Jeremy Clarkson and the strange death of liberal England
John Robb leans on a fence post and ponders a cactus
I was quite enjoying the furore sparked by the TV glove puppet known as Richard Hammond. It was one of those furores that means little even if the Mexican embassy was writing stern letters about it, as if it really mattered what a piece of TV fluff thought about a whole nation.
In a piece of car crash TV where art imitates life Hammond had described Mexicans as ” lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus”. He has obviously never been to Mexico City because there is not much space for cactus let alone a fence and all the Mexicans I’ve ever seen on my travels are anything but any of these clichÃÂ©s. There’s a lot of them and they all look entirely different from each other and are anything but lazy and no more or less flatulent than a TV presenter.
Getting a hard on for machinery is a bit odd. I haven’t watched Top Gear for years. Probably because I don’t drive and have zero interest in cars. A car is a box that get you from A to B when you get someone else to drive it and that’s it.
So I thought I’d have a quick look and see what one of the most popular programmes on TV was about these days.
Unsurprisingly it hadn’t changed. Middle England is not big on change and Top Gear, like the Daily Mail, epitomes this.
This is a strange place where time really has stood still. It had the stale and perhaps, ”Ëlazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight’ air, of the seventies about it but no cactuses.
Ringmaster Jeremy Clarkson, who is funny, was surrounded by his two cronies who look winsomely and hopefully at his hangdog alpha male face hoping for a nod of approval from the god of middle England.
The studio audience was the lost generation of middle-aged men dressed by their wives who guffawed at Clarkson’s and his bumbling puppets comments.
It was about halfway through though, that I had the horrible thought that these were my people- this was my generation. For far too long portrayed as the generation X of punk rock we were infact podgy, awkward looking, hen pecked, slack jowelled, blubbery men with indefinable faces and pullovers tucked into slack arsed, skid marked jeans who have never been to Mexico and never met a Mexican but all titter at the squeaky little bloke making stuff up about it.
In short my generation looked like Tory MPs.
I had to turn over. The truth is always too painful.