Another high profile British celebrity figure has upset all and sundry by saying something rude. Jeremy Clarkson expressed his own opinion about the economic crisis and prime minister Gordon Brown’s handling of the situation by saying “we’ve got this one-eyed Scottish idiot.” What he said was clearly a bit rude and he has since apologised. But like the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross incidents, the context seems to have been misread by other groups making a bigger crisis than was necessary.
The only person who should really have taken offence to the comment should have been Gordon Brown (by all accounts he didn’t, having more important things to concern him). And he should only really been offended by being called an idiot (and only if he felt he wasn’t one). He is Scottish and he is blind in one eye, those are true descriptions. So why the Royal Institute for the Blind need to make a fuss or why Scottish people need to be offended is untenable. I don’t make a fuss when Chris Evans is described as ‘ginger’.
The worst bit is so called ‘public figures’ such as Labour MP Gordon Banks saying what Clarkson said was “unforgivable”. No. If anything is “unforgivable” then we need to reserve such damnation for the holocaust or the abuse of children. This attitude of being so quick to be offended, especially when it doesn’t concern us, contributes to the reason that we will never have peace in the world. As Obama said “unclench your fist”. It doesn’t just apply to dictators but to us all. We’re all so quick to judge, so prickly and jumpy. And we wonder why our youth are involved in street crime and violence.
Well I’m ‘offended’ by that MP not being prepared to forgive such a minor, irrelevant incident. He and the media that percolates this offended attitude not only counters the ‘sticks and stone may beak my bones but names will never hurt me’ stiff upper lip and firm resolve to be able to control one’s own emotions in the face of aggression but also continues to spread the message that it’s ok to demand ‘an eye for an eye’ and that a lack of respect should be met with anger and violence instead of understanding. It perpetrates the notion that society is ruled by retribution (which it isn’t) and that there isn’t room for freedom of speech or freedom of thought, forgiveness, or turning the other cheek.
People seem to forget that Clarkson made the comment in his irreverent show, Top Gear where he is famed for his particular style of brash and rude entertaining humour. Comedians are still reeling from the backlash from the Brand-Ross incidents: is it safe to make jokes anymore in case someone is offended on someone else’s behalf? Are we entering a 1984-style thought policed world where creativity is stifled?
I find it deeply offensive that these people can’t laugh it off or simply ignore it and I demand an apology from all the soft-headed weasels that can’t take a joke or an insult and hold them entirely responsible for holding back humanity from its advancement into a higher plane of consciousness and from preventing world peace. (I apologise in advance to the weasel species for any pain or loss of earnings incurred by comparing them to scum).