Can anyone help me out with this Jeremy Clarkson business? Because I’m really confused.
Shortly after the news broke at lunchtime today that Clarkson had been sacked by the BBC, I had the following conversation with a colleague:
Him: Clarkson’s been fired.
Him: The BBC shouldn’t have done that.
Him: Well, cos he’s funny.
Me: He assaulted someone.
Him: Yeah, yeah but apart from that.
[At this point, another colleague and I both started shouting at him, and the conversation slightly fell apart.]
On reflection, I understand what he was trying to say. He thinks the BBC have made a big mistake firing Clarkson, because he’s only going to go and get a job with someone else, like Sky, and steal all their viewers. And if he does, good luck to him. But I hope the next time he punches an innocent colleague because he doesn’t get what he wants for dinner, that his new employers will have the guts to impose the same punishment.
There seem to be a lot of people who think Clarkson should be able to get away with this kind of behaviour, because he’s an asset to the BBC (in the sense that he pulls in good ratings) and ‘because he’s funny’. Although personally, I’d dispute that as well. This is a man who’s made a career out of acting like an overgrown schoolboy, travelling the world (paid for by the taxpayers) provoking diplomatic incidents, and seemingly going out of his way to offend just about everyone in order to make headlines. Frankly, I’m amazed he’s lasted as long as he has; the BBC have been more than tolerant, and probably should have fired him a long time ago.
If the situation were reversed and it had been the producer, Oisin Tymon, who had thrown a punch, no doubt everyone would be howling for his dismissal right now. Instead, over a million people signed a petition to get Clarkson reinstated. Which, presumably, means it’s acceptable for anyone to go into work and attack their colleagues, as long as they’re funny – and if they happen to make a lot of money for the company, even better.
Now I’ve often been tempted (show me someone who’s never considered physical violence on a stressful day at work), but I’ve never actually done it, because I know full well that at the very least I’d be suspended. Which is only right – what sort of world would it be if we all just went round punching each other whenever we felt like it, and getting away with it? Call me crazy, but it kind of feels like the world’s messed up enough already.
Oh, and to James May, who earlier today described his former co-star’s dismissal as ‘a tragedy’? Yesterday, 150 people lost their lives in a plane crash. That’s a tragedy. This is nothing compared to that.
Now, can we all please return to our lives and forget about Jeremy Clarkson? Because, as my colleague so rightly pointed out, he’s going to be fine. He’ll be snapped up by someone else, and resume his career as a professional moron. And maybe a few people will stop watching Top Gear, but is that really such a big deal in the grand scheme of things?
I have to admit, though, this did make me giggle earlier on the BBC website: