So by now it has become pretty well known that long-time TV favorite Jeremy “Jezza” Clarkson, has gotten himself into a splash of hot water. “So what?” you say, continuing to respond to written text verbally like some kind of reverse stenographer. “Jeremy is always in trouble, why not just tell me the sky is blue??”
Well you have a good point, though I’d appreciate you not throwing your sandwich at the monitor like that. Clarkson certainly has a way about him, but the question is really if it’s as big of a deal as it seems. I’ve been discussing this with a smattering of friends over the last week or so and it’s kind of difficult to see what all the fuss is about. I mean sure, he punched some guy in the face over something as ridiculous as a meal being cooked, but this is Jeremy “actually-only-2-years-older-than-Tom-Cruise” Clarkson. I won’t go as far as to make comparisons to a certain C. Montgomery Burns, but there are slightly more intimidating people to have throw a ham-fist towards the middle of your face, if i’m honest. It could be argued that, had he not already caused so many other rabbles in the past, this issue might have been of lesser consequence. But to be honest, even coming from the perspective of someone in the U.S., a place where Ray Rice is a thing, trying to get on the level with suspensions, hearings, lawyers, and show postponements for what has already far outgrown its original (and very fitting) Fracas-labeled jeans, seems like too much.
It actually reminds me a bit of an old top gear segment about British police vs American police in terms of “cool” factor. We have RWD v8 cop cars chasing felons backwards down the interstate and shotgun blasts to the unflinching torso’s of PCP fiends, and they have vauxhall astra diesels and funny hats for pregnant women to wee into. The UK just seems a bit…magoo, as a friend put it, about this sort of thing. There is something to be said though from the other side of things about perspective. I once knew a guy who’s parents used to fight in such enormity that I witnessed both a gun threatening and one underwear clad party attempt to run the other underwear clad party over with a car in the driveway. Once you see something like that, watching people argue about the temperature of steak can really seem quite pedestrian by comparison. No it isn’t really “OK” for him to act the way he does, and no contrasting levels of social desensitization to violence really changes that fact, but I think we can all agree there is something oddly endearing about the old goat, and he really wouldn’t be the clarkson we love, the clarkson responsible for the enjoyment of 350 *million* people a few weeks out of the year, if he wasn’t the unrefined contraption that he is.
You don’t buy a 30 year old sports car because you have any desire to follow emissions regulations, pay reasonable insurance premiums, get decent gas mileage or even be particularly comfortable. You do it to make noise, go sideways, dump the clutch at a red light next to some old blue-hair and flash your hazards when you win a race only you knew you were running. Clarkson represents a personification of the hoon in all of us, he’s the sports car you’ve convinced your wife you’ll be keeping despite the holes she wants to burn in it with her hate. So here’s hoping the BBC doesn’t make mini-van drivers of us just yet.