Jeremy Clarkson: Will high waisted acid wash jeans finally go out of fashion?

IF YOU WERE to list the phrases used the most often by people who call in to Newstalk ZB, ‘It’s political correctness gone mad’, would come out on top. In fairness, it would have stiff competition from ‘rates are too bloody high’ and ‘back in my day we didn’t have [insert thing they don’t understand here]’. The red-faced, double denim wearing king of complaining that ‘Political correctness is going mad’ is Jeremy Clarkson.

In between describing cars like sexual objects and suffocating his testicles in a high wasted denim coffin, Clarkson likes to give his blunt opinions out on his globally renowned show ‘Top Gear’ and in his UK newspaper column. He has had many brushes with controversy, including using the ‘N word’ in a Rhyme and saying he thinks public sector workers who strike should be shot, among other racist and xenophobic statements. Generally his employers, The BBC – ironically a public sector company where he earns six hundred thousand pounds per year- are quick to respond like dutiful parents, slapping him on the wrist and shaking their heads in a ‘what can we do?” manner. After this theatre is complete he returns, tail between legs.

After all of this though, his current ‘fracas’ may, at last, be the final straw. Clarkson has been suspended from Top Gear duties after allegedly taking a swing at his producer during production, pending investigation. Perhaps there was an unwarranted suggestion to lay off the leather on denim fashion choices? Or maybe the producer was threatening to unionise? Either way he snapped.

The question now stands, with the mighty king of ‘real talk’ possibly toppled, can we finally consider that being politically correct may not be too bad? At its core being ‘politically correct’ essentially means ‘considering other people and groups thoughts and feelings for a single second before acting’, or as most people would call it; not being a sociopath.

People who claim to be the defenders of free speech opine that people are too easily offended nowadays and they would then go on to state that ‘back in their day’ it was different. And it was; it sucked. Women were treated like they were inferior, racism was acceptable and there wasn’t YouTube – the last for me being the most horrific personally – being neither female or ethnic. The point is political correctness has done nothing wrong except force a bunch of bigots to air their stupid views in the back rooms of Workingmen’s Clubs as opposed to broadcast television.

And to the fans of Top Gear: this does not mean your show cannot continue. Both the man who looks like Brian May and the short one prone to accidents are still there, and if you really need an ‘asshole type’, there’s loads of people available for that role who have never used the words ‘chink’ or ‘slope-eyes’. Even Piers Morgan, who has no trouble with phone hacking, pulls up short of full blown racist.

So perhaps the acid wash jeans can finally be hung up. There is still time to be offensive. Offensive comedy has an amazing effect when directed towards people in power to to shine a light on wrongdoing, but do we really need to give every asshole a pass for the few who can do it well?

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About the author

Dane McLean

Everything from Mad Men to Workaholics plus every trashy reality show you can think of, TV addiction is real. Twitter: @Dane_McLean
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  • benpaul12

    Top Gear is one of my favourite shows, but it hasn’t been good for a few years now. It has just descended into scripted farce that’s less and less about reviewing cars.

  • Nige.

    i recon most people tune into top gear BECAUSE Clarkson is so non PC. I know i do.

  • bc

    For someone who claims to be against bigotry, this article sure has an awful lot of it.
    The theme of this article seems to be – I don’t like you, so I’m going to mock and belittle you, and then attach a lot of nasty labels to you: sexist, racist etc etc
    Why is that that people who claim they are so enlightened, just come across as smug, envious and just outright nasty?

  • bc

    “The point is political correctness has done nothing wrong…”
    … except attempt to shut down debate and free speech the easiest way possible.
    If someone makes a stupid comment, call-them out on it using facts and persuasive reasoning. Political correctness doesn’t do this.
    Whenever I’m watching an interview and someone accuses the other person of being [insert label here], then I know that person has lost the debate immediately.