Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jeremy Clarkson Should Be Lined Up And Shot*

[EDIT TO ADD: PEOPLE ARE COMMENTING BASED ON READING THE TITLE BUT NOT THE CONTENT... I'D HAVE THOUGHT THAT WAS OBVIOUSLY A STUPID THING TO DO]

So November 30th was a day of industrial action. And it was also a day when the professional contrarian, Jeremy Clarkson, was a guest on The One Show.

They, perhaps unwisely, asked him what he thought of the strikes. He, unsurprisingly, said something contrary. He suggested that the strikers should be lined up and shot. In front of their families. (By the way, his Mum was a teacher).

It was an oafish, insensitive, unfunny remark... from a man whose trademark is his oafish insensitivity. It was offensive. I don't think he should have said it. I think the BBC was right to apologise. [EDIT - according to one commenter, the BBC didn't apologise for this. I thought they had. Pfft]

But I was still surprised to see hundreds of people suddenly baying for his blood on twitter. The mob was reaching for their pitchforks. A campaign to get him sacked was suddenly started. It all seemed a bit out of order to me. Yes, I thought it was offensive and no, I didn't find it funny... but I don't remember arriving at a place where we decided we had a right to not be offended. I don't like the sound of that place. I don't like it at all.

I said something about it on twitter. It was obvious from my tweets that I didn't like the man and didn't approve of what he'd said. I just suggested that starting a campaign to get someone sacked because of a joke you didn't like was what they do. You know, them. Not us. That's their territory, not ours. That's that thing they do and we don't like.

From the way many people reacted, you'd think I'd tweeted "Ha ha ha... Jezza Clarkson's ace isn't he. LOL #LineThemUpAndShootThem"

"But he's an odious pr*ck" someone frothed. Yes. I agreed.
"Why are you apologising for Clarkson?"asked another. Um. I'm not.
"He's suggesting people be lined up and shot, we're suggesting he should be sacked. Who most deserves your criticism?" He does. And he's received it.

A few years ago Charlie Brooker wrote a glib line about wishing George Bush dead in his Guardian column. Some Americans thought his joke was offensive (see the comments here). How dare he call for Bush to be assassinated! That is an outrage!

You might have heard of a man called Paul Chambers and how he tweeted "Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" it was understood by all who follow him on twitter to be exactly what it was: a hyperbolic venting of frustration upon discovering that he couldn't visit the woman he loves. Nobody took it seriously. But he was prosecuted for menace or somesuch. The case - the twitter joke trial - was a cause celebre, with many of the liberal twitterati rallying to his support.

I'm pretty sure that many who spartacussed their support for Paul a year ago, were calling for Clarkson to be sacked earlier today. Which seems to me to miss the point completely.

I know which of the jokes I liked and which I didn't. I know which one offended me. But it's not about which jokes you find funny and it's got nothing to do with whether the joke targets the strong or the weak. You have to defend the jokes you don't like as well as those that do. Be offended. Register your upset. Change the channel. But don't go assuming you have a right not to be offended.

Because if you really think that you and I are entitled to live in a world without offence, then you have to concede that everyone else is equally entitled to the same. And that means that all the jokes you like but they don't will have to go too.

A world that stops Jeremy Clarkson doing that is also a world that would have stopped Bill Hicks doing this:

Be offended by Clarkson - and by Hicks too, if you like. But you should defend your right to be offended, because it's also your right to offend.




*Not really. D'you see?

111 comments:

wantangbob said...

Jesus Christ people, it was very obvious that the comment was made in jest. I suggest that all of those that were offended are lined up and shot in front of their families #IamSparticus

@denmarkjon said...

Being abrasive and provocative is just what he does for a living, isn't it? He was on Danish TV the other day telling everyone how Denmark's two great contributions to mankind were bacon and Helena Christensen. The Top Gear presenters are The Goodies of their generation; three men playing extreme and opposed cartoon versions of themselves. Jeremy Clarkson is an intelligent actor who makes a living playing "Jeremy Clarkson", the ignorant oaf.

Pesh said...

see also Stewart Lee's thoughts on Richard Hammond.

Rob said...

If Clarkson had suggested something that could actually happen, like stopping the benefits of anyone involved or pepper-spraying them like a bunch of American students, it might have been more offensive. But lining them up and shooting them? It's obviously a joke. Might as well have said "give them each a million pounds and a hug".

emkatalma said...

Oh, just take no notice of Clarkson. He only does it for attention. He's got loads of free publicity out of it - he's all over Twitter & Facebook this morning! If causing offence always meant automatic dismissal then every curmudgeonly bus driver, sour-faced shop assistant & rude receptionist would be out of a job. Yes, he should apologise - but then he'd probably just make some sarcastic remark about it at a later date & get everyone up in arms all over again. Just treat his comment with the contempt it deserves & ignore it.

Tom, Norwich said...

Talented actor? A comedian? Like the Goodies? Do me a favour. Clarkson has tlaent for very little other than driving cars and winding people up. And he's not funny. So what's the point of him at all? Was he seeking to promote his DVD sales by being outrageous and controversial, by any chance?

Craig Jones said...

Well, the BBC were pretty foolish if they thought that having Jeremy Clarkeson on a live tea-time show was anything other than slightly risky. But having said that, thanks to reality TV and phone voting we now live in a society where we think we have the right to dictate exactly what can or can't be done on EVERY television show through mob complaining. Look at the thousands of complaints the BBC received when Alesha Dixon was announced as a judge on Strictly Come Dancing for instance... the world has gone mad. :-/

Wolvesblogger said...

You might also have some people saying that the Bill Hicks video is insensitive in the light of what happened at the weekend.

With Clarkson, if people don't have the intelligence to realise when right wing Jezza is being glib, insensitive and in his mind, hilarious, then they need to get a grip.

Who cares what he says?

Anonymous said...

Clarkson is an oaf, but that is why so many - myself included - enjoy watching him. He intentionally tries to shock and offend to get a laugh. My wife and I chuckled at his comment on The One Show, because we don't take him seriously when he comes out with oafbabble.

I suppose some - including you Dave - may be offended, but he is entitled to his opinion just as much as those who have ranted at him on twitter. It is obvious Dave that you weren't defending JC's comment, just pointing out he shouldn't be sacked for a joke.

Good choice on the Bill Hicks clip Dave.

Richard said...

It is ironic that with the advent of so many instant and accesible media streams, that is enhances both the best and worst of human behaviours.

The difference between a point being humourous or not is often down to three things; timing, context and the person on the receiving end.

One of these the perons making the point / joke is not in control off.

Yes Clarkson is an oaf, and has been peddling his 'brand' of cynical comment / degrading humour for years. But what is clearly apparent is that enough people have access to complain, whilst maybe the rest are silently shrugging it off or even going as far as 'that's a bit harsh, but it makes the point'.

Thing is we will never truly know what 'public opinion' is because we will never know out of those who heard were offended. Applying numbers or some attempt at 'scale' as though the were empirical evidence of 'a wider populations reaction' is something of an illogical leap. Which is something of a forte of yours I would suggest Dave.

George Orwell was wrong, it's not the rise of the proles we should be aware of, but the keyboard warriors.

Like myself it would seem (the irony)!

Thing is if I state my support for an anti-strike stance, up front, people then read into the words thier own context as well. So that means a person can only control the timing.

And Clarkson at least got that bit right, if you're going to make a point, make it when it's relevant.

You gotta love social media sometimes, I personally find it fascinating and soul destroying in equal measures.

Iain Kendall said...

I agree with Rob said, it was completely unbelievable so quite obviously a joke. In fact, he sincerely said just before it that he agreed with the strikes but because it was the BBC they had to have an equal opinion and then said what he said. People are far too sensitive. I'm no fan of Clarkson but if people are going to hunt his blood then at least do it in context.

shammi said...

If I declared publicly that I love you to bits, Mr Gorman, would it embarrass you far too much, or would you be able to live with it? I mean, you're my Most Favourite Comedian Ever and to discover (oh happy happy happy day) that you're also a lovely person off-stage and on-blog... well, you can't really blame my spontaneous overflow of emotions, can you?

Dirty PJ said...

Clarkson is an arsehole who makes a living by being an arsehole. I fave up owning a television and paying a TV licence because the BBC (and other stations) employ way too many arseholes. And I don't want to contribute towards their over inflated salaries. I consider it quite amazing that a man like Dave Gorman, the opposite of Clarkson in many ways, actually gets to present his own show...

Dave Gorman said...

@Dirty PJ: I do? Really? How exciting. When do I start?

VRK said...

Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross also engaged in "a joke" while presenting on the BBC and were suspended. Are we going to have consistency from the BBC and have the same happen to Jeremy Clarkson.

Dave Gorman said...

@VRK or are we going to have consistency of opinion and have the people who thought that was ridiculous, think this is ridiculous too. If you thought them losing their jobs was right then fair play, but if you didn't, be consistent in what you believe rather than trying to score playground points of if-it-happened-to-them-it-should-happen-to-him.

Elliot said...

For me it's not so much about people thinking they have a right not to be offended, as it is about people jumping on every opportunity to be offended.

Those papers which stir do so by exploiting that trait of a large section of humanity. It really bugs me. Paradoxically, it's the one thing that makes me really upset.

Never mind whether or not you thought the joke was offensive, the point, surely, is that it was a joke. And it's par for the course as far as Clarkson is concerned. He must have said way more offensive things in his time, but they were also all in jest. If one is offended by it, one can only be offended by the bad humour, not the sentiment. Because after a moment's consideration, we can be certain that the sentiment is not actually real. How can you be upset about something that isn't real, which he essentially did not say? As Rob (above) said '"Might as well have said "give them each a million pounds and a hug"'. Quite.

Like I said, a moment's consideration. But people just jump on the chance to be angry. I don't relate to it at all. A little more time to consider each other's perspectives coupled with a desire to avoid conflict, and we'd all be so much happier.

Anonymous said...

Jeeez... his mother was a teacher!!!
So was mine, but thankfully, my mother taught me better.

Iain Kendall said...

Well put Elliot. The media in the same day had only focused on the "inconvenience" of it all which has a massive impact on public support.

Paul said...

Rob and Iain - I agree with Dave's blog, but sadly believing that killing trade unionists in front of their families is something that would "never happen" is a mistake.

I previously worked in the Trade Union movement and met colleagues from various countries where standing up for workers rights put them at serious risk of being murdered. I can understand why UNISON would want to do whatever they can to object to these comments.

Dirty PJ said...

@DaveGorman Well, maybe you're not presenting a show right at this moment, but you've done so a number of times in the past. And to my mind it's people like you who should be on TV more regularly than the likes of Clarkson - he makes it seem to the uneducated that being a dickhead is big and clever whereas having you on TV more often might encourage people to be nicer to one another.

shadowphiar said...

When I read Tom, Norwich's comment, I couldn't help but imagine Handel's Sarabande playing in the background. Does that make me a bad person?

Diane said...

The difference between Bill Hicks and Jeremy Clarkson is delivery. Bill was very cynical and sharp, Jeremy was blunt and coarse. Also, Bill Hicks didn't attack the nurses ad teahers - there is something about these professions that Brits in particular are very protective of.

Thing is he only wished on other people what millions are wishing would happen to him on a daily basis. Can
we really get offended?

I have read comments with amusement. To be honest, the guy just isn't worth the aggro folks.

Dave Gorman said...

@Diane: I know there's a difference between Clarkson and Hicks. I was making a point that only really makes sense as an argument if you venerate Hicks. If you want to get rid of the one you don't like, you have to be prepared to give up the one you do. That wouldn't be a very persuasive argument if I thought Hicks was offensive and wrong too.

Anonymous said...

Hicks: making a point in humorously offensive way
Clarkson: Self-serving troll with a book to market.

Big difference

SarahChristineRobinson said...

People complaining clearly did not see The One Show. He spoke in support of their actions only a few moments before. It was only when Alex Jones or Matt Baker said something that he presented the opposite view.

It is not clear whether he was actually in support of the strikers or not.

The newspapers are leaving his earlier comments out as well.

Anyone who watched The One Show would know he didn't just say the controversial comments.

Mark said...

I haven't yet seen footage of him making this remark, so I don't have the benefit of knowing the context or tone in which it was said. However, talking about shooting people goes beyond causing mere offence. When people make remarks such as these in jest, it requires that the person hearing the remarks can detect the actual intent. Sadly, I don't believe this to be true of everyone, and probably not those who respect Clarkson and agree with the views he is purported to hold.

John Nor said...

@DaveGorman

Would it be possible for you to correct your blog?

You say - misrepresenting events - to begin this blogpost:

"It was offensive. I don't think he should have said it. I think the BBC was right to apologise."

However I believe the BBC hasn't apologised regarding this topic, rather The One Show apology was all about Clarkson's railway comments.

As the Radio Times says:

'At the end of The One Show Matt Baker issued an on-air apology, stating: "Although we enjoy Jeremy's views, which he sometimes exaggerates for comical effect, we are seriously sorry if his comments about deaths on the railways has upset anyone."

The BBC said in a further statement: "The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson's comments." '


Will you correct what you have written and if not why not?

Jean Scollen said...

If ppl had seen the programme he said he was loving the strike, he thought it was great (if only cos he could drive freely in the capital) but in a sarcastic gesture of BBC neccesity of even views he then countered by saying they should be shot...It was sarcasm and whilst it may be a low form of wit it should not be vilified. I wish ppl would not be so determined to misunderstand everything..have a bit of tolerance ppl.

Anonymous said...

£2 million a year publicly funded via licence fee payers for his tediuos "humour" is the biggest joke of all. And for working for his pension (if you call blowing caravans up with your snivelling chums-work) while firefighters, nurses, refuse collectors, cleaners, dinner ladies, carers etc are what Jeremy? Dicking about?

VRK said...

@Dave Gorman. First of all Ross and Brand weren't sacked. They were suspended and chose to leave the BBC. Big, big difference. Secondly, we aren't talking about stand up at a club here. The BBC is a public funded entity that has a right to expect certain standards from their employees, whether in front or behind the camera. I'm not saying he should be fired but their are other sanctions the BBC could level. I'm not even suggesting going so far as gagging him on certain issues, like they essentially did to Konnie Huq.

jamesmb said...

Well put. Seriously, I follow lots of people who I don't agree with and who wind me up intensely but I do it because it makes life a bit more interesting. If I could sack everyone I disliked and only had people I liked on the telly, it'd be a boring channel even for me - and I'd like them!

Clearly Clarkson didn't mean that they should actually be shot. The use of the word 'executed' in itself is a giveaway that he was being silly, using extreme exaggeration as a comedic tool. That it wasn't very funny is actually neither here nor there.

Everyone needs to calm down a bit and take a step back.

Either that or someone invoke Godwin's Law quickly so we can all move on.

Chris said...

If he had said his response the other way around and said "Strikers!, I think they should all be shot in front of their families, but as this is the BBC and are impartial I should level up my comment by saying I do support their reasons for striking" Would he have instead been heralded as a martyr for the cause?

Anonymous said...

All these people who say clarkson isnt funny are entitled to their OPINION but , like it or not, his shows and books are very popular so it seems many people think otherwise.

Was he really suggesting we shoot people ? No. People who complain about such things really need to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Jeremy Clarkson was asked for his opinion and he gave it. HIS opinion, not representing the BBC so why should they apologise. FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh... maybe, as per the Bill Hicks clip, the BBC made a ploy to get Clarkson on the Beeb's flagship, prime time show to spark controversy with Clarkson saying something inappropriate and giving it publicity... cleaver marketing...

Na. That's rubbish. Beeb boobed up by inviting a presenter who has a history of saying controversial things onto a family show. It was said in jest. It's not like he was doing a martyrdom video. And this whole thing has gone stupid. I even don't understand why I am bothering to write this!!!!

Doc said...

We should have a law that you can only comment on something if you witness it. Anybody who flouts this law should be taken out and shot by their family. It would stop all this getting offended on someone's behalf.
The comment at worst was badly delivered, miss timed and unfunny. I think Unison objecting to it is another way to try and get some public sympathy for the cause that currently isn't there. I work in the private sector and heard a lot worse from my colleges yesterday.

Dragonhawk said...

Bravo! Couldn't said it better myself. Besides, it's the offenses of life that promotes debate and helps us grow into better people. To get your panties in a twist over a joke merely distracts from greater problems.

Pedro Pierre Peter said...

Dave G, your blog is great and you are right in what you say. Personally, I cannot abide Clarkson [I cannot be the only person on the planet that thinks 'he needs a bar of lifebouy and a hot shower' everytime he appears on TV]...but, millions do like him, and millions do find him funny. If millions didn't then BBC would not commission Top Gear [Why couldn't Top Gear be about just that, 'Best Weed of the week' anyone?]. What he said was a] unfunny anyway, and b] tasteless. I cannot understand the furore over this though. As Dave said, it's what he does. Clarkson could of course just come out and say sorry, whole thing would blow over, and everyone apart from some of the harpies calling for death sentences would be happy. I really don't see why the BBC should apologise on his behalf though. He is a big boy and can say sorry for his own silliness.
On a different note, but not disimilar, for the past 2 days I've been getting not exactly death threats, but death wishes in tweets and DMs. My crime? I answered a tweet to Alan Davies in which he said that Patrice O'Neal the comedian had died. I said that's a shame to die so young, but I always found him homophobic and misogynistic. Barrage of hate tweets, so many that I'll probably have to delete my twitter account. Davies accused me of being self righteous. How he came to that conclusion I've no idea, and probably never will have as he hasn't responded since. If you don't know Patrice O'Neal's work you can check him out on youtube. You will need a strong stomach for most of his 'humour'. Unlike the late Hicks, who was a comedy genius [and surely did offend a lot of people] Hicks stayed 'on the line' as it were, very seldom crossing it [I mean the line between close to the bone humour and well, obscenity]. O'Neal crossed the line and stayed over it. Anyway, sorry for hijacking your blog to write all that Mr Gorman. Keep up the good work and hopefully we will see you back on the small screen sooner rather than later. Genius was a great little programme:)

John said...

Dave Gorman should be lined up and shot...

and so it goes on...

Ignore ignore ignore.

Stefan Nonsense said...

If you don't like him, don't watch him, or speak about him.

Sack him and his infamy will make him even more popular with his target audience, he'll sell even more DVDs, and earn more for appearing on a rival channel.

Indifference is his only true enemy.

Nick63 said...

A couple of observations;

1. Too many people take Clarkson far too seriously - both ways; either thinking he's the 'voice of all sane thinking people' or, conversely, that he's 'the spawn of the devil' (and so, should probably be shot... in front of his family). As Clarkson has said himself, many times, even he doesn't believe what he writes (and presumably says).

2. As the 'great' (and very 'Conservative')American humourist, PJ O'Rourke, once wrote, "I have often been called a Nazi, and, although it's unfair, I don't let it bother me. I don't let it bother me for one simple reason. No one has ever had a fantasy about being tied to a bed and being sexually ravaged by a liberal."

Both Clarkson and O'Rourke can be bumptious and boorish, often missing their targets - in extemporised speech, anyway. However, just because I disagree profoundly with their politics (or what we assume of Clarkson's politics) doesn't mean that they're neither not ever funny, or occasionally right. The same could be said of Bill Hicks too.

Some people need to stop taking themselves so seriously - and should, perhaps, visit a hospital (if the nurses aren't on strike) and have those broom-handles surgically removed from their fundaments...

Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that lots of people can't bear him and just want him off the TV, and this is something to focus on. I'm an expat Brit living in the USA, and due to BBC America giving the man wall-to-wall exposure, I absolutely cannot stand him. I would love to see him off my television. I get your point, but I think the reaction is due to people just having had enough of the oaf.

Davey said...

To be fair, Bill Hicks wasn't funded by taxpayers money.

Should Clarkson be fired? No.

He should be made present a 12-part history of the labour movement in Britain. And fined £100 every time he makes a face to the camera.

SpartAcus said...

Good post, but I think it falls down on two points. This: 'I'm pretty sure that many who spartacussed their support for Paul a year ago, were calling for Clarkson to be sacked earlier today', is a sweeping and baseless assumption. I'm not arguing that it's not likely, but being pretty sure isn't the same as having evidence of it.

Secondly, if we take Paul Chambers as an example then it isn't also unreasonable to request that Jeremy Clarkson be held accountable in the same manner. That's before the question of context. Chambers posted a not even that ill-advised joke on his personal Twitter account. Clarkson had an audience of millions and *knew* he had that audience. Is there a question of personal responsibility on his part? I really think there is.

Chambers was arrested under the Terrorism Act for a joke he made on Twitter, Clarkson might well be on television and performing his tiresome, predictable schtick, but isn't his fundamentalist actually MORE inflammatory under the circumstances? It's certainly an incitement to *something* and let's not kid ourselves, there are hateful and ignorant people out there who COULD fail to take it in the spirit that was intended.

All of that said, I scrolled back to your original Tweet, and yes, it was hugely misunderstood. People easily misunderstand things. Someone should inform Jeremy Clarkson.

Thinking Sense said...

Aside from disputing the definition of the public sector as "industrial", hear hear.

Dutch said...

Jesus, how much time do you lot have on your hands!?

anarchic teapot said...

@Davey Now that could be funny, especially if the fine is levied on-camera.

12 episodes might be a bit much, though.

Anonymous said...

I'm someone who will quite happily dance on Thatcher's grave when she finally goes and I've said so many times, and that's a sentiment held by a great many of the anti-Clarkson posters here today, no doubt.

Hypocritical of me, therefore, if I were suddenly to begin criticising Clarkson, no?

The Bible might be a big book of fairy stories or it might be a guide to a certain way of life - bit it also contains a fair amount of common sense.

So, who's criticising Clarkson but has never wished ill, even in an irreverant, off the cuff manner to anyone, ever? I don't know the bible at all well but I'm sure it says, somewhere, and I paraphrasee, let him who is without sin cast the first stone. Hypocrits? You lot? Surely not...

Anonymous said...

Dave, you make a strong case for freedom of speech and I applaude that, but there have to be limits. My personal view is that calling for the public death of 2 million real people on live prime time TV in front of families and children goes beyond that limit. If we allow the defence of "I was only joking" we lose sight of where lines are drawn. I would defend the right of any man to have his own opinion, but we don't have to give prime time television space to the most vile of them to spout those opinions to the nation. My problem is with the BBC who continue to employ this opinionated moron with millions of pounds of license fee payers money. Personnally I would like to see them distance themselves from him and tear up his contract. There have to be boundaries and this went beyond in my view.

Richard said...

Surely the obvious punishment for Clarkson is to be placed onto a runway style racetrack whilst someone in a fast car tries to run him over #spartacus

Andy said...

We should force Clarkson to watch the One Show every week, that's the worst punishment I can think of.

S B said...

I am one who can't stand Clarkson and his two boy chums ,particularly James Mays or whatever his name is .I think that much of this furore is not so much because of what he said but because it was HIM and the two have got mixed up in the minds of those who saw the One Show .
Did he not do a piece on Kingdom Brunel for some TV show and I seem to remember it was well made and very enjoyable ...perhaps he should do more of that sort of thing instead of his " Big Boys Toys" stuff.
Folk ( like him ) on shows purely for promoting Books,DVD's,Films etc incense me much more than comments such as his. That should be stopped .

Crispin Fisher said...

For someone who believes in free speech Clarkson seems to spend an awful lot on money on injunctions stopping people writing any thing negative about him.

Public Private Partnership said...

I am fully in support of the strikers as and I also find Jeremy Clarkson funny !!

Perhaps I should be taken outside and shot, although personally I would prefer horsewhipping.

Anonymous said...

when we have to eat the rich to survive I bag Clarkson, should keep my family fed for years and you can use the skin to make a cosy tent!

Anonymous said...

Is it more offensive to say that someone should be shot (in jest and unlikely to ever happen) or to hold a country of taxpayers to ransom demanding unrealistic, unearned, gold plated pensions when the private sector contribute to those as well as their own which are suffering swingeing cuts in benefits?

Shooting solves nothing (less people paying tax, if they're employed); leaving the strikers to work out what went wrong when their plans to wreak havoc send our country into a faster spiral of self-destruction MIGHT just ensure that in the next generation (too late for this one) moderacy will have its voice. A pension has to be funded by those that want to enjoy them; the state owes its people nothing.

Martin said...

'I'm pretty sure that many who spartacussed their support for Paul a year ago, were calling for Clarkson to be sacked earlier today. Which seems to me to miss the point completely.'

Exactly the comparison I thought of when I saw the faux outrage on Twitter today.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree it was meant as a joke and people shouldn't get so heated about it, we are talking about Jeremy Clarkson. For this reason alone I would love to see him sacked in time for Christmas. I just loathe him so any excuse to get him off the BBC will do.

Tricky Trevor said...

Offence has nothing to do with my wanting Clarkson sacked from the BBC, as I wasn't offended. (Trying not to say 'so ner' at this point.)

I was angry that he'd made yet another unacceptable remark on a BBC platform, this time about colleagues, friends and fellow union-members of mine. There's a difference.

I simply ask that if he wishes to make lots and lots of money from daily-mail nitwits by being astonishingly nasty about people who don't deserve it, he do it via a channel that I haven't paid for and that doesn't have responsibilities and a reputation incompatible with Clarkson's schtick.

Let him say what he likes in a privately-owned newspaper, and let him receive the same treatment from the police and courts that others have received for less. (And yes, if appropriate, the same defence from namby-pamby lefties like me.)

He should have been handed his hat by the BBC a long time ago - on grounds of both common decency and quality of output - and now's as good a time as any to make that happen. That's all.

Ta,
TT

Nic said...

I'm swayed by this to the point of almost going back on my earlier blood-baying.. but isn't the difference between Clarkson and Brooker in the Guardian on Bush and the Robin Hood Airport Bomb - that Clarkson is paid £1.8m a year by a public sector broadcaster - who broadcast and set this up?

And he does this sort of thing all the time?

The BBC wouldn't employ Howard Stern or Glenn Beck - doesn't mean we should censor them either.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a joke is a joke, but what makes it in spectacular bad taste is the fact that Anders Breivik actually referenced Clarkson before going on his murderous rampage.

http://www.wowdewow.co.uk/o-screen/mass-murderer-and-jeremy-clarkson/

In the light of that, jokes about shooting anyone are become far more disturbing.

Jonny said...

This blog entry offends me and I demand compensation for my distress.

Nick63 said...

For fear of ending up sounding like a Clarkson 'fanboy' (which I'm not, although I do find him occasionally amusing, occasionally very funny), the subject of Clarkson's alleged BBC salary keeps coming up as a tool to batter him over the head with.

We're not talking about an exorbitant 'J Ross' style salary which could never hope to be recouped... I would dare say that Clarkson's salary is more than repaid by the very fact that the format of 'new' Top Gear has been sold around the world by the BBC... a format Clarkson and the show's Executive Producer, Andy Wilman devised...

Whatever he is (prat, fool, thoughtless berk...), Clarkson is not costing the BBC/licence fee payers any money... he's actually doing the exact opposite.

little red book said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0i0RXMvzMs&feature=youtube_gdata_player What a lot of arguing over a very simple tweet.

Anonymous said...

The guy socialises with alleged phone hackers and is no stand-up comedian.

It would be a poor judge of character who didn't recognise the type of person he is before this storm in a teacup.

Personally, I would like to see all BMW and 4 x 4 drivers shot.

George Seymour said...

I agree 100% Dave. The lack of consistency from people in their views depending on who said them is something that I find hard to believe.

Yes, there are people who offend me, but they have a right to offend me, because people are offended by different things. Frankie Boyle offends me, and I don't like his jokes, so I don't watch him, I don't like him, I don't buy his DVDs.

I understand that people will like it, and I believe he has a right to say what he wants.

If people believe in freedom of speech, and there are a lot of people who say they do, but really don't. Then people must be allowed to say things you don't like, that offend you, that run counter to what you believe is right.

Freedom works both ways, and wanting to get someone sacked, for a joke that was obviously one is really pathetic.

Especially, as Dave theorises, and I agree with, a lot of these people will have been against the prosecution of the Robin Hood airport joker, like I was.

I am probably however one of 'them' as Dave calls them, being a libertarian and classified by most on the right.

Patricia said...

"X should be lined up and shot" -- to me that's a hyperbolic expression that's been in use for decades (also "taken out and shot"). It would be offensive if there was the slightest thought that this might happen. Clarkson's always suggesting vile over-the-top punishments for people for such crimes as poor dashboard design, diesel engines, and driving vehicles he doesn't like, and I always find a bit of self-mockery in it, laughing at himself a little for how much he hates something. He'll also go from one extreme to the other, which sounds like what he did in his full response.
The outcry about this one time seems ridiculous.

Nick63 said...

Anonymous, OK... I'll bite (though I suspect there's a degree of Trolling here)...

1. 'The guy socialises with alleged phone hackers...' ALLEGED. What's he supposed to do? Drop his friends because YOU don't like them? However guilty they may or may not be, would you drop your friends when they are in trouble?

2. '...and is no stand-up comedian.' When has he ever claimed to be a comedian of any kind? He's a journalist, with a sense of humour that doesn't suit all tastes. But at least he has a sense of humour; which you appear not to have... But that's my judgement, based solely on what I know of you - which is bugger all, except what you have written here.

Before you judge someone, get a wider view and read this, and then tell us this is a bad man with no redeeming features...; http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/leisure/features/imago_intuition/profiles/5016320.For_the_love_of_Harry/

Anonymous said...

Sorry I don't see where lining anyone up to be shot is funny, the guy is more intelligent than that, at least I thought he was. That people think that it was 'funny' says a lot about those people and the country we are becoming.

Anonymous said...

Do we have then also the right to get offended by Bernard Manning's jokes? Where do you draw the line between bad taste and racism for example?

Nick63 said...

It's not for me,or you or anyone else to tell anyone else what they find to be offensive - in this context, at least. It's a personal thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Personally, I never liked Bernard Manning's 'humour', mainly because I never saw the humour; to me he just wasn't funny. That he was a racist too didn't help his cause; whenever he was on TV when I was a kid in the late '60s through the '70s, I just turned to another channel. I'd do exactly the same now.

What I find far more pernicious are the comedians - of my generation - who claim to use racism in an 'ironic' context.

But Clarkson's comment (and having just seen it for the first time in full on the BBC news - I find it even more baffling why so many people are so 'offended' and po-faced about it) however ill-judged, doesn't bear any comparison with Manning; that's just a dumb parallel to make.

However, as offensive (and just not funny) as I personally find the likes of Jimmy Carr (all the time), Ricky Gervais (most of the time)and Frankie Boyle (occasionally, but usually spectacularly), it's not for me or anyone else to tell anyone else that they can't like them just because I find them offensive.

Drawing a line... I don't draw a line; it's up to those telling the jokes to draw the line for themselves... if you, personally, find them offensive, don't watch them or listen to them. It's that simple.

George Seymour said...

That's where most people draw the line, and that is why I said a lot of people say they believe in freedom of speech but really don't.

Freedom of speech means without boundaries, without qualifiers, and without limits. You can literally say whatever you want, you have complete freedom to do that.

A lot of people are not comfortable with that. They would prefer racist comments as well as racist practices/discrimination to be outlawed.

It's interesting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has no qualifiers on freedom of expression http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml#a19

It doesn't for example say "You can say anything except that which is racist or will cause offence"

But then again many tenets of that document are not adhered to.

Personally I find racism reprehensible, but I still believe in complete freedom of speech, those who are wrong and idiotic should be allowed to prove it.

Dave Gorman said...

@Anonymous: the difference between this and racism (or homophobia, sexism etc etc)is that we are not divided by our race (or sexuality, gender etc etc) but we are divided by our political views.

Anonymous said...

Nick63.

Any friend of Rebekah (with a K) Brooks has to have a dubious character and you obviously drive a BMW or 4 x 4 and should be shot.

No comparison can be made between Hicks and Clarkson. One is a funny man, the other a buffoon

You can judge a person by the company they keep

Rag said...

Um... Aren't people making a bit too much of a none issue? It was a glyb comment made by a pillock. Can't we all find something not worthy and important to get incensed about? I am valiantly resisting the urge to scream 'GET A 'KIN GRIP PEOPLE!!!' Trivialities like this deflect attention from the real issues. Hell, it even took up time on Question Time tonight. Seriously? Get over it.

Rag said...

*'more', not 'not'

Kano said...

Some people love Clarkson, some hate him. He has his views, most are very tongue in cheek and as any comedian will say - "it's just a joke". If you really think Clarkson was advocating people to be shot you need to go and see your doctor and get some stronger tablets as the ones you're currently on are not strong enough.

I personally didn't find his comments offensive as I have the intelligence not to search out things to be offended by. And I really don't understand how people can be offended by any individual's opinion. If you don't like it, form your own opinion on them.

Censorship by the offended minority (or possibly majority in this case) is an extremely worrying trend; as supposed exponents of freedom of speech in this country, we should discourage it whenever possible. If Clarkson has reinforced your opinion that he is a buffoon then so be it, but do not demand his censorship on MY behalf.

Dave Gorman said...

@Nick63: no comparison is made between Hicks and Clarkson. The blog doesn't claim they are equivalent. Indeed, the point I'm making would make no sense whatsoever unless you venerated Hicks and denigrated Clarkson. That's the point.

And you're obviously trolling... because "has to have a dubious character and you obviously drive a BMW or 4x4 and should be shot" is exactly the same kind of hyperbolic nonsense as that that you're complaining about.

I know you think he's a more legitimate target - and I'm inclined to agree - but that's got nothing to do with it. He's doing the same joke as you. You think he shouldn't be allowed to. Then neither should you. etc etc etc.

Nick63 said...

Dave,
I take your point about the non-equivalence of Hicks and Clarkson; I do venerate Hicks; he was one of the first American comedians who, I felt, managed to fully engage with a British audience without compromising the message he wanted to make... as for Clarkson, yes he's a bit of a buffoon (at least his public persona is), but he can be funny - very funny.

However, Hicks and Clarkson do have at least one thing in common; they have both offended a lot of people in their time. Hicks knew he would offend people and was very up front about it, whereas with Clarkson,I suspect that in his spoken unscripted utterances, it's more a case of failing to engage his brain before opening his mouth.

As for the 'BMW/4x4' comment - I think Anonymous was directing that at me and was definitely 'trolling'... and wasn't worth a response.

Interesting blog today!

Rag said...

@VRK... Yes, but Ross and Brand were offensive and hurtful to an individual, in a personal way, and on his answer phone.

@Paul... If it happened in this country, in this day and age, then I have completely misjudged the political climate. People jumping up and down about the comment are looking for a stage. And they are on the wrong one. Cos this fight is about Clarkson, not the cause.

@Chris... If the gobshite thought before he spoke, he may have come up with your version. But I feel that would be crediting him with thinking further than 'Ooh, this will be funny and get peoples backs up.' But martyr? He'd have to die first. Interesting concept. Maybe we ought to look into it further.

@Tricky Trev... Do you have so little faith in people that you believe the glyb comments of a prat will sway the mood of the nation? Are your colleagues, friends and fellow union-members so fragile that the glyb comments of the afforementioned prat going to wound them? And don't you think that giving any credence to it may just detract from the real issue?

@Patricia... You forgot to mention caravan owners. That alone is enough to get you on Clarksons extermination list.

@Gorman... I feel I should be coming up with something pithy right now. But I got nothing. Other than that political division has nothing to to with the issue of this blog. It's all about being able to recognise a joke (funny or not), and spot the difference between attempted humor and political issues. It appears that people would rather be incensed about a celebrity being a twat than the issue he was being a twat about. Was that pithy? Yeah, ok. I need to work on my pithy.

Anonymous said...

The Bill Hicks piece was grossly offensive, was any action taken against him for it?

Flay said...

Nicely said, Dave. Check out this victory for common sense that was awarded two days ago in Leeds Crown Court. But also read the prosecutor's remarks and cringe.

Simon said...

The point that people are missing is, people like Clarkson have a lot of influence amongst the population. After Sarah Palin said that democratic politicians should be targetted, one nutter went out and shot a democratic politician. When Clarkson for example says that cyclists should be run over, it increases the likelihood of some drivers behaving more aggressively to cyclists. Likewise you may see more aggression towards public sector workers (many of whom already get quite a lot) as a result of Clarkson's words. Clarkson isn't a comedian, he isn't funny and therefore he is more likely to be taken seriously. I think he should at least be suspended from the BBC, as Ross was, and given the chance to think through the consequences of his actions. Personally I would be very happy if he never appeared in the media again, but that's just my personal view.

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahahahaha at all of the above and the situation. Very funny, really made my day.

By the way children are still dying all over the world etc etc etc, while you all debate your pointless points. I think you all need a smack round the head to wake you all up.

Idiots the lot of you. That is all. Cheerio!!

Dazzie said...

What a load of cobblers... what gives all the people on here and facebook and twitter the right to criticise someone who is criticising someone ???? Surely that makes them no better than him, apart from the fact that he has the bottle to visibly say these things and not just sit dithering behind a keyboard wasting his life looking for something to moan at... I like jeremy clarkson because he is a useless oaf, thats the appeal of him, and lets face it I for one would not mind being a pound behind him, He is a sucessful tv presenter, if you dont like him turn the channel over there is enough to choose from and you live in a FREE country where everyone is allowed an opinion whatever it may be.... But lets face it, people love to moan about anything, the people MOANING about Clarkson this week will be on another website on another bandwagon MOANING about something else next week, These people are career moaners with to much time on their hands, dont encourage them, I'm sure one or them will reply to this soon and MOAN about my spelling.... GROW UP !!!

Nanchatte Technojunkie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nanchatte Technojunkie said...

Ooh... Yes, Yes! Clarkson's going after the "Offensive Comment Dollar". That's a really BIG dollar because people are so easy to offend these days.

I just noticed that nearly everyone who has commented above is on the same side of this article's "non" debate.

In summary? Funny, no? In jest? Yes. Prison time? No.

Someone above said, "but Clarkson's not a comedian."
So, does that mean he's not entitled to make a joke? If that was the case, the vast majority of us would be summarily curtailed from talking since we're not comedians either.

Even so, I remember spending many an hour in sum-total over the years watching JC and guffawing at the euphemistically engorged descriptions he often gave "little foreign cars." A lot more entertaining than some 'comedians' I've been unfortunate enough to watch.

eyegenic said...

This, as always, is about power and the use or abuse of it. Clarkson is in a position of individual power. He has regular access to large scale media outlets through which his voice can be broadcast. Striking public sector workers only have any power through collective action which is much harder to abuse. Almost all his so called "jokes" are actually abuse hurled at weaker less privileged sections of society. I never see him making many jokes about the powerful or those who reward him handsomely. This reveals him to be a hypocrite and a bully. I liken him to a Nazi commander who says things like "so you are a jew (substitute black, homosexual, gypsy, communist etc) , ha ha ha, well we have special holiday camps for people like you, ha ha ha, how would you like to go to one with your entire family, ha ha ha, I think you will like it so much you will never come back, ha ha ha" Get the idea? Very funny.

Blackstage4n6 said...

....calculator out adding lost Clarkson Christmas gift product sales of DVDs and books that were potentially going to be bought by public sector workers.... I'd like to think that it will cost him a few quid in lost business, plus he didn't really endear himself to his audience either :-)

Ian Hickton said...

I was almost as shocked at Clarkson's comments as I was when I found out that the Pope was Catholic and that, yet worse, bears prefer a wooded area in which to go poo-poos.

Variation On a Theme said...

@ George Seymour: Good point well made. I believe in freedom of speech and hate that people want a society where speech is restricted. It's a slippery slope when we start restricting people's freedom to say what they want, but a gift to a repressive government. I'm currently working in China: enough said.

Pete McG said...

It's very much a question of the contexts; who said it; where & when he said it; how he said it; and how people found out about it.

Who - it was Clarkson, arguably the less controversial of the two JCs I can think of, but a very good hook to hang a complaint on. Had it been Carr or Boyle or Brand, there would have been similar furore, just from a different quarter. Had it been Nigel Havers, possibly not (but his actoring skills probably would have kept the intended meaning clear). People demanding like treatment for him as had occurred in the past for Brand or Boyle or Carol Thatcher seem to be motivated more by a handy precedent than fairness or commensurate response.

Where/When - Dinner time on BBC1. Had he said it on Mock the Week or Have I Got News For You, even Channel 4 News, people wouldn't have been that bothered. I seem to recall Jimmy Carr having a similar "uh-oh" moment when he rolled out a line comparing being "the hardest working comedian in the business" to being "the most handsome man in the burns unit". Can't remember if it was the One Show, but he realised he'd pushed it too far, the presenter apologised, and he also made apology-style noises at the time.

How. If he'd stopped at the bit about having people shot, he probably would have not ruffled too many feathers. It's still a relatively common phrase. But then re-stating it as “executing them” “in front of their children”, in the BBC dinnertime context, made a very jarring point of what was a throwaway remark. Same as difference as saying "they can go and get stuffed" and following up with "Frankly, they can go and fuck themselves" - same basic meaning, but one not very clever for that context.

How people found out. As with a lot of self-sustaining media storms, outrage has built considerably after the fact. Whether it's through Twitter or an editorial in the Mail, the level of reported outrage quickly loses sight of the actual offence. Clarkson is a regular target of twitstorms, he just served up a good one this time.

At the end of the day, this stopped being about what he said some time ago. I've had a couple of pops at him myself, and he's gone through the motions of an apology. He's lost some sales, gained some more, as well as at least one chapter in his next book. Let's call it a yellow card.

Anonymous said...

The BBC is funded by tax payers like me so I think anyone on the BBC who says something I don't like should be immediately sacked. In fact the same goes for Sky (as I pay my subscription there too) and all of the programmes they schedule. Anything of which I disapprove should lead to a sacking!! In fact I'm offended by my own post, right that's it!!

Private Public Partnership said...

@eyegenic

You are the Godwin Troll and I claim my £5

Move along now folks nothing more to see!

Anonymous said...

Are people REALLY offended? It's a joke. Some people think it's funny. Some people think it isn't. Some people may raise a smile at most.

I'm a vegetarian and we know Clarkson hates veggies. If he'd said "All vegetarians should be shot" would I be offended? No, because it's obviously a rib. Non-veggies would probably find it funnier than carnivores, but that's a separate subject.

Now what if he'd said "All Muslim people should be shot", few people would find it funny and more people would be truly offended.

The question is, why should that be so? I can only assume the people 'offended' by what he said are offended in the same way a lot of us would be offended if he'd said it about a race or religion.

So is that a failing of people being 'too' offended? Or is it just that society dictates what is and what isn't offensive, but there will be people or stray outside the 'norm' and are, or not offended, by what affects the majority?

Dave Gorman said...

@Anonymous: we're not divided by our race/gender/sexuality etc. Jokes that claim people of a different race should be shot are inherently more offensive than jokes about people you disagree with. Neither person means that people should be shot. But "I don't like people whose political opinions I disagree with" is understandable, while "I don't like people of a different race to me" is not.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I could not possibly condone the 'cleansing' of thousands of public sector workers, I am not in support of their actions in any way shape or form.

As public servants so to speak, I expect them to be a little more mindful of the current financial climate which at the moment can best be described as 'stagnant'. The government has a limited set of funds to distribute which at the moment appears to be concentrated on liberating countries within the axis of evil of their natural resources, the same very resources that heat our homes and keep our cars on the road.

If public sector pay was very low and making it difficult for people to survive then they have a valid point, the fact is very different. I happen to know many public sector workers across a broad range of job types and whilst they are not affluent they are certainly not poor.

Life is far harder in the private sector for an equivalent pay package, inferior pension plan and less job stability. Unions, like committees exist only to waste time and money and bugger all of note rarely comes out of them. JC may be an aquired taste where his timing and delivery are concerned but his underlying message is essentially correct.

Well that's the rant over with, I originally popped in to see what Dave was up to these days having just watched the googlewack tour and was a little disappointed to find I have just missed the latest tour, Guildford in particular!

Any more planned for this end of the Uk?

T

Anonymous said...

jeremy clarkeson is a classic example of the inverse ratio between the dimensions of the intellect and the vocabulary. perhaps [and i have the right to be as insensitive as clarkeson] he should say something about the Qu'ran and spend the rest of his life with Salman Rushdie?

Phucknut said...

The thing is, of all the jokes Clarkson has made, this one wasn't aimed actually taking the piss out of anyone.

Surely the butt of this joke was the BBC's "balance" policy. Not the people involved in the strike. Wasn't he just coming out with two equally stupid reactions to the issue. He was maybe coming at it from a right wing perspective but it's still a valid point, that sometimes a story SHOULDN'T have balance. Sometimes there is only one side that should be given airtime as all evidence points to it being the right point of view. In this case, the strikes, I am sure I disagree with Clarkson, but on the actual point he was making I agree.

Didn't Dara O'Briain and Brian Cox get in trouble for this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucfpaqR6EtA I don't think the liberal twittersphere (of which I would class myself as a member)were outraged by what was essentially exactly the same joke.

I 100% agree with Dave Gorman here. Clarkson is a twat, and should be allowed to be, but if you single him out on this issue you've missed the point completely.

Ian Shuttleworth said...

Paul Chambers had neither form on which his bomb-the-airport tweet might be judged to be not entirely inconsistent with numerous past remarks, nor status from which to say it. Clarkson has both, and his shoot-the-protesters came in the context not just of his gag about balance but in the wider context of his persona as a whole and his genuinely voiced views.

And because of Clarkson's status, what he said ceased to be about him only, but about all of us. Because a culture that not only puts up with such an egregious public twat but pays him millions to be an egregious public twat and even lionises his egregious public twatdom is, I think, culpable in itself, because it shows that such twattish views are actually a part of that culture's discourse. And I'd rather not acquiesce in letting the culture I'm part of be that kind of culture. I'd rather it changed. And so, yes, holding Clarkson to account in his pay packet and/or his Beeb contract is one way of changing it. A tiny wee bit, but a tiny wee bit at a time is all we can manage. So let's do it.

BeCo74 said...

A brilliant article and a lesson in 'How to React'.

I have felt a little embarrassed by my own reaction to Jeremy Clarkson's appearance on The One Show (SEE - straight away I feel like a nob). Shamed by my own hypocrisy. Guilty in front of... my heroes who ALL proudly speak out to express their beliefs who sometimes use extreme examples of death for comedy affect … to give it that extra 'oooomph'.

This is my defence:

1. I fucking hate Jeremy Clarkson and almost everything that he represents.
2. I have enormous sympathy for those who strike, protest and march against a Government that is run by his chum from the Chipping Norton set.
3. I was a bit slightly inebriated and emotional after watching my beloved Crystal Palace beat Manchester United at Old Trafford.

I nodded in unison with the hysterical masses for these reasons and I apologise to the World Wide Web and to all those offensive fuckers who I respect. Though in an interesting twist … I’m actually more offended by the wording of Clarkson’s apology that I am for the insult he made.

bobbert said...

Wow, I used to consider you to be one of the more intelligent comedians out there, but if you couldn't get Clarkson's humour then perhaps I was mistaken :(

Steve from Croydon said...

Why is it ok for Radio 4's "The Now Show" to suggest that Jeremy Clarkaon be thrown on a fire and to watch him burn (it got the biggest cheer and applause of the show)? Where are all the complaints about this suggestion that he is seriously injured or killed? Is it ok to suggest injuring/killing an individual as opposed to an abstract killing of thousands of people? Surely if Clarkson should make such statements, neither should Punt and Dennis!

Dave Gorman said...

@bobbert: did you comment without reading the blog? Because it looks like you only bothered to read the title to me?

shadowphiar said...

@Steve from Croydon: I also noticed the way that Have I Got News For You showed what they claimed was "the whole comment in context" so that people could make up their own minds, but clipped off the bit at the end which made it absolutely clear that he was making a joke (i.e. that he was offering two opinions as requested, and that neither of them actually represented his own view).

bobbert said...

>> @bobbert: did you comment without reading the blog? Because it looks like you only bothered to read the title to me?

To my eternal shame, you're quite right, I'll go kill myself now, just not in front of a train...

Miserable Old Goat said...

Disappointed with a lot of people on this and you Dave actually because you cite you didn't find the 'joke' funny.

I despise Clarkson but on this he has been wrongly vilified

If you take the trouble to see the joke in context he was asked what hen thought of the strikes- he replied that "they were wonderful and meant he could zoom around quickly as there was no traffic on the road" pressed by a concerned Alex as this view was 'controversial' he then said....

"oh alright then for balance as this is the BBC and we have to show both sides".....shoot them etc

He was actually taking a sleight at the Beeb's stance on perceived equality any of you idiots who didn't get that are just part of a haying mob

Shame on you Gorman - it's all about the context which you have subtly chosen to ignore

Dave Gorman said...

@Miserable Old Goat: You're quite right that it was a joke about BBC balance. I still don't think it was funny. & I still think it's oafish & insensitive. & I still support his right to say it and hate the call-to-arms that followed it.

Miserable Old Goat said...

Thanks for the reply

I agree with your points and you're right - in fact you managed to create some "found poetry" here

But what you article didn't make clear was the absolute context - it wasn't even a 'joke' he was just responding in the manner in which he was expected to respond given the fact that the presenter implied his view was unbalanced.

You want balance?
I'll give you balance.....

I do think your blog took the wrong angle - the uproar over the 'joke' took the words he said out of context - he was making a point about 'PC' etc.

This is on the same lines as your powerpoint presentation about your "jewishness" - protest too much you're damned - don't protest it's wrong.

Having come up with a glib line about no traffic, Clarkson was forced to counter it with a suitably outrageous counter about how wrong the strikes were.

Get your facts right people...

I still despise Clarkson though....

Dave Gorman said...

@Miserable Old Goat: Like I say, I agree with you that the joke was about BBC balance. Like I say, I still find it unfunny and insensitive. I think this: "Having come up with a glib line about no traffic, Clarkson was forced to counter it with a suitably outrageous counter about how wrong the strikes were" is why - the first isn't really *for* the strikes, it's a glib faux-selfish comment that is in essence taking no stance whatsoever. It's ace the roads are empty - and it's terrible, they're all selfish aren't opposite ends of the spectrum. Neither comment is pro-strike. One is pro-Clarkson, the other anti-strike.

I'm not especially bothered - and the blog is about people's reaction to the joke more than the joke itself.