Jeremy Clarkson is a dick

Well, I’m sorry, but he is.

And that’s precisely the problem: I’m sorry about it.

The other day at Waterstones, I was offered Clarkson’s new book for a ridiculously low price, and I needed a fresh piece of easy-reading paperback for the old commute, so I thought what the hell… I have read the first two “World according to Clarkson” books and found them quite amusing, why not the third? It’s bound to be pretty much of the same ilk, right? Yep, it is. Pretty much exactly the same.

Now, you see, the problem is that I actually quite like him. That is a problem because he also irritates the hell out of me. The very thing that makes him so entertaining is precisely what irritates me so much. And that thing is that he expresses his opinions in a unashamedly blunt albeit witty manner, acting quite deliberately like a dick.

Then the worst happens. He goes and says something that actually makes sense, something you agree with, except of course, he’s still being a dick about it. So you end up stuck with the choice of either admitting you are a dick too, or you can try to persuade yourself that the whole dick persona is a narrative device and the man is not really as obtuse as a 179 degree angle.

I love Top Gear, I really do. I like cars, I like people being bloody daft (not in a Dirty Sanchez way, or a bloopers way, no, proper hand-crafted British artisan daft, the best kind of daft under the sun) and I like stars in reasonably priced cars. I think the Clarkson-May-Hammond trio is just perfect. Then some idiot went and said it was sexist that the show didn’t have a female presenter. Clarkson said this was stupid, and I’m sorry (again) but the man is right.
For a start, if they added a girl and treated her like they treat each other, they would be seen as picking on her, if they didn’t, they’d be leaving her out. In fact, before even considering that, why on earth would they add a woman to the team? Why would they even add another man? They are not just presenters, they are a comedy trio. Did the 3 Stooges get bashed for not having a female member? What if someone was to suggest French & Saunders found themselves a jolly male companion to make things all proper and PC? No, because the comedy device would no longer work. Because working out a winning formula for laughs is something far too important to submit it to the petty rules of gender equality. Comedy should be taken very seriously.

So here I am agreeing with Clarkson again. Oh well, I guess if they talk enough, even dicks are statistically right some of the time.

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5 thoughts on “Jeremy Clarkson is a dick

  1. Hey Kat,

    I actually find it hard to attach the label ‘dick’ to the man, just because, as often as he gets into the news for his ‘controversial’ comments, he just seems too…well, mellow. Somehow benign despite it all. Maybe it’s his age and that makes him easier to dismiss as that kind of lovable old fool, but I think he’s reached the stage now where that kind of characteristic remark is mostly showmanship, a parody of itself, something to get the audience to chuckle fondly and think, ‘There goes Clarkson again.’

    I haven’t read any of his books, but the man doesn’t seem to lack intelligence completely, so it’s probably not too surprising that you’ve encountered something you think makes sense, even if he has charged it in his typically provocative, ‘I’m going to be a dickhead about it’ way. Of course, often that kind of ‘witty’ tone is used to pass something stupid and ignorant off as ‘Well, I mean, it’s common sense!’–which is always a danger, I guess, when he has the audience guffawing along with him. But it doesn’t sound like you’re falling for his tone.

    And in their different ways, whether it’s being incurably anachronistic or boyishly excitable, the same is true for the other two. Whether any of them realise that they’re making caricatures out of themselves, or whether the whole thing is just a way of feeding their egos, it makes for excellent entertainment, like you said.

    I think very few people tune into Top Gear these days just because they like cars. Most people watch to see them goof around in that entertainingly predictable way. I definitely agree that, more than anything, it’s a comedy device. And it’s one that makes them very popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what his books are really all about too.

  2. Heh, no problemo, it’s nice to have feedback, however copious! And yeah, I really did mean dick, as in “mildly silly” rather than say, an arse, or a cock, or any other extraneous body part that may convey more stupidity or foolishness. And I do completely agree with the rest of what you said, in fact, in most places you said it better than me! 😉

  3. I would ‘like’ this on facebook, but I think it is more deserving of a place on the cool wall! It’s all very true, he’s like a guilty pleasure you’re not really that ashamed about – most of the time.

    I haven’t read his books either, but he has a column in the Sunday Times which I read when I bother to go round my parents’ house – and it genuinely is entertainingly written, the only tendency I don’t like is when he gets a bit too fervently anti-environment.

    Oh, and I am completely in the camp of “Top Gear isn’t about cars”, in fact – if you read Clarkson’s car reviews, most of them only mention the reviewed car in the last 5% of the article! I think James May summed up Top Gear perfectly once – “This really is the cutting-edge, of dicking around.”

  4. Actually, that’s exactly what his books are, a compilation of his Times columns… That’s what makes them a good travel read, each chapter is independant and only a few pages long, so you can dip in.

    Curses! I must admit I missed out on the opportunity to say that he has the fluffiest hair… [insert longer-than-average pause here] … in the wurld.

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