Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Clarkson, Clarksoff

I see that Jeremy Clarkson has finally been suspended by the BBC big-wigs; it's not clear what for yet though I suspect most people could take an educated guess.

Top Gear used to be a good programme, it was original and novel for its time, but for me for years now it's been formulaic, predictable and by definition mostly boring. Millions still love it of course, most middle aged, middle class, fat, slightly balding men (who like Rugby and own an Audi, Porsche, Range Rover or Barbour jacket) I know, treat it like some kind of personal philosophy mantra; a political manifesto for petrol heads. I don't subscribe. My sense is that it's really just a simple template for a TV programme, a celebration of ignorance Benny Hill style; or possibly faked ignorance, that's dressed up as "a bit of fun". What bugs me though is that often, real bigotry is camouflaged in this way too, this uncertainty is possibly even the reason for it's success?

Perhaps you're the kind of Top Gear fan that likes the "one of the lads" feeling you get from hearing three old curmudgeons saying sexist or racist things out loud on prime-time TV, saying what needs to be said; sticking it to the nanny state who have insulted your manhood by making you adhere to a ridiculous speed limit when it's quite obvious you're easily skilled enough to drive as fast as you like on the A34! Or perhaps you think this really is "edgy comedy" and therefore to openly enjoy it means you're clearly not sexist or racist, no no, you're hip enough to know it's all just a joke. Either way, a knowing nudge and a wink would probably affirm your brotherly "cool wall" bond but not for the reason you think. Then there are all the recurring controversial themes like climate change denial, homophobia, mocking the disabled, cultural stereotyping and the constant slagging off of electric cars like the Tesla Roadster (this was very murky in my view) and many others - whatever your soap-box subject, there's clearly something for everyone, even a bit of religion bashing!.

Clarkson clearly exploits a particular crowd and has grown very wealthy on the back of it, good luck to him, such is the way of things. I see no evidence that his audience object in the slightest, quite the opposite and whatever happens I'm sure he'll be enjoyed by many via his various media outlets for years to come. I'm not one for banning or censoring, Clarkson can say whatever he likes, he is a Genesis fan after all and people do know where the switch channel button is if they're offended. I do however think it might just be time to freshen this BBC programme up a bit, get some new (younger) blood in to tackle the road transport challenges and powertrain controversies of this century rather than last; in a humorous way of course; anti-Clarkson types like Frankie Boyle or Charlie Brooker perhaps?

And on that bombshell...


Chairman Bill said...

Bring back Quentin Willson! OK, he's 57, but he looks younger and healthier than Clarko.

Steve Borthwick said...

CB, oh yeah, I'd forgotten about him, not a bad choice. On the other hand, how about Prof. Brian Cox, he could take the piss out of people (in a cheeky Northern accent) who don't care about how cars actually work (as opposed to Clarkson who does the opposite) - seems like a more obvious tac for a program about cars.