Jeremy Clarkson’s a buffoon who thinks he’s funny. Get over it

Posted on December 2, 2011

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The title of this blog says it all really. Yes, Jeremy Clarkson is an overpaid fool who thinks he is much more amusing than he actually is. Unfortunately, the BBC and millions of Top Gear viewers agree, and thus he is incessantly wheeled out in order to make some kind of outrageous remark that will cause some controversy, that he will flippantly apologise for and that will be forgotten in a matter of days, or at least until he is wheeled out to do it again.

Does Clarkson actually think that public sector workers on strike should be shot? No. Does anybody? No, apart from maybe some real nutcases on the Tory right. Will anybody actually dust off a revolver and go on a killing spree, gunning down those on strike, as a result of Clarkson’s words? No. So why is everybody so worked up?

The BBC obviously found Clarkson’s ‘views’ funny enough to clear them in advance, even though they were presumably aware that an army of armchair warriors would be immediately up-in-arms and reaching for the ‘complain’ button that I imagine many of them have built-in to their television remotes. At the last count 21,000 people had pressed said button, turning Clarkson’s remarks into the news story of the day. I guess that few of those who complained were actually on strike, with public sector workers probably a bit busy, you know, striking.

Ed Miliband may have been right when he said Clarkson’s words were “disgraceful and disgusting”, if the presenter had actually meant them. But he didn’t. It was a joke. Not a very funny one, but a joke all the same. Clarkson is himself a public sector worker, paid by the taxpayer (albeit a better paid one). He has himself gone on strike. And any sympathy the unions may have gained from his televised putdown has since been completely abandoned by a totally overboard reaction, threatening legal action and, by all accounts, asking him to make a donation towards the education of the child of a murdered Guatemalan trade unionist. To reward this wind-up merchant by getting wound up to the point of stupidity is self-defeating and exactly what Clarkson and, I can only imagine, the BBC want.

I should quickly defend myself against any claims of hypocrisy at this point. Just over two years ago I was a critic of Jan Moir’s distasteful article about the death of Stephen Gately, which provoked a similar “Twitter storm” and had the complaints coming in their thousands. This is a different situation. Moir scandalously suggested that Gately’s death was linked to his homosexuality and used the incident as an opportunity to argue against civil partnerships, a view which rightly offended many. In this case nobody, apart from apparently the unions, is taking Clarkson seriously, and most “right-thinking” (for want of a better term) people can see that his comments were tongue-in-cheek and, at worst, designed to provoke some controversy. That, unfortunately, is the whole point of Jeremy Clarkson. He is an idotic relic who thinks he is funny. He is not going to lead an army of disgruntled rightists in a Raoul Moat-style massacre of pickets across the land. So, please, let’s pipe down about it.

*I have used the clip below in this blog before, but its relevance continues to be striking (forgive the pun).

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Posted in: Issues, Politics