Ah, Clarkson! You either love him or you hate him. I for one love him. Not just for the pure entertainment value that he offers but also because I find him so refreshing. He’s one of the few people left in the world, well in the public eye at least, who is not afraid of all this political correctness bullshit!
I detest political correctness! People are far too easily offended nowadays. We are supposed to have freedom of speech, but what an absolute joke that is. We don’t have freedom of speech per se, we have freedom of speech so long as no one is offended by it. Which means we can’t say anything about fat people, thin people, ginger people, mentally ill people, tall people, short people, black people, white people… oh yeah, people! That’s about the long and the short of it and that’s if we just talk about them in a way someone should find offensive. What if we dare to joke about someone?! Well we pretty much get hung, drawn and quartered!
I don’t know about you, but humour is what keeps me going. No matter how rough things get, no matter if I feel I could cheerfully curl up and die, hell, even if someone I love actually has died, my sense of humour remains intact. Ok, it may take a back seat for a few hours when something really terrible has happened, but it’s never far away. It’s always back within a few hours because that’s how I cope.
It’s not just me, it runs in my family. I still remember the day my granddad died. He was 84 and pretty dammed healthy, then one day he literally dropped dead through a heart attack. The shock was the worst part of it, my grandma had been ill for a long time and we’d all been expecting death to come for her first, yet it was my perfectly healthy granddad who suddenly went and kicked the bucket! The whole family was shaken to the core, the rest of the day was spent with us all in my grandparent’s house, crying, hugging and doing exactly as you’d expect. It should be mentioned here that my granddad, whist endlessly generous in some ways was as tight as they come in many other ways, it was a running joke for years. Now the day before this happened my brother had spent a load of money on getting my granddad a fireplace he’d wanted, the plan being that granddad would give my brother back the money for it. So there we are, all crying and hugging and whatnot and all of a sudden my brother came out with, “I knew he’d do anything to get out of paying for that fireplace!” Well we rolled up! Partly because it was just funny and partly because it felt like he was still with us as we laughed at this joke we’d all shared for so long. From then on, no matter how heartbroken we were, we remembered not to just be sad that he’d died, but to be dammed thankful that he’d lived!
I’m aware I seem to have digressed somewhat from the original topic of Jeremy Clarkson, but don’t fret, I will tie it all together. The point of the story about my granddad is that humour in all situations and contexts is hugely important. The problem now is that we have to be more and more careful about using it freely for fear of offending some overly sensitive excuse for a human being. I honestly can’t comprehend how people can be so easily offended but that, again, may be down to my family and their sense of humour. I’ve grown up thick-skinned and able to both take and give out a hell of a lot of good humoured ribbing, no matter what it’s about.
Back to Clarkson. I think it’s a travesty that for years the man has been berated for speaking his mind. A travesty which entirely demonstrates my point about how, in reality, we do not have freedom of speech. People have spent years complaining about him. Now whether you like him or not I believe he should have everyone’s support because, forgetting what he was eventually sacked for, he stands for something important. He’s fighting back against the oppression we face from ‘political correctness’. He won’t be silenced and he won’t bow down to the idea that we may no longer say what we really feel about something and we certainly must not find humour in it! To support someone like Clarkson is to fight back for our rights to say as we please and also to fight back against the ludicrous oversensitivity that is taking over the world. I mean, how far will we allow it to go? Do you know there are certain companies and organisations where it is forbidden to ask for a black coffee or refer to it as such! I can’t even begin to express just how stupid this is! Black is a colour, items that are black (or near as dammit in the case of black coffee) should be referred to as such. I would like to say more about this but honestly I find it so mind-blowingly insane that I genuinely cannot find the words to do so. It is however a perfect example of just what damage over-sensitivity is doing to the world and why we should not allow it.
Now as I’ve used Clarkson for the back-bone of this article I feel I should mention that of course I am aware that it wasn’t actually anything he said that finally got him the boot. It was punching a producer. Well, frankly I’m not about to condemn him for this, partly because I know if I’d worked all day and couldn’t get access to hot food, I’d be more than a little pissed off too, though admittedly I probably wouldn’t go as far as punching someone over it! Secondly, because he knew what he’d done was stupid, it was Clarkson himself who took the matter to the BBC management in order to apologise and he has also made a point of telling people that the producer is not to be blamed for any of the fallout. The BBC has now lost its biggest earner over this. Obviously they had to sack him didn’t they, it’s the done thing. Shame they didn’t seem to take quite such a hard line on Jimmy Savile! I’m going to go ahead and assume those last few sentences speak for themselves!
Clarkson should have everyone’s support and backing, regardless of our opinion on whether or not he is, as James May calls him, a bit of knob, purely because of what he represents. Unless of course we wish to live in a world where we can’t ask for a black coffee or indeed before long, I would imagine, a skinny latte or maybe even a ginger ale.
And on that bombshell….