Jeremy Clarkson is piggish, childish, and uncool. But people like him because, despite what woke puritans would have you believe, people still love cars and don’t care about nonsense like “toxic masculinity.”
An interview with Jeremy Clarkson by The Independent was never going to be a friendly exchange. Clarkson has built a career out of mocking the social justice proclamations of the liberal newspaper’s bedfellows, and the Independent unloaded a woke broadside at the ‘Grand Tour’ host the moment he swaggered into the room.
Describing the show as “schoolboy sniggering from a trio who have drawn much criticism over the years for encouraging toxic masculinity and cracking colonial-style jokes,” the Independent went on to suggest that “the public is finally tiring of his schtick,” and noted that it’s “tough to justify” a car show in 2019, when the European Parliament has declared a “climate and environment emergency.”
Clarkson is no less conciliatory, calling the interviewers “snowflakes,” and Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg a “stupid idiot” and a “weird Swede with a bad temper.”
Rather than deny climate change, Clarkson suggested that the legions of Thunberg-inspired ‘school strikers’ should stay in the classroom and pay attention to their science lessons, rather than hopping on a “carbon fibre yacht” and going to “shout at Donald Trump.”
Indeed, Clarkson seems to have pulled a u-turn on the environment of late. An upcoming feature-length episode of The Grand Tour deals with the consequences of climate change on Vietnam’s rivers, and the avid petrolhead has recently embraced life in the slow lane, taking up farming in Oxfordshire. He says this operation is “completely carbon neutral,” and soaks up the emissions his collection of sports cars generates.
Gaining no traction on the environmental front, the Independent’s hit-squad of woke scribes switched tactics, calling Clarkson “toxically masculine.”
“You’ve perhaps mistaken me for someone who could do something about these things,” he responded, adding “I’m 60 – it’s not my job to be woke, it’s my job to die soon.”
A pointless interview where neither side learned anything from the other? Very 2019. But there’s one thing the interviewers can’t grasp: Clarkson still speaks for the masses.
The rumble of a V8 engine, the scream of a Ferrari at full pelt, the smell of petrol and burning rubber still awaken something primal and sensory in us. Internal combustion still stirs the emotions in a way that whirring electric motors and soulless public transport cannot.
Independent journalists, city-dwelling environmentalists, and Brussels bureaucrats may cheer the twilight of the car as we know it, but most regular folk don’t. That’s the appeal of Clarkson and shows like ‘The Grand Tour.’ In an age when fuel prices are rising and carbon taxes – not to mention to pervasive shaming of the mainstream media – are chipping away at the regular schlub’s hopes of ever owning a sports car of their own, Clarkson’s TV shows are pure escapism.
The first episode of the latest season of ‘Top Gear’ – hosted by Clarkson for 25 years – was the highest-rated launch episode of the show since 2016, and the most-watched BBC Two title of 2019 so far. On YouTube, car channels like Mighty Car Mods, Jay Leno’s Garage, Regular Car Reviews and Doug DeMuro have amassed millions of subscribers.
The car community is thriving, despite the Independent declaring “the end of the road for Clarkson and his pals.”
Even if his comments are groan-inducing at times, figures like Clarkson also provide a foil for social justice crusaders like The Independent’s interviewers, who have brought concepts like ‘toxic masculinity’ out of social sciences departments and feminist bookstores, and into the mainstream.
In the face of such relentless joylessness, Clarkson may not be the hero we need, but he is the hero we’re stuck with.
By Graham Dockery, RT