Friday, December 02, 2011

Me And Mr Clarkson, We're Like That

Jeremy ClarksonWe love a bit of hoo-ha in this country. A little bit of brouhaha. A little bit of outrage and apoplectic armchair slapping.

A little bit of whoa. A little bit of ooh.

On some deep perverse level all those people who complained about Jeremy Clarkson’s comments on The One Show (that striking public sector workers should be shot in front of their families) must have secretly enjoyed Clarkson’s comments. Been secretly pleased that he’d made them.

Because it got them excited. Made them feel alive. Got the blood surging through their veins and got their moustaches bristling in a thoroughly British bulldog manner. Here is some meat we can savage, Goddammit, get stuck in lads!

But really. It was a storm in a teacup. It was stuff and nonsense. It was nothing.

A comedy grenade tossed into the crowd to see which fellows it would take out and which it would leave standing.

Before I continue I need to make it clear that I am one of those striking public sector workers that Mr Clarkson would apparently like to see shot in front of my wife and kids.

Am I offended?

No. Not at all. I watched the show and took it all with a punch of salt. It was plain – absolutely plain – that the comments were off-the-cuff jokes designed to illicit nervous chuckles from those watching. Designed to shock. Designed to both offend and entertain. Frankie Boyle uses a similar kind of shtick though to greater effect (i.e. Frankie Boyle is actually funny). My wife wasn’t offended by Clarkson’s comments either though I’m pretty sure she got straight onto the phone to our solicitor to see whether she could amend my life insurance policy to include “death by publicity seeking celebrity”.

See. I made a joke out of it. It really isn’t worth twisting one’s knickers up about. The whole thing was tongue-in-cheek.

And I have sympathy with Mr Clarkson. No. Really I do. I’ve got into trouble on this ‘ere blog by people reading posts that were clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek and not-to-be-taken-at-all-seriously and then taking them very seriously indeed. And being offended. And, worse, seeking to be more and more offended by coming back for more.

Because, let’s face it, some people just like being offended.

So what are the alternatives?

Everybody is censored and is not allowed to say anything at all that could be construed as even slightly controversial? Well. We all better start wearing gags in that case and gimping ourselves up. None of us had better say another word. And where the hell do you draw the line anyway? Who decides what is offensive and what is not? Most jokes – even the genuinely funny ones – have a slightly offensive component to them. You could even argue that most things we find funny are built on someone somewhere being offended and offensive. Do we want to live in a world where humour is outlawed? Where no one can tell a joke because no one can take a joke?

I certainly don’t.

Get a sense of humour. Lighten up. Stop taking things so seriously.

If Jeremy Clarkson wants to drive past my house and take a pot shot at me from his Bugatti he is most welcome.

He won’t be able to get up my street anyway. The bin men were on strike on Wednesday and the roads are now chocka with crap.



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30 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm pleasantly surprised that you've laughed the whole thing off. I hoped you would, but the beard made me uncertain. Clarkson did only say he wanted to shoot you to balance out his previous remark supporting the strike. Having said all that, I'd still like to give him to my females to play with.

Suburbia said...

Yep, all the sound-bites made it sound much worse, typical media hype. (Can't stand the man tho!)

Wanderlust said...

People seem to love a good pot-stirring, don't they? I'd rather expend my emotional energy on something real.

Ok now, I'm off to go Occupy a street somewhere and rail at people who have the audacity to earn more than I do. Or maybe I'll just make another cup of coffee.

London City Mum said...

Love it, and absolutely spot on, as always.

Btw, I find it very funny that consumer retail sales were up by 38% on Wednesday. Because - I am guessing - most of the people supposedly 'on strike' were instead taking advantage of a day off and getting all their Xmas shopping out of the way.

Actually, forget funny. I find that very offensive. Where do I complain?

LCM x

Martin Lower said...

I've always had the impression that Clarkson only says these things to annoy people. Or maybe he's just an eejit.

People attach too much importance to what he says. He's just a television presenter, and he's not paid to think!

Steve said...

Gorilla Bananas: you think this beard signifies a lack of a sense of humour?!?

Suburbia: have to say I don't actually mind Jezza though I'm aware I'm in the minority.

Wanderlust: the coffee sounds like a swell idea. Where can I learn how to do that?

LCM: do shoppers have a union? If not we ought to get one and get mobilized. Though not necessarily down to the shopping arcades.

Martin: exactly. It's just publicity and media hyberbole. It doesn't count for much in the real world.

TheUndertaker said...

Ah, this news haven't quite reached New Zealand yet, so thank goodness I have your blog to keep me posted... So Clarkson is in trouble again? You simply have to love him for having the sheer balls to be so un-PC, it's so refreshing!

Steve said...

TheUndertaker: that's kind of where I am with it. I think Clarkson sees the rottweilers slavering behind their cages and can't resist giving the bars a kick. Most of the time I don't blame him.

the fly in the web said...

No, I wouldn't take it seriously either...he's just a well paid prat.

But I would like to weed out the well paid prats who prey on the public sector...consultants in acceptably PC ways of picking the nose, etc.

And I would like to stop already well paid bods getting packages with use of cars.
The people who need these packages are the people trying to get to work in their old banger...

Owen said...

Did the strike really have such a big impact that anyone needs to be shot over it ? In front of their families or not ? Maybe instead of shooting them they could just be sent to Teheran to protect that empty embassy over there...

Katriina said...

Loving a good chance for a rant is clearly one of those British traditions that survived and flourished even after being transplanted to Australia. Aussies too love a bit of "apoplectic armchair slapping", as you so brilliantly put it, though the Aussie tradition also requires vociferous repetition of the f-word and a huffy walk to the beer fridge.

Steve said...

The fly in the web: this country needs a damned good weeding and damned good pruning. Though not sure that Clarkson's slash and burn approach is going to win us the best kept garden award.

Owen: Tehran? Well, I wouldn't mind a week somewhere warm and sunny where the natives are passionate about what they believe in. If I take a sabbatical will it effect my pension payments?

Katriina: a walk to the beer fridge? I say, that's damned civilized! I'm plainly living in the wrong country.

Nota Bene said...

I'm deeply offended by your joke about your wife and the insurance company. These things are serious you know. Insurance is mot something to be joked about. I've sent an OFFICIAL complaint somewhere

libby said...

We need to take everything he says with a pinch of salt...true enough...and I sometimes feel a little bit sorry for him...only a little bit mind.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: it's already been acted upon. There's a firing squad knocking at my door right now.

Libby: he's having far too much fun for anyone to ever feel sorry for him, I can assure you.

Keith said...

Once again a classic example of NOT NEWS, being used to blur and obfuscate the REAL NEWS that we are, in our current social and fiscal form, pretty much buggered.

Steve said...

Keith: but at least we haven't been buggered by Jeremy Clarkson which, I'm sure you'd agree, would be truly appalling.

Jon said...

Quite a lot of people think Clarkson should be Prime Minister. I think I'd quite like this too, though not, perhaps, because he is a no-nosense sort of chap who calls a spade a spade, but because I'd like him publically displayed for the prat he is.

Unhappily I think JC is not so thick that he doesn't recognise a poison chalice when he sees it.

Steve said...

Jon: I agree. He might actually be better than the bunch of idiots we've got now. At least Clarkson has definite opinions about issues rather than no opinion about anything at all.

lunarossa said...

Personally I think Clarkson is a frode (as you see, I do not even consider him worthy of the title Mr!). Everything he does and says is aimed to attract attention and to sell his books/dvds and get the audience to watch his useless programme. Getting upset about his remarks is a waste of time and you do well to laugh about it. Ciao. A.x

Steve said...

Lunarossa: must admit, I'm more of a James May than a Jeremy Clarkson. James May likes Lego.

The Sagittarian said...

I guess having famous initials will do that to you....

Steve said...

Amanda: him or me?

Trish @ Mum's Gone To ... said...

I don't mind JC but prefer Richard Hammond if I could stretch him a bit.

Steve said...

Trish: all of him or just one particular part?

French Fancy... said...

Yep, agree with your views as usual. He knew it would create a furore and of course played it brilliantly. How to keep a high profile or what?

Steve said...

FF: alas for Jeremy it hasn't yet translated into book or DVD sales...

Being Me said...

Hey I'm sure i commented on this! Can't remember what witty and all-important thing I had to add.... but, for want of anything close to come to mind now, umm... yeah! What you said! (I really don't mind JC - you know it's part of his "bit", it's really quite ludicrous to take such exception - sigh. People. Where's your SOH??)

Mark said...

Well said - context is everything as they say

Steve said...

Being Me: some people have to look up SOH. That's how lacking they are in SOH.

Mark: exactly. And there is no context on this earth where JC could ever be taken seriously.