If you’re reading this then chances are you’re aware of the recent story regarding Mr. Clarkson and his alleged “fracas”. This latest episode in Mr. Clarkson’s is the latest in a long litany of events which have horrified some people and caused amusement for far more. The reaction to this latest incident is – to my mind – really quite illuminating, but before we get to that – a quick recap.
What is known is that after some manner of “fracas” Mr. Clarkson has been suspended from his job and the next episode of TopGear has been cancelled. Beyond that it all gets a bit vague. To listen to some people who seem to generally not like Mr. Clarkson, events went something like this:
Whilst filming, Mr. Clarkson was so outraged at not being given steak that he brutally assaulted a hapless junior producer – such behavior being anathema to any right thinking person, should lead to instant dismissal, stripping of pension and public humiliation. Further, anyone that has signed the petition to reinstate him are terrible people quite beyond the pale and should wait until all the facts are known.
Or something much like that at least. Of course the first snag with this is that at the moment none of us who weren’t there actually know what happened. The narrative as those that don’t like Mr. Clarkson would have it tends to suggest that maybe this happened over lunch and it was quite unreasonable for him to be in the slight bit miffed at not getting what he wanted to eat. The problem with that of course is that early reports didn’t mention that the incident was apparently reported by Mr. Clarkson, and also that it was apparently after filming in a hotel at 10pm. All of which puts a rather different light on the matter. I think if I was staying away for work and work was meant to feed me and it got to 10pm and there wasn’t proper food after a long day I might get a bit miffed, I might even blame the person whose job it was to organise such things. Depending on the situation things might bet a bit heated, but I wasn’t there, and neither were all the people saying that Mr. Clarkson should be run out-of-town on a rail.
Now, what about the uncouth lumpen mob that signed that ghastly petition? Well they no more had the facts than those that didn’t, but instead of assuming that Mr. Clarkson must be guilty, they assumed he probably wasn’t (generally a better assumption). Now, interestingly it’s apparently “BBC’s usual disciplinary processes kicked in following Clarkson’s decision to disclose what had happened, Tymon and Clarkson could not work together until the investigation is concluded.” – One has to wonder why if two people aren’t allowed to work together would you not move the person who isn’t critical for the project to hand? There are all sorts of other rumours and snippets of information floating around that just make the entire incident at this point seem curiouser and curiouser.
All of that aside though, the response of the people who seem to think Mr. Clarkson is beyond the pale and those that like me signed Guido’s petition seems to me to have many similarities with the detractors and supporters of a certain political party. The detractors and nay sayers utterly fail to understand the appeal of those they object to, and in failing to understand just bolster the opinions of the people on Mr. Clarkson’s side. Now, I can’t speak for anyone else, but statistically I’m probably not alone. I don’t really care what either Mr. Clarkson or the representatives of that certain political party are earning, where they went to school or what jobs they may or may not have done. What matters is that they speak and act like normal people, they make the sort of mistakes that normal people make and they don’t lecture me. They are people I think I’d quite like to have a pint with, they come across as real – and if that’s fake well they’re doing a much better job of it than the people who I’m told I’m meant to like. Given that all politicians lie and that TV personalities are basically professional liars, doesn’t it make more sense to go for the lies told in a language I speak by people who seem to still be part of the people I know?
The final nail in the coffin, and really the only one that matters, is that the detractors are those that tell me:
I mustn’t drink, mustn’t smoke, mustn’t be proud of my country.
That some words mustn’t be said.
That some thoughts musn’t be thought.
That they know better than me how to live my life.
So if they’re against it then it’s a fairly safe bet to be for it. If nothing else, if it causes them palpatations then it’s worth it just for the mischief and devilment – and mischief and devilment are something utterly alien to them.