Today marks the sacking of my favourite automotive journalist of all time, or at least so far, Jeremy Clarkson. Having spent years in the industry, starting as the weird-haired, old top gear presenter and having to come back as a slightly older version of the same haircut, he has always been the centre of attention. One reason is because he is a really successful and innovative programmer, and one could hardly argue on how great he is in creating a motoring show. On the other hand, he often became a spotlight for his so called “bad behaviour and comments”.
I don’t want to go over and defend his comments and behaviour, because for some people, it is offensive. Things such as using the ‘N word’ and some of his comments on society that do offend people, or at least some people afraid it would offend another. I think it is the case of white supremacy all over again, when some old British chap uses that N word and a bunch of younger white people shouted at him for doing it. Because we are raised in a society where it is taboo to highlight our differences, despite of the apparent differences that (surprise-surprise) we have. It is just sad that our society still have to struggle with these differences.
But considering it took us years to go from acknowledging woman for being less than man, treating them as the same, and in the end confusing ourselves when we realise we can’t treat man and woman the same because we are inevitably different. Hell, even one male is different from another. It seems that Jeremy’s sacking has correctly painted a picture on the state of our current global society. Where some people are ready for differences and opinions and others simply aren’t.
The case of whether his sacking is justified because he attacked Oisin Tymon is different. Of course, if Jeremy is perhaps more good looking or generate the top gear money all by himself he will less likely be sacked. But what makes it worst is that our society feeds on assumptions. And from his previous comments and scandals it is very easy to assume that he is a dangerous, as the unstable worker that needs to be sacked rather than treating the case as a conflict of interest. People tend to associate him with the irresponsible old bastard in his top gear character, and in the end might feel threatened after his brave comments.
What people tend to forget is that he never punches anybody in his life before the year 2004, and for him that is more than half of his life. Even the victim of the previous ‘fracas’ can at least humanise him and rationalise why the punch had happened, from the marriage through to the health issues. He isn’t even a close friend of his.
I don’t want to defend him, nor do I want to endorse support towards him. People can do and think whatever they want about this scandal, and my personal opinion doesn’t really matter, so does the opinion of others. I just want to use this case as an exemplar on how people tend to make an over assumption and over association. Indonesians have a saying that “an elephant in front of the eye can be invisible, while a flea across the sea can be more apparent.”
Those comments by whomever that condemned him as being a jerk with too much to say are just hypocrites who want to look good. People have different opinions, and people are different. Stating those differences shouldn’t be a problem. Making jokes about those differences should be treated as a sign of closeness (that the people we are joking with are mostly our friends). To make the acknowledgement of those differences taboo would only create distances between the different.
If we are talking about the punch alone, then I think it becomes fair. But if we continually use his opinion as a reason for his sacking, then we shouldn’t even think of having democracy in any part of our world.
On another note, those journalists who speak about his sacking being appropriate because of him being too opinionated should stop calling themselves journalists.