Yet more depravity at the top: Jeremy Clarkson’s joke

How depraved is our ruling elite: No 2

Ah, yes. A big Number two.

Then there’s the BBC okaying Jeremy Clarkson’s Pinochetesque outburst calling for strikers to be taken out and shot in front of their families. Under pressure from 21,000 complaints, the public corporation then told him to apologise, exercising more punitive authority over two middle-aged lads making a mischievous phone call in Sachsgate than they have over the popular entertainer so admired by Norwegian killer Anders Breivik and the EDL who are calling for attacks on trade unionists.

I am told by John Mendelsohn that, in the US, Ann Coulter is calling for a Kent State-like response (that is, fatal shootings) to the Occupy movement.

String him up with dental floss and then make him drive a Trabant. Only joking.

Or throttle him with his own oversized gizzards in front of his idiot sidekick. Only choking.

Not that the “only joking” plea worked for the Facebook Two, jailed for four years each after the summer riots, or Paul Chambers convicted and fined over a joke Tweet in the Twitter joke trial.

Before Clarkson fans start bleating about freedom of speech, remember that this is someone who supports the use of super-injunctions for the rich and, indeed, reached for his lawyer to shut up his ex-wife when he didn’t like what she was saying about him. He only had the order lifted when he saw that it didn’t work.

Comics (I know, Clarkson’s not very comical) bust down taboos, paving the way for others to follow: usually good when you are mocking authority and control. But how about when you are facilitating the return of a mindset that divides us, that reinforces the powers of those repressive authorities? The beeb surely wouldn’t want their man planting a seed in the collective unconscious for use of the same atrocities occurring in places like Colombia. Surely not just as working people are starting to challenge the pillaging of their their livelihoods by bankers and business, and when the right is on the rise in Europe?

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5 thoughts on “Yet more depravity at the top: Jeremy Clarkson’s joke”

  1. Mmmm.I worry about the "outrage" caused by JC's comments. Clearly they weren't to be taken seriously, and in the context of the interview it was apparent he was just being his sarcastic, arrogant, OTT media-persona. Like him or loathe him, he is merely an entertainer. Are we really getting to the point that we do have to use "only joking" to highlight humour? And yes, people have been arrested recently for not doing just that, and that IS wrong. Let's hope they never happen again!

    I'd also mention that Unison calling for his instant dismissal, given what they stand for, is surely the dictionary definition of irony…

  2. That's the thing, though, Clarkson is not "merely an entertainer". He's a particularly highly paid, highly prized and ubiquitous entertainer AND commentator. His remarks are located not just in the context of his flippancy, but also in that of what we can infer from the totality of his output about his genuine views, and additionally in the broader context still of the culture that accords such a position, such prominence and such value to such a person. His remarks taint the entire culture, and I for one object to being thus tainted.

  3. I have to agree with Ian, Paul. Clarkson isn't any old lumbering buffoon. He is one with power to help set the bar for what's acceptable in the culture. His newspaper columns are there to vent a poisonous view that potentially means misery and worse for struggling working people, even if they are dressed up as entertainment.

    Given the trajectory of our economics, headed for a dark place, I'd prefer to challenge it before it becomes naturalised and acceptable.

  4. I don't think he was exactly joking – I think he was being deliberately crass and provocative. And I think he should take the consequences of that. And yes, the fact that he's a notorious right-wing bigot does probably make a difference!

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