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.