlejohns and Moores of this world using their soapbox (usually in the form of a weekly column in a national paper) to somehow claim they are the real victims, the voiceless majority, the disadvantaged; to say: “now ENOUGH you darkies/women/perverts; we gave you a little equality, but don’t push it”.

And still, none of those things caused him to lose his job. His final misstep at the BBC seems representative of the bullying, imperialist, old-world attitude he represented. Sending a junior colleague to hospital, after racially abusing them, over a steak dinner. An old drama teacher of mine used to say: “Ego is absolutely necessary for survival in the entertainment industry. But it must never outgrow talent. When the ego starts to be bigger than the talent, you’re in trouble.”

In the end, it wasn’t “righteous Guardianistas” and “humourless Feminazis” that got Clarkson sacked. He was entirely the architect of his own downfall. This, it seems, is the thing his fans are most bitter about. They thought, I’m sure, that he would be the victim of the “do-gooder, lefty brigade”; that he would become their cause’s martyr. And he fucked it up. There is only one reason he was sacked: his own consuming anger. His inability to control his temper. His sense of entitlement. And that is a lesson over which the many people who despised what he stood for, will reasonably crow.

I am largely, however, trying to intellectualise a primarily emotional reaction. I hope it is helpful in explaining my reaction, at least. What gets me even more agitated is that those who defend him, do so on the basis of “freedom to cause offence” – that’s an interesting phrase for people who deny that words have power, isn’t it? They think they’re somehow being “edgy” and rebellious by supporting the dullest, most humdrum, tiresome, archetypal establishment figure. You know what is “edgy”? Kindness. Because it is extremely rare and often has a personal cost. Any arsehole can offend. And does.

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I leave you with this thought: the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik was a big fan of Top Gear. He described it as “one of the very few programs at the Burka Broadcasting Corporation still worth seeing.” He then goes on to quote extensively from a Sunday Times piece by Clarkson entitled “We’ve been robbed of our Englishness” in his manifesto.

Now, I’m not for a moment suggesting a writer bears responsibility for ways in which any wicked person might misunderstand his words. But I think it is also foolish to deny that people are propelled into action by a thousand spectral hands. If I discovered I had become the busty centrefold inside the door of the hate-locker of a murderer, it would give me pause for thought. I would search my soul very deeply.

Words matter. Words hurt. And the higher your profile, the bigger the responsibility not to pour venom into people’s ears. I think Clarkson consistently did that: He poured venom. Dangerously, he poured venom disguised as humour. Worryingly, he did so within a format popular with young people. How exactly do you laugh with someone making fun of people with disabilities, then explain to your child that they mustn’t do that at school?

I am very glad my license fee is not paying for him any more. I know he will go on to other, very lucrative pastures new. But it won’t be on my buck. I wish him luck and success. I hope he learns from this. I hope he gets help. I hope he grows less angry. We are all capable of change and worthy of kindness.

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82 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2015 12:36 am

    I heartily agree. You have captured my feelings about this debacle with some well written prose. We may be genetically linked.

  2. March 26, 2015 3:12 am

    I admire the way you have managed to write about the venomous essence of Clarkson whilst being above the hurtful ranting that he was famous for……I’m not sure I could have do so.

  3. Antonia King permalink
    March 26, 2015 6:24 am

    Excellent piece and it put into words my feelings but so much better expressed.

  4. March 26, 2015 8:16 am

    I have not had a TV for several years. One contributory factor was that I objected to the excessive payments by the BBC to various ‘celebrities’, notably Clarkson, and I did not want to make even the tiniest contribution to this through the TV license fee.

    I also feel that Top Gear tends to encourge the obsession that many young men have with fast cars, and may even contribute to some of the all too frequent fatal road accidents involving young drivers. It is perhaps not the kind of programme that a responsible public sevice broadcaster should be showing, but then the BBC is not a responsible public sevice broadcaster.

    Perhaps some justice will be done, and Clarkson will have to appear in court on an assault charge.

  5. March 26, 2015 8:35 am

    I absolutely love how your article has completely encapsulated my feelings towards this individual and how harmful his seemingly small witticisms have been. Well done for speaking out.

  6. Rana permalink
    March 26, 2015 9:44 am

    Great article – A reminder that Clarkson & pals were 3 hrs late having visited a pub; leaving the helicopter pilot waiting; the hot hotel food getting cold; being drunkenly abusive for 20 minutes & physically violent towards one colleague after swearing at hotel staff serving cold meats and soup. BTW the hotel manager DID do a steak meal well beyond kitchen closing time. The media never tell the full story about an overpaid, bigoted rude person is allowed to bully others into doing his bidding. The BBC put him and the other 2 clowns on a very high pedestal and the ego & arrogance showed – the fear is that all those thousands that petitioned for him may have the same attitudes towards society and people.

  7. Bob permalink
    March 26, 2015 11:14 am

    “I am very glad my license fee is not paying for him any more.” He was actually subsidising your licence fee as he made much more money for the BBC than he cost.

    • March 26, 2015 11:28 am

      I disagree. The programme was. Thousands of people worked on the programme. And it was conflating the programme with the personality which caused the inflated ego in the first place. In any case, your point is tantamount to keeping an employee on, knowing he treats his subordinates violently, because he makes you money. Paying such a person makes one complicit, regardless of the profit they turn around.

      • Bob permalink
        March 26, 2015 1:33 pm

        You’re confusing issues.

        Clarkson’s personality was an integral part of the success of the programme. Before him, TopGear was not as popular. TopGear clones in other countries are not as successful. He is going to make a fortune for ITV or Sky and that is not going to be earned by the BBC anymore. He was subsidising your licence fee.

        This is not to say that Clarkson is not a nincompoop nor is it to say that he should not have been fired.

        It is to say that your otherwise ok piece, which made some reasonable points, was let down by making an incorrect one, like a cook who uses too many ingredients and worsens an otherwise good meal.

      • March 26, 2015 1:43 pm

        Thank you for the tired metaphor, but you are wrong. Factually off. However successful TG was, it was all of it as a programme. However much money you guess Clarkson added to that total, he was paid for by public money. That is a fact. What he brought is a guess. All the profit coming into the BBC automatically becomes public money. Just like the losses go on the balance sheet too. I know it suits his defenders’ rhetoric to wag the finger and say “now you will see” but it is simply speculation. The truth is that, I am sure you understand this, depending on future choices TG may be just as successful, or less so or more so (it had been declining for several series – another fact conveniently forgotten by many). Clarkson’s next venture might be a huge success or a great big flop. Time will tell.

  8. March 26, 2015 11:24 am

    Well. This is clearly an intelligent piece written with feeling and passion. However, I do feel that the writer may have slightly overblown the point. Yes, JC exhibits boorish behaviour, but this is exactly what makes him JC, is it not? That’s his persona; the one he created for himself and the one that he plays on in order to keep himself in employment. I don’t doubt that there is something of the man in his persona, but – without knowing him – I would question how deep that runs.

    This incident has been blown out of all proportion. Tired, angry, highly successful TV presenter with a sense of entitlement loses his rag after a very long day and lashes out at the person he holds responsible. Is that story worthy of the press it’s been given? I don’t believe so. Mr. Tymon has rightly been protected over this – few of us could get away with punching someone in the workplace – and JC has not had his contract renewed.

    I do wonder however how a man with clearly delicate sensibilities could work closely with JC for more than 10 years without having an understanding of what he’s about – and moreover, if the man is truly that boorish, racist and further to the right than Adolf himself, why did he stay there? If you work in a laddish environment, you take the rough with the smooth. I am NOT excusing violence, but I do think that this could have been dealt with in a more sensible way. A suspension or a fine perhaps. The two guys sorting it out between themselves maybe.

    All I know is that when I was in the Services, if someone I had worked with for 10 years had given me a fat lip after a long day because he perceived I hadn’t done something, I would have dealt with it in an entirely different way; and so would my then boss.

    • March 26, 2015 11:32 am

      So, your point is that everyone having reasonable notice that Clarkson was a violent bully, should have mitigated the punishment for finally acting this out. And that “the Services” of old is a good model for “laddish” workplaces. I disagree on both counts, but appreciate you taking the time to read and respond.

      • March 26, 2015 11:41 am

        Actually, that isn’t quite my point. I think your piece is right in many places. I just wonder if this could have been handled differently. Everyone knew the persona of JC and none better – I imagine – than those who worked with him closely. The BBC had a responsibility to protect Mr. Tymon, but not quite – IMHO – in the way they did. You don’t hire JC and then blame him for being JC… I’ve subscribed to your blog though as I like your writing!

      • March 26, 2015 11:53 am

        What gets lost in the story is that Tymon did not report the incident. Clarkson did. Having done so, I think the BBC as a public employer, as a public employer hounded by rival press, as a public employer burned by obscuring wrongdoing in the past, as a public employer legally, had very little choice from that point onwards.

        The other imponderable, of course, is that de facto we have no idea how many such infractions have already been dealt with quietly.

    • March 26, 2015 3:03 pm

      Steve; it sounds to me like you’re suggesting that if someone is known to be physically violent or verbally aggressive, then the onus is on everybody else not to work with them; rather than that person to stop acting in such an uncivil, inappropriate way?

      The fact is that we would all – I’m quite sure – wish to lash out on occasion, but we restrain ourselves because we know that it’s wrong, and those of us who don’t indulge in physical (or indeed verbal) aggression don’t consider ourselves to be above someone else, and therefore permitted to hit/abuse them. The issue here is that Jeremy Clarkson DID view himself as superior, and his producer as inferior (despite, by the way, the producer technically being the boss), and therefore perfectly entitled to lash out at another human being for what was really a very, very minor upset.

      The longer society allows this sort of behaviour to continue, the more it normalises it, and the more these sorts of people think it’s ok to continue in that vein. We need those who have the ability to stand up to them and say “this isn’t ok”, which is exactly what’s happened.

      The Clarkson/Tymon debacle has played out on a grand scale but ultimately similar events are no doubt happening in offices and workplaces up and down the country. For the BBC to renew Clarkson’s contract would have been equivalent to saying “his actions were acceptable and deserved no ramifications”, which gives other lesser-known bullies a societal free pass as well. Not every victim has the ability, courage and/or freedom to go to the authorities. We as a society need to ram home the message that this behaviour is categorically not ok.

      (Great post, by the way, Sturdy Blog!)

      • March 26, 2015 3:28 pm

        Hi Robyn. No; I’m really not suggesting that. It just seems to me that – whilst I understand that many people work on the programme – there is clearly a ‘laddish’ culture. My point is that Mr. Tymon would surely have been aware of that, having worked closely with the team for more than 10 years. I am not saying that punching him is OK; it’s not. You are correct I believe; JC did see himself as superior (even though the talent is technically not the boss) and he clearly abused his position. However, I do think that whilst Mr. Tymon did not invite the punches, when you work in a group like that, you find ways of sorting out your differences. I am not defending JC. I am just saying that I think – even with the actions of Clarkson – it could have probably been sorted out in a much more suitable way; appeasing and protecting Mr. Tymon, sanctioning Clarkson for his boorish behaviour and retaining the programme.

        I must point out though that the writer of the blog notes above; we don’t know what – if any – other transgressions have been quietly dealt with.

        Even with that, I think that the incident – and Clarkson’s behaviour – has been blown out of all proportion and has resulted in an entirely unnecessary conclusion.

    • Adrian permalink
      March 27, 2015 9:32 pm

      Wow, look at you victim blaming.

      People like you are why people like him get and stay in celebrity positions. How about you stop blaming the victim and actually put the blame where it belongs?

      Oh, and saying that because it’s a ‘laddish’ environment it’s okay is just continuing the cycle. The fact that it was clearly such an environment only means that it should have been dealt with sooner.

      Stop blaming the victims and start blaming the purpetrators. Assault is not okay no matter the circumstances. JC should be lucky if he doesn’t go to jail as well as lose his job!

      • March 28, 2015 8:20 am

        Victim blaming?! Really? I think it’s clear that I am not blaming Mr. Tymon in any way! I stated that JC was wrong and should have been punished. I just believe that it was handled very badly and that it could have been sorted out in a much more satisfactory way, with a much better conclusion. Poor Mr. Tymon has had to deal with the misplaced hatred of the Twittersphere and this would never have happened if the team had sorted it out between them. The BBC could have sanctioned JC in a different way; with fines or with suspension, or both.

        There is nothing wrong with a ‘laddish’ environment; which this clearly was and that culture exists in many places.

        If you read my response again, you’ll see that I said that assault is not OK.

        The BBC have a duty to protect public money that is collected by statute just as much as they have a duty to protect their staff; Mr. Tymon from JC and JC from himself. In this case, they failed to do both.

        Thanks for giving me credit for helping JC to achieve his celebrity status though.

      • March 29, 2015 12:14 pm

        There is something wrong with laddish culture if it enables the top lad to physically assault a co-worker. Even more so if spectators enable his dynamic by claiming the victim had ‘clearly delicate sensibilities’ and expressing sympathy with the violent action of ‘poor, tired, highly successful’ JC. He is only highly successful because of the childishness, sexism and bigotry of laddish culture.

    • Pam permalink
      March 28, 2015 10:15 pm

      Gosh maybe you’re right. With this logic, maybe people should have understood that Jimmy Savile was just being Jimmy Savile, and that Rolf Harris was really just being Rolf Harris. After all, their behaviour was just part of who they were. And you worked with them, and they tried something on, and you didn’t like it – well hey, just resign and move on.
      No – I’m not being dramatic. And yes, this is comparable – like any other case of workplace bullying this should have been dealt with the first time it happened. Because you can be sure that this is NOT the first time JC had treated his colleagues/staff badly.

      And besides all this – remember that this behaviour is being paid for with public money, and that as such the BBC has a duty to spend it responsibly. I for one, do not wholly blame JC (though he has to take responsibility – and for a reason other than to keep his job), the BBC should have dealt with him years ago. They have cultured him (and his followers – who are showing themselves to be a very unsavoury bunch) to believe that he is indestructible.

    • Louise permalink
      March 29, 2015 12:20 am

      So, Clarkson goes to the pub for two hours, with a helicopter on standby, paid for by public funds. He then turns up at a hotel at 10pm at night and is amazed to find the kitchen unable to serve HOT food (not all food), so he totally loses his temper and calls the Producer amongst other things ‘a lazy Irish cunt’ (in case this isn’t obvious to you, this is a racist slur). His screaming is so loud, it can be heard in the bedrooms upstairs and he rails a sustained attack on Mr Tymon lasting 30 seconds before he is hauled off by a witness. And you, like James May, think that this has been blown out of proportion. Well thank god, I don’t work for you.

    • March 30, 2015 10:05 am

      The point about the persona is one that I have used in the past to rationalise my continuing to enjoy Top Gear and tolerate Clarkson, despite the ever-increasing unpleasantness. My wife stopped watching it years ago because of the excessive ratio of “laddishness” (schoolboy-level arsing about) to “content”.

      The latest incident removes that rationale, at least in part, because it turns out that the “persona” is actually a toned DOWN version of the real thing, rather than an amplified caricature.

      • Jamie Crawford permalink
        March 30, 2015 4:10 pm

        I’ve worked in more ‘laddish’ environments than most, from the forces to huge building sites. I’ve been in prison. In all of these places a punch would result in punishment, if found out. I suspect that, as is normal with most online aggression, the pro-Clarkson lobby is mostly made up of white collar keyboard warriors whose idea of a ‘laddish’ environment is an internalised moment of extreme annoyance at a lack of paper cups at the water cooler.

        Clarksons spiel was a dripdripdrip outpouring of chunky-style dog whistle bigotry. He was a distillation of every golf club misogynist, every angry and impotent overlooked middle manager, anyone seeking to blame those weaker than themselves for their own inherent weaknesses. In this country it feels like for every compassionate, socially orientated and open minded soul there are three gullible, angry and close-minded people waiting for any opportunity to cast blame on a shared target. Every bully needs them, from the toady sycophants of Gripper Stebson to the brown shirts of 1936. Slightly dramatic, maybe, but gripper was at least fictional😉

  9. March 26, 2015 12:52 pm

    The thing that pisses ME most of all is that he gives other Yorkshiremen a bad name

  10. March 26, 2015 1:23 pm

    A really excellent piece of writing!

  11. March 26, 2015 2:23 pm

    Superbly written and absolute nail-on-the-head

  12. Cuntface Clarkson permalink
    March 26, 2015 3:07 pm

    This is why everyone should not care about him losing his job: He`s been doing this for a long time. He has made a billion dollars on this job and he is now a fat, rich old man who does not have to work or do anything. And now everyone is all “omg this is terrible, bring him back!”. Cry me a river. He`s a douchebag, a rich, fat old douchebag. F*** him and his job. I`m happy to see him go, now if he could just shut the f*** up and go sit in his mansion and count all the luxury cars he owns, that would be great. Douchebag.

  13. Cuntface Clarkson permalink
    March 26, 2015 3:13 pm

    I think the most insulting thing England has done, ever, is sending this fat, old rich piece of crap on joyrides in other countries. He was here in Norway, everyone hated him. He`s loud, obnoxius, full of himself, loud, annoying, irritating and annoying. You owe us one England, a big one. And dont send your garbage to us one more time, remember Lindisfarne. 🙂

  14. I really don't care what you think permalink
    March 26, 2015 5:15 pm

    ^^^ are you drunk or on drugs?

  15. March 27, 2015 1:38 am

    That was a really good piece, explaining clearly what was wrong with this caveman.

  16. amca01 permalink
    March 27, 2015 7:04 am

    Excellent writing – exactly sums up my own feelings, but in far more lucid prose than I could ever manage. Clarkson did indeed fuck up, and along the way angered many people. One of my younger sons, an inveterate fan of Top Gear, is nigh inconsolable that it can no longer run. But he also understands that this mess, if indeed a mess it be, is entirely of Clarkson’s own making and his invincible sense of entitlement.

  17. March 27, 2015 8:34 am

    Very well written piece🙂

  18. Live Long And Prosper permalink
    March 27, 2015 9:15 am

    World need JC as much as need political correctness your are calling for in an article…

  19. Apparently Stronger Will permalink
    March 27, 2015 1:40 pm

    Well written blog, I admit Clarkson made a huge mistake when he did physical harm to his producer, but the rest I disagree with. I grew up being bullied and picked on for various reasons. But I learned a lesson as a kid that sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. And it’s the truth words DONT matter and DONT hurt. If you allow words to hurt you then it’s you that needs to search your soul and figure out why you’re allowing your self to be ruled by such weak things. Words are nothing! Somewhere along the line the human race has become soft and weak, people need to rise above these things, then true happiness can be found.

    • March 27, 2015 1:55 pm

      If words are so immaterial, I wonder why every dictatorship or occupying force since the dawn of time has sought to censor writers and academics first and foremost. I also wonder whether writing about your experience of being bullied years ago, all caps and exclamation marks, and expressing the view “the human race has become soft and weak” means entirely the opposite. That those words back then hurt you in a very significant way and you still carry them with you. I hope you find true happiness. Sending you love.

      • Apparently Stronger Will permalink
        March 27, 2015 2:17 pm

        I have true happiness in my life, by you getting defensive over what I wrote just further proves my point. No the bulling words never hurt me. Physical abuse yea of course but words from bully’s never hurt.

      • March 27, 2015 2:29 pm

        I wasn’t in the least defensive. My apologies if that is how my reply was perceived. I simply disagree with your view of words as inert and irrelevant things quite fundamentally.

    • March 27, 2015 5:08 pm

      “It never did me any harm so obviously that applies to everyone.” No mate. Lots of kids commit suicide through bullying. So do lots of adults. Your experience and advice here is neither representative nor humane.

      • Apparently Stronger Will permalink
        March 28, 2015 6:16 pm

        Again if we continue to teach weakness, we will breed weakness, people need to stop teaching/preaching that words have enough power to make someone take their life. Words only have that power if we allow them to have that power. I work with children on a daily basis with a new hope program and it has really helped. If more people reached out to people in need that are being bullied than we could end this cycle. It’s an endless cycle with we keep promoting that word have the power to hurt. When in reality they don’t, especially from weak insignificant Bullies.

    • Adrian permalink
      March 27, 2015 9:35 pm

      Question? Are you white and male?

      If so you can’t possibly understand what it’s like to be in a non-privileged group and be bullied.

      • Apparently Stronger Will permalink
        March 28, 2015 5:59 pm

        No I’m a non white homosexual, so believe me I know what bullying is.

    • Someone permalink
      July 4, 2015 12:34 am

      Verbal abuse causes stress and stress causes high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. I actually have a painful physical illness caused by severe and prolonged stress as a result of bullying.

  20. Ash Bayliss permalink
    March 27, 2015 3:10 pm

    Great piece. Having watched Top Gear for years and having been a Clarkson fan, I do agree with many of the points raised. I’ve always felt JC on TV was a character, a persona and one not to be taken seriously. Whilst I’ve never met him, I very much doubt the real JC believes in many of the ideals his TV persona promotes. I’m not excusing his behaviour. He deserves everything he got- a classic case of an ego outgrowing a format (Like that other outspoken personality Kevin Peiterson) but I also believe a lot of the stick he got was because people wanted to be offended by him. The infamous interview where he claimed strikers should be shot in front of their families for instance. He was goaded into saying something controversial after giving a perfectly normal answer to the question posed. When you have a personality known for being controversial, you shouldn’t be surprised when they are. Had any other person punched a producer after a long day, I don’t think half the fuss would have been created. As I said, I’m not condoning what he did, he was rightly sacked after being given plenty of warnings, but Clarkson should not be taken seriously as a person. If you genuinely believe the things he says then you’re just as big an idiot as he is. Or rather, his persona is.
    I also think the whole thing has been a massive publicity stunt. Clarkson shopping himself whilst the producer says nothing? A tired format, falling ratings- let the Jeremy Clarkson publicity machine kick new life into it

  21. bluebird permalink
    March 27, 2015 3:45 pm

    Very ‘clever’ to link murderer Anders Brevik with Clarkson. Although the writer alleges no simularities, the association does leave a subconscious connection. A very old trick, which will work here too.

    • March 27, 2015 6:20 pm

      Only problem with your criticism being I didn’t create a link through sophistry. A factual link exists. Unless you feel it is better not to discuss what drives people who commit these acts, but rather be in denial.

      • Robert permalink
        April 2, 2015 9:30 am

        No matter what the subject you do write beautifully, and words that do have impact. Like in this instance. I am, however, disappointed this time. You are clearly trying to suggest that Mr Clarkson was one of the drivers that caused Anders Breivik to go out and kill. Strong words Sturdy. And a very poor choice I may add. Very weak. 99.9% of the time you get it so right. But this time, I’m afraid, you have allowed yourself to much artistic freedom and to be unduly influenced by all the hype surrounding Mr Clarkson. It seems that all you have done is a little Internet trawling and banded together a few facts, half truths, fiction and what ever quote you could find to write your piece. Beautifully written as always, thou it may be. But, have you met him? Do you know him personally? Do you know all the facts? No one yet really knows the true facts of the case but that hasn’t stopped everyone, including you Sturdy, in jumping on the bangwagon feeding frenzy to come out and kick him when both he, and the producer, are down.

        You go almost 6 months without writing a single blog even thou we have one of the worst governments in decades and whose actions over that past five years have been tantamount to murder and who really need holding to account. But you choice instead to focus you attention on making hay about a thick lip in a pub between an over paid Tv personality and an incompetent producer.

        I am a TG fan and I love the format, because no one is safe, no matter who or what you are. But I don’t condone what Mr Clarkson did. And I for one will now resent paying my licence fee this year, because the BBC is lesser for it. But to attempt to link Mr Clarkson to a mass murderer is a step to far.

        And as someone who served in the Falklands in 1982, I really don’t give a s**t that the Argentineans felt hurt by misinturipting a car registration plate. They should have thought about that when they were invading our country. Which, by the way, had nothing to do with Mr Clarkson, just in case you felt the need to hang that on him as well! You can do better.

      • April 3, 2015 10:01 am

        Robert, I disagree. Clarkson represents one of the acceptable faces of bigotry in this country. If you think this has no effect outside the sphere of his silly programme, it is simply because you have never experienced it. Let me guess – White, straight, anglosaxon male?

        As for facts, I state them very simply. The fact is that Jeremy Clarkson and Melanie Phillips were the only two British columnists quoted at length in Breivik’s manifesto. I suggest to you that, despite your protest, you don’t find this fact distasteful, but uncomfortable. That isn’t my problem.

  22. March 27, 2015 8:30 pm

    Agree 100% Clarkson was a vile, cowardly bully who got his come-uppance. The worst thing he did was the article saying that we should no worry about the tiger and other animal species becoming extinct and that the only creatures we should care about are ourselves.The man was human sewage.

  23. JD Smith permalink
    March 27, 2015 10:17 pm

    Having read your article I still cannot see why you have wasted so many words on someone who tells jokes in poor taste when people still get attacked in the street for being the wrong colour, and your ethnicity still affects your chances of getting a job.

    Having been the victim of a racial attack where twenty people beat me up for being English in Scotland, I can tell you that real bruises take longer to break than a bruised ego.

    By wasting your time on Clarkson you are adding to his fame, thus adding to the problem.

    • March 27, 2015 11:14 pm

      Because I see words as containing power. Therefore I see his ‘jokes’ as connected to people getting attacked in the street and my words not as ‘wasted’.

      By the way, that psychological bruises heal, on the whole, more quickly or easily than physical ones is spectacularly untrue.

  24. Steve Schumm permalink
    March 28, 2015 8:41 am

    A brilliant post. Clarkson always reminded me of bullies at school. Good riddance!

  25. Ducks go quack permalink
    March 28, 2015 8:42 am

    Why is Jeremy Clarkson so long in the face?

  26. George Clarke permalink
    March 28, 2015 12:09 pm

    You’ve forgotton all the road deaths and serious injuries he contributes to my gloryfying speed and childish irrespinsible driving …..

    • Wow weak minded permalink
      March 28, 2015 6:05 pm

      Wow I hope this wasn’t serious. If you actually believe this, than… shakes my head
      How about all the deaths on the road cause day in and day out be all of the stupid fools on their mobile devices.

  27. Jay permalink
    March 28, 2015 6:50 pm

    Hi – it’s rare these days to read an article that is both heartfelt and well-argued, as yours is. Speaking as a man who is both black and kind – and also as someone who can take or leave Clarkson and Top Gear, what I have liked about our response as a nation to Clarkson is our ability to tolerate him as a harmless, somewhat amusing caricature, rather than someone who merits extreme reactions pro or con. We say to the world that we have space for the Clarksons and the Kyles, yet we still believe in our status as a society that is uniquely welcoming and fair. For that reason I wish that he hadn’t been fired – I would have preferred to see the police involved for the assault. Once again though, great writing from you.

  28. Damon permalink
    March 29, 2015 12:28 am

    Does anyone have the same boohoo about comedians? Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, George Carlin are/were all far edgier and say far more awful things and no one bats an eye. Hell, the only time anyone in the media gave two hoots about Jimmy Carr was when he wasn’t paying all his taxes.

    I agree that Clarkson certainly does say some things that can cause some offence to some people. We’re all guilty of offending people from time to time. Assaulting species, now that’s something else. There isnt a defence for that but an explanation can be drawn from the fact that they’d all been drinking, one assumes outside of work hours, so there was quite possibly never an employment issue. A civil case for assault on the other hand…

    • Alex Williams permalink
      March 29, 2015 9:36 am

      Don’t think it’s strictly true that comedians aren’t taken to task – wasn’t Ricky Gervais criticised over the word ‘mong’ and Frankie Boyle over comments about Katie Price’s disabled son? And rightly so in my view. Contrary to what the earlier poster says, words are important. They define us, our beliefs and opinions and they will always cause hurt when used with that intent or with no thought or care for their effect. I really don’t understand why so many people feel the need to be offensive and why so many others respond positively to that kind of behaviour. But just ignoring it or avoiding it is not an option – that’s how it becomes common currency. This piece summed up my feelings entirely. Excellent writing also.

  29. Fufkin permalink
    March 29, 2015 9:11 am

    Best article I’ve seen written on the subject. I think anyone making parallels to other so called “edgy” comedians is missing the point: none of the others mentioned in the comments represent the “acceptable” face of racism, bigotry and sexism that JC does. He is a modern day Jim Davidson/Bernard Manning, luckily most of his breed have vanished to the anals of history the fact he is the one left I suspect is why he has so much support. Impressed with your considered responses to some of the inane comments, I was particularly horrified by comments implying words don’t harm and laddish behaviour should be tolerated. I have worked in investment banking during the credit crisis, and a big part of the reason for the whole mess was down to letting big ego’s do whatever they wanted because they made lots of money for the organisation.

  30. March 29, 2015 12:13 pm

    Reblogged this on Through The Looking Glass and commented:
    My thoughts exactly…

  31. March 29, 2015 12:44 pm

    Reblogged this on Chester Bunnynuts and commented:
    Fantastic piece of writing.

  32. John Doe permalink
    March 29, 2015 2:02 pm

    Life’s too short to be so serious. Not suggesting anything said here is incorrect, but time to chill guys and look to the fact not everyone shares your views of JC. I think you only need to look at the amount of people supporting JC to realise that. I would recommend that all the intelligent people writing here go and do something useful with their skills rather than rant about a TV Presenter. We need less Political Correctness going on in our lives, not more of it.

    • Fufkin permalink
      March 29, 2015 8:57 pm

      i love these references to ” political correctness gone mad” when people rightly express concerns over JC. unfortunately less political correctness in this context is a euphemism for it’s ok to be a little bit racist, sexist etc, it’s just a bit of banter……….unfortunately there are still many people who have these views hence how many people still support him. I’m no right-on lefty, but I’ve worked in the city long enough to hate how many people still have this underground sentiment, and it’s dangerous.

  33. jeffmox permalink
    March 29, 2015 5:09 pm

    Thanks for this remarkable essay. If only more online discussion led to this level of intelligent reflection and scrupulous self awareness. Your critique of Clarkson is an important indictment of the loutish attitudes that he has championed and profited by for too long.

  34. March 29, 2015 8:02 pm

    Look up BBC Worldwide the BBC’s commercial arm.

  35. March 29, 2015 9:13 pm

    Wow. This is ridiculous. What a sensitive cry baby. Did Clarkson write an article when he was physically assaulted by the gentleman who threw eggs at him? No! Did he press charges? No! He said, “good shot” because he has personality and isn’t a big softy! I don’t condone the assault by any means, and he was correctly warned for his racial remarks, but seriously, if we sacked everybody who said something controversial, and threw everybody who landed a punch in to prison, then there wouldn’t be many people walking the streets! Honestly, some people need to get a grip and understand that having the right to free speech allows people to voice their opinion whether it’s right or wrong. Like you say, if you don’t like what he has to say then change the channel. Furthermore, referencing the murderous spree of Breivik as well as the hateful tweets towards Oisin and linking them to Clarkson and Top Gear is incredibly distasteful and very poor form. He can’t be blamed for that!

    • March 29, 2015 9:49 pm

      “I don’t condone the assault by any means”… But you do. By any means.

  36. StoneyD permalink
    March 30, 2015 5:26 am

    Using intellect to bully people. Well played.

  37. March 31, 2015 7:39 pm

    Reblogged this on Unstable Orbit and commented:
    This is worth a look. More articulate than my own post.

  38. Robert permalink
    April 2, 2015 1:40 pm

    I’ve just spent an hour writing a response to your blog and pressed the post button and it seems my comments have disappeared. Any ideas?

    • April 3, 2015 9:49 am

      Dear Robert, I have to approve comments. In my three years blogging, I have only blocked spam and three responses which contained what I felt were things which crossed a line of legality – like incitement to hatred. Pre-moderation of comments is just how I have always run my blog.

      Sometimes, other commitments mean I am not near a computer. I had a show opening yesterday, so I was in technical, dress rehearsal and then first night. It took me 24 hours to approve your comment. Your reaction seems a little hysterical.

      • Robert permalink
        April 3, 2015 11:11 am

        Thanks for your comments. I hope your rehearsals went well? As a white middle aged, middle income, straight male, I acknowledge what you say Alex. But, is it not bigoted of you to think it is acceptable to ridicule my ethnicity and background to make your point? In making such a derogatory slur is no better than what you accuse Mr Clarkson of. I also haven’t read Brevnik’s manifesto simply because I’ve got better things to do with my time than reading the rants of a madman. I suspect it’s a bit like the Tory manifesto… Full of crap. And that is exactly what is it is…crap. The only person responsible for killing all those children is Brevnik’s and no one else, no matter how much one would like to link a white middle aged Anglo male tv personality to the story. So please be careful when you tar everyone from a particular group of people with the same brush. As you often point out its not very nice.

      • April 3, 2015 11:36 am

        Sorry friend, but it is not bigoted to point out that, when it comes to experiencing discrimination, as a part of every possible privileged group, you have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

        And, again, sorry to burden you with facts, but Breivik was declared sane after a very long and detailed hearing in a very sophisticated justice system and sentenced as such. Just like the idea that one of the most popular TV personalities constantly pouring bigotry down people’s ears has no effect on attitudes, just like the denial of the fact that we all share responsibility for the world we create, the notion of Breivik as a raving madman unrepresentative of the climate around him is merely designed to keep you comfortable in your complacency and has little to do with the truth.

      • Robert permalink
        April 3, 2015 2:12 pm

        Your absolutely right Alex, it is not bigoted to point out the unacceptable discrimination you have suffered. And you are also right, I don’t have a clue about what it feels like to experience discrimination because I happen to be white, straight and a man! You clearly haven’t gone through a divorce where there are children involved! It is, however, also unacceptable for you to blame everyone who happen to be white, straight and blokish for all the crimes committed in the world as you seem to be doing in this case. When I read your blogs I genuinely don’t care who you are, your origin or what your sexual orientation may be. I read them because they are articulate, well written and make one think. I’m sorry Alex I’m just struggling with your argument and concept that Mr Clarkson was somehow responsible for Breivik’s state of mind when he committed murder. I also understand he liked the Simpsons and the Holy C! I don’t see you blaming them. We will have to agree to disagree about whether he was sane or not. And as for “Contantly pouring bigotry down people’s ears.” For goodness sake, he talks about cars for a living, he is not Abu Hamza Al-Masri. A bit of blance, please.

      • April 3, 2015 2:19 pm

        My original blog is crystal clear on the issue. I have responded to your objections, but they are now circular. I have nothing more to add.

  39. Robert mcd permalink
    April 3, 2015 8:32 am

    I did, twice, but it just disappeared, twice!

  40. Robert permalink
    April 3, 2015 8:56 am

    I did, twice, but it seems they have have been blocked! Why?

  41. April 6, 2015 8:47 am

    I don’t support Clarkson’s arrogant, entitled stance on most things that he chooses to comment on. I do think he can be funny and entertaining. However, if a colleague of mine punched and ranted at me I would be understandably aggrieved. The Breivik comment does give me pause for thought though. It was Michael J.Fox (whom I love) who said “What other people think of me is none of my business.” With this in mind, I wonder how far a person removed from the ultimate shaping and nurturing of another individual (as Clarkson was to Breivik) can be held accountable for that person’s actions? Is it more accurate to conclude that people will find triggers if it suits their own agenda? I have just discovered your blog and love your writing, BTW.

  42. April 7, 2015 1:17 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with this article! Top Gear is a great show, but there needs to be an ethical line and Clarkson has breached this on too many occasions. I like the way you touched on people supporting him because it is edgy and their overarching emphasis on his innocence and how he deserves to retain his job blah blah… if Clarkson had been attacked/insulted by a member of staff, these fans would drop their principles of ‘freedom to cause offence’ in favour of condemning the individual and advocating their sacking!!

  43. April 14, 2015 10:25 am

    Reblogged this on cricketnews4uall.

Trackbacks

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