Monday, 5 December 2011

Because We Need A Little Controversy

Clarkson’s been at it again, so it seems. Fresh from jokes about lorry drivers killing prostitutes and going to Australia to slag off our then “unelected Scottish leader”, Clackers is no stranger to a little controversy.

During an appearance on BBC’s comfort blanket The One Show on Wednesday, he said that anyone who was on strike “should be shot, in front of their families”. Only, he didn’t actually say that. Well, he did, but not like that. He actually said that the strikes were great because he could get around much more easily, but then went on to say “because this is the BBC we need a balanced opinion” before making his other statement in jest.

5000 complaints later, along with political leaders sticking their noses in and union leaders calling for his dismissal, Clarkson has been forced to apologise for a joke which wasn’t that contentious in the first place. I hear more scathing remarks in day to day life. People are quick to call in the firing squad for the slightest inconvenience, such as an old lady walking too slowly round a supermarket, or a teenager with his iPod on too loud. When ordinary members of the public are prepared to discuss mass genocide for the unemployed and women drivers, it makes Jeremy Clarkson seem like a voice of reason.

As someone who read one of his books, I feel loathed to defend Clackers. The amount of times he mentioned his Aga, or how much nicer it was in first class on Virgin Atlantic than British Airways made me want to vomit blood, and someone else’s blood at that.

Clarkson:  The Aga Saga
I suspect that roughly 4999 of those complaints were from people who read about the incident in the newspaper rather than people who actually saw the broadcast. I didn’t see the broadcast either as there are a thousand other things I’d rather do than watch The One Show. These things include plucking out each of my individual pubic hairs and trying to weave them into a string instrument, or perhaps, eating a live cat during a keynote speech for the RSPCA’s Christmas party.

At the risk of bringing up old news, this reminds me the whole Sachesgate thing a couple of years back. Does anyone remember what happened to Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand? Actually, Ross went on to get a lucrative TV deal with ITV, and Brand became a massive star in LA and married Katy Perry, so it turned out alright. But there was a whole fucking fortnight where they couldn’t work because everyone hated them for leaving a voicemail message. They attracted tens of thousands of complaints because the Daily Mail told people that they should be offended. Then they turned to the notoriously offensive comedian Frankie Boyle, leading one of the presenters of Newsnight to hilariously recite the line “I’m so old, my pussy is haunted”.

The fact is, if you go out of your way to find something offensive, you’ll find it everywhere. Perhaps you need to stop going out of your way to throw a strop over something which isn’t meant for you. Perhaps you should look at the context a little more before jumping to a conclusion. But most of all, perhaps you should get a sense of humour.


  1. Considering us Brits are infamous for not complaining about things, it amazes me how quick people are to complain to the beeb for, as you rightly put it, a flippant comment which was to be taken with a pinch of salt (but not exceeding the daily recommended 6 grams). I wouldnt even know HOW to complain to the BBC and by the time I had figured it out, I would forget what it was I so angry about and need a little lie down. ofcorse we wouldn't be in this mess if it wasn't for the death of Diana/illegal imigrants/stealth taxes/ youth/ single parents/ mixed race relationships/ duck houses/ sunny delight or what ever else the Daily mail is using to kick up a stink this week.

  2. Bumferry - Agreed. We'll shovel down a shit sandwich without a word of disagreement, but when it comes to the BBC, we'll piss and moan our girly little lungs out. They bought it on themselves with Points Of View...

    Also, Ed Byrne wrote about this today in a much more eloquent way than I could manage.

  3. Linky:

  4. I am always amazed about righteous indignation, regarding entertainment. If you don't like something, the best way to make it go away, is to ignore it. I don't like reality TV; guess what I do? I watch a bazillion hours of it and then complain about how much it sucks. There is a logic disconnect in there somewhere.


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