Saturday, February 07, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson - uneducated person with overcompensation issues

Jeremy Clarkson's disablist insult on Gordon Brown is a typical example of the working of the right-wing mind. This is not to say that the Left or the Greens are above using ad hominem arguments, because they are not; but personal insults are the stock in trade of the Right.

Why should this be? Maybe it goes back to the centuries-old ignoble British tradition of maintain an aristocracy, whose assured position of superiority over the peasants made it habitual for them to talk down and insult anyone who disagreed with them.

Not that Clarkson is an aristocrat, but he did go to public school. His father made Paddington Bear toys to send him to Repton.

"One eyed" is a pure piece of disabilism, and Clarkson has apologised for that.
"Scottish" is not an insult (now if he had said "Scotch" it might have been more insulting, but it would have rebounded on Clarkson himself). Needs no apology.
"Idiot" sugggests person of subnormal inteligence, a layman, or uneducated person. This is the kind of insult that would come naturally to the public school Clarkson, but it is an inversion of the truth, since it is Clarkson whose education was terminated by expulsionfor drinking, smoking and being a nuisance, whereas Gordon Brown has a PhD in history. Therefore, apology needed.

This suggests that Clarkson may be overcompensating for a deeper sense of intellectual insecurity.

Not that any of this matters all that much. Greens are critical of Brown, who has many political faults, chiefly his adherence to militarism, and economically because he is pouring our money into the banks without securing much in return, and into the motor car industry, rather than investing in a low-carbon energy strategy; but our criticism is political, not personal. His policies are mistaken, but that is no reason to call him an "idiot".

The pity of it all is that there is unlimited room in the media for discussion of Clarkson's jibes and mistakes, but very little room for serious discussion of investment in clean energy, its potential for creating good work, and for heading off the coming Peak Oil crisis.

In the end, Clarkson is a lightweight comedian, who achieves notoriety by his absolutist delivery of outrageous opinions. Clarkson is not a problem: the problem is the thousands of mini-clarksons who, reinforced by right wing media, ape his opinions in the pubs and on the comment slots, believing that if they say right wing things loudly enough and with enough disdain and conviction, they will become true.

Still, just as the absolute opinions of the banksters in the rightness of their free market enterprise has withered to nothing, in time the opinions of the clarkson-clones will wither in the light of unfolding realities.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you except perhaps for the "Scottish" part. Is it ok to call someone an Irish idiot? In other words I wouldn't be surprised if Clarkeson was making a slur in general on the Scottish people.

DocRichard said...

Maybe you have a point. But there is not a stereotype of Scots being idiots. If they were, what would that make of the English, who are currently ruled by Scots? I saw it as a kind of make-weight, to get a trio of adjectives. Now if he had said a "mean-fisted Scottish idiot" that would have been a stereotype, but not true, because Gordon is opening his wallet and saying to the banksters and car companies "Help yourself".

weggis said...

"HIS wallet" ?????????

DocRichard said...

Figure of speech. A quote from the Goon Show.

Cannot find source, but think it was in the McReekie '75 episode.

DonaQixota said...

Yes, it's OUR wallets isn't it.

Abusing top politicians has always been part of politics. That won't change. It amuses people. Talking seriously about important issues is never going to be fun, so most people will avoid doing it. That's human nature.