On the #Clarkson outrage

You’d have to have been living under a rock the size of Manhattan not to have noticed the massive outpouring of rage vented mostly across Twitter in the last two days. All this anger was channelled towards one man, with one hashtag – #clarkson. So I thought I’d join in and add my two penn’s this ever-increasing pot!

In case you are in any doubt over what happened, Jeremy Clakson appeared on ‘The One Show’ on Wednesday. When asked what he thought about striking Nurses, he  claimed that he thought they were wrong to do it and that he would have them all shot in front of their families.

OK, so it wasn’t Clarkson’s finest moment, but as you can see from the clip here, his intentions were clearly tongue in cheek. He goes on to make a mockery of the fact he doesn’t exactly work a tough job for his salary. It was sarcastic and satire, it was not ever meant to be a personal attack.

But this is what many took it to be. Angered public sector workers took to the social networks to argue their point. A few famous faces on the site picked up on the story and started stating their point, making this already a bigger topic than it should have been. This got the interest of the Union’s, particularly Unison who decided that this was outrageous and claimed they would not settle until Clarkson was sacked. In fact, Unison went as far as to seek legal advise over the comments.

Wait a moment, what’s happened here! Clarkson was simply putting across his views (that public sector strikes were wrong – but at the same time he could see their reasoning behind them) but doing it in his style. This is Jeremy Clarkson’s brand, it always has been. If Jimmy Carr was to make the same joke on 8 out of 10 cats, no-one would have batted an eyelid. Granted the timing was a bit out – 7pm BBC One isn’t the best place to make a risque joke, but that’s all it was. There’s no need for Unison to waste a whole heap of their members money on legal advice for a joke.

Perhaps instead of getting in a rage over the situation, the people involved should grow some thicker skin – what was that old English phrase again, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” If you are against those views, don’t let the bother you, change the channel and continue with your lives – don’t get stuck cursing the thing you hate.

And I’m not saying that people aren’t allowed to be offended by the comments, but people have been acting like Clarkson actually carried out these executions instead of using the words to make a point.

Of course, a lot of this may not have happened if it wasn’t for the ‘wondrous’ services available on the internet. As Padraig Reidy argues here, without YouTube to view it (lets face it, more people saw it online than the original transmission) and Twitter to start the wildfire, people may have already forgotten the comment even existed. Instead, the main focus may still be on the faltering Government who thanks to Clarkson stealing the limelight, seem to have got away lightly from the strike action. Instead it seems our ‘me-too’, ‘+1’, ‘bandwagon-jumping’ culture has only strengthened and made us forget the bigger issues in life.

At the time of writing, Clarkson has now apologised, the unions have stepped down (despite official BBC complaints reaching 21,000) and the term #clarkson has stopped trending on Twitter. Maybe we can just file this one under ‘bonkers Britain’ and move on. But whenever another of these mass-outrage-at-a-joke situations flares up I always get a bit sad that in this country we have week and truly lost our sense of humour and ability to laugh at ourselves – and that is the truly disappointing outcome of this whole debacle…




What it’s about

Stupidity of it

My viewpoint

idea of people jumping on bandwagon

Sad fact that we have lost sense of humour

One Response to On the #Clarkson outrage

  1. mhairi says:

    Zoe Stavvers has put it far better than I ever could

    “Humour….can only happen when there is something unexpected, something surreal, something bizarre, something different from reality. Clarkson’s declaration that strikers should be shot is not particularly incongruous with reality. History and the present are riddled with stories of people taking industrial action and ending up murdered by the forces in power, in precisely the way Clarkson lays out in his “joke”.”


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