If you have read any of my earlier posts you may get the impression that I have several axes to grind and can find fault in anything or anyone. This is true!
I try to call it as I see it with full understanding that my opinions are exactly that, mine and mine alone. They are all subject to my individual experiences, perceptions, outlooks and biases. Simply put, if you are not me and in the room at the time, you may not know of what I speak of or why.
Most times however I try and be topical and opine over daily large media events and 'goings on' of the day to day automotive experiences of modern life in the 21st century. That is what makes this topic so good and one I know that many of you may not like and I suspect I will get several pieces of hate mail for it.
Jeremy Clarkson Fired!: So What, Get Over It!
It feels as though there are two distinct camps of thought on this subject: One, he is the greatest man alive, TV personality, and it's a crime against humanity and an attack on our very liberty and freedoms as citizens of democratic societies. Two, this has been a long time in coming and this racist, bigoted Neanderthal deserves what he got.
Well, the truth is that it's a little from column A and a little from column B.
Yes we should be able to express ourselves freely without reprisals and unencumbered by any legal or government rule. There are exceptions to that of course and mostly we accept those limits to free speech. Threats against a countries leaders, incitement of hatred or violence towards minorities or outright slander.
Even I have problems with those rules at times. Back in the 90's there was a man by the name of Ernst Zundel who found himself in hot water here in Canada and the USA over his books and his denial of the Holocaust and his general Nazism.
Make no mistake about it and clearly understand what I mean: this guy was and is a complete fucking tool, fuck him! But, I think he should have been allowed to publish his books and say whatever he wanted about the Holocaust and Jews in general. I think the more you let these idiots speak the better.
Bring out into the light, the vile hatred and pure evil people like this have and the more you can tear it down. Exposing the stupid is a good thing. His arguments could not and cannot meet the burden of proof that forces us all to examine it when foisted upon the public at large.
While these very beliefs and long held hatreds, once very openly accepted in society at large, are today primarily private and underground clubs and 'society' constructs. Forcing these ideals and people to the underground does not serve to end or abolish them at all and in some cases seems to make them stronger: have you heard what republicans have been saying for the past 20 years?
On the other hand, column B, those who say the worst things about Mr. Clarkson, believe he got what he deserved and should have gotten long time a go. They may be right but, again you do not cure racism, sexism or any kind of 'ism' but trying to shut people up. The more you tried the worse he got.
The one that I don't understand is the whole 'Slope' incident. Not being British I didn't quite get it at the time but even I had an inkling that something was wrong. Why even go there? What was the point of that little racist diatribe? Make no bones about it, it was racist!
Would that 'joke' have been funny if the 'Slope' was in on the joke? I'm not sure but I suspect not. In the year 2015 we simply have lost our appetite for humorous racist speech. Would it have been better if a fellow Burmese resident made the joke? I still think not.
Mr. Clarkson is smart enough to know that as a public broadcaster, as someone who has the ears and eyes of the world upon him, he walked a tightrope every week he appeared and he simply slipped of the rope enough times that now he cannot recover: at least on the BBC.
At his best he was subtle enough and crafty enough to get his opinion out without overtly offending people directly. Large questions as to global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, the incorrect scale at which car users are targeted by environmental groups, more on that in another post, population expansion, local British politics and even world affairs from an imperialists' POV, he skimmed the line but never really crossed it.
The line crossing came in the last two or three years for some inexplicable reason. Was he just getting crankier as he got older? Who knows and it doesn't matter. He is a talent and I think the whole industry is worse if he isn't there to comment and be honest, even if I disagree or dislike his opinion.
The world moves on however and at some point he wasn't going to be there anyways. He simply moved that date forward and in a manner that most of us find sad.
What's next is very interesting though! Does he create another show elsewhere, on another broadcaster or move to the internet and do a subscription channel on YouTube or NetFlix? How will he cope with standard advertising television? Can he generate enough interest and revenue to do the type of show he wants and we expect on YouTube or NetFlix?
The shows popularity has waned in the last few years and most people, proof comes with the Drive+ YouTube channel, aren't willing to fork over cash for specific content on the internet because you know, the internet is free!
The BBC afforded Mr. Clarkson the ability to do whatever he wanted, without much of a filter and supplied a budget to match. Can he find that elsewhere? I think he may come to regret his lost position in the kingdom that is the BBC. Try and say some of the things about certain cars and manufacturer's when they pay the bills and advertise on your show.
In the end I think this is a case of someone whose ego got the best of him. He had a tantrum fit for a four year old. It wasn't his first but this one cost him. If you were the guy he punched, you would want him fired as well. If you had an employee who acted like this and treated you, the boss, like this, you'd fire him too. Be honest.
Do not feel sorry for Mr. Clarkson, he will be fine, more than fine. He had a dream job and did it for 20+ years and there is nothing to suggest he can't just pick up elsewhere. I loved and still love Top Gear. It was a great show and I will cherish the memories and old episodes.
It's time to move on however and find something and someone new.