What happened to opinions?

My free speech is not negotiable

First and foremost, it’s the first of December, so pinch punch and Merry Christmas in advance. Second and next foremost, if you say TLDR to this then so be it. It’s just another rant.

There are certain people who, no matter what, just make you feel good, make you laugh, and forget all the cantankerous deliberately obnoxious awkward twats who try their hardest to make you want to punch them right in the middle of the face. Then there are those pleasures in life that nothing else compares to. Except better pleasures. But those things that make you go ‘ahhhhh, this is the life’ when all that feel-good feeling bubbles up inside you and it’s akin to being wild and carefree when drunk, but you are in fact completely sober and still have all the mental stability that that brings… Unless of course, being drunk is your greatest pleasure, but I often find the humiliation during the aftermath – often comprised of an empty wallet and discovering terrifying images on Facebook – and the aftermath itself, makes this an expensive and less exciting pleasure pursuit.

Some of you might think it’s boring and dull and an ageing cliché but one of my greatest pleasures, ever since the dexterity in my hands allowed me to manipulate a Game Boy, is motoring (more-so since I was legally entitled to cause mayhem on the real-world roads). Yes, that metal rough-cuboid with four wheels at each corner and an internal combustion engine covered in oil and grease and lube and which can go like the clappers, pounding every track, and burn rubber like there’s no tomorrow is one of my greatest pleasures. (I did warn you I’d talk about cars). I have a Citroen Saxo, and no, I am not a chav, nor do I particularly enjoy most other things from France. It is a decent car – when not twatted about in or douched up so much it looks like a storm-troopers head – and when, at a time when a rare opportunity allows, I can slam my foot to the floor, even in a measly 1.1 with 60HP, I do get a little bit excited with myself.

Combine the two and you get Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear. Literally the greatest show on Earth. It combines the fresh air of free-spirit and free speech with the freedom and thrill of driving and the engineering that makes it happen. That is why I like it. And this is what leads me neatly on to my subject of topical discussion. So, I don’t know if anyone knows or cares about the comments Clarkson made about the  public sector protests on The One Show, and incidentally I don’t know if anyone cares about the whole public sector strikes thing anyway, but it seems to me all those people who are getting over-excited are rather missing the point entirely. They have completely taken it out of context. In actual fact Clarkson was making a fair and entirely uncontroversial point about the BBC being impartial and not being biased, and exploring both sides of the story, which is exactly what they do do, and exactly what Clarkson did. Watch the video here and see for yourself: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15977813

See what I mean? If you couldn’t be arsed to watch it, he specifically said – actually undermining what he says next more than anything – “we have to balance it though don’t we? ’cause this is the BBC.” Hmm… well isn’t funny how those who want to find any way of attacking him, like the 9/11 “de-bunkers,” miss vital information? Like for example him justifying his reasons for saying exactly what he was about to say beforehand, in opposition to what he said prior to that. He said it with a jokey demeanour: it was in jest for Christ’s sake.  Not only that, but he actually said it to make a point, that doesn’t mean it was his point. For those who conveniently lost thier hearing for part of the interview, he said something along the lines of “it’s fantastic,” talking about the fact that roads and airports were far less busy. Of course, some might say that he was saying it in a satirical manner, indeed, he was… so apply the last part of the comment to the correct context, and it will be realised that everything he said had no direct meaning at all; there is no need to go all shocked and surprised and condemning and saying “I am holier than thou always saying exactly what I mean and never having a joke because I’m too serious-grumpy-face all the time.” Also, I’m sorry, but isn’t one of the main reasons these protests are going ahead – which directly speak against government policy – our right to free speech? This is of course something many take for granted, otherwise, they would also see that Clarkson – if it was his actual opinion– is also exercising this right. As for that woman in Unison comparing him with Gadaffi… what? I’m not even going to go

Gadaffi and Clarkson

Hmm... I guess there might be a vague similarity in their hair?

there. If Clarkson had the same political power to casually carry out the punchline of a joke then I have the same power to gather all life-endangering mobility scooters, have them flown out to a remote mountain, and exploded into orbit by a 50 Megaton nuclear device.  Get real. He might have even been making the very point to highlight there isn’t just one side of this argument. It just seems quite hypocritical to me; all these people want financial freedom and such in retirement after working most of their lives, like everyone else, but I’m sure they don’t want the “oppression” some of them might suggest the government imposes. If Clarkson is sacked, this will only contribute to any further reputation of this country being “oppressive,” whilst they will call it the “right” to justice.

Don’t get me wrong, assuming he might believe in what he said, I don’t necessarily agree with Clarkson (although I can appreciate both sides of the argument), but I’m not shocked that he said it either, firstly because it’s Clarkson making his usual fatuous remarks, and secondly because it’s blindingly obvious that something like this is going to create fields of opinion poles apart. If the government got as angry with that lot about speaking out as they are with Clarkson there would be no room whatsoever for peaceful protest. Also, I am intelligent and not hate-filled enough to take and utterly fubar the context in which he said his oh-so-horrific comment.

That, people, is just my opinion, it doesn’t make it fact. It has just the same value and legitimacy as the next person’s different opinion. Get over it.

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2 thoughts on “What happened to opinions?

  1. Thoughful and well-written post. The problem is that people have very little humor when it comes to emotional issues like this one. Although, I’m sure Clarkson does not believe anyone should be “shot in front of their families,” the comment was perhaps in poor taste. Sure, he has the right to his opinion and he has the right to express that opinion. I don’t dispute that. The sad thing is that a public figure with an opportunity to be a “voice” for himself and like-minded others, instead made rash comments with an easily predictable backlash in an attempt to do what? Get a laugh? I did not see the interview, bit there is often more truth in humor than not.

    Public figures have a responsibility . . . people are going to listen to what they say. In this case, I believe Clarkson didn’t have his “thinking cap” on or it was his intent to “raise a ruckus.” Either way, there are better ways than with a comment as extreme as his was.

    Just my opinion.

    • Thanks for that Miss Demure, good to add some diversity to the debate. Personally I think a lot of the stuff he says is purposely fatuous, controversy is just a by product, I’m mostly quite easy going but understand entirely where the offence comes from. But on the wider front for me he’s a breath of fresh air in the face of excessive PC!

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