Pausing briefly from my abyss-gazing to consider this glorious story about trade unionists’ reaction to Jeremy Clarkson on the One Show.
(Fear not, dear readers. This is not a pro- or anti- Clarkson rant. Your opinion of Clarkson is your own business. I shan’t be trying to reinforce or alter it.)
It’s not often that news stories depress me. I shout at some, laugh at others. Some prompt a short office debate, if anyone has the energy to raise their eyes from the mailbag sewing for more than a few seconds.
This one, though, achieved that special distinction by virtue of being so tragically absurd, so inanely and teeth-chatteringly preposterous and risible that it has threatened to ruin my habitual equanimity for the rest of the day.
We are – as you may have noticed, and I have recently pointed out – living in dangerous times. There are people in our country – our first world, prosperous country – wondering how to put food on the table this evening. We face a decline in our living standards that threatens to extend into the early years of the next decade, with no prospect of definite recovery even then.
Tomorrow, or next week, people all over Europe may find themselves locked out of banks, their savings destroyed, their jobs gone, their national economies wrecked. The rest of the world wonders how it can possibly protect its own people from this looming apocalypse.
Yet here is a man seriously proposing, against that background, to use the valuable time of British courts to attempt a Crown prosecution of a man who chose to make a joke on the television.
You may deplore his joke. You may not find it funny. You may even hate the guy. All valid and defensible positions.
But here’s the thing: he was clearly not being serious. Not a soul who watched that show thought so. You could show that clip to 1 million mother tongue English speakers all over the world and not one would conclude that Clarkson was seriously calling for mass murder.
It’s called hyperbole, you ignorant motherfuckers.
Does it not disturb anyone else that apparently we now live in a country where making any kind of joke whose implicit politics other folk disapprove invites denouncement and the threat of criminal sanction? That highly paid people with bigger concerns (you would assume) are willing, at a time of national crisis, to go out of their way to encourage this? That our own prime minister is forced to comment on the situation?
Hey ho. The good news for anyone NOT disturbed by this is that you won’t have to wait long until I’m dead and buried. Quite a few folks who share my outlook and age will be gone with me.
So you can then fully enjoy your po-faced, hair-splitting, trivia-obsessed, big-pictureless, totalitarian, servile and utterly arsefucked society without our tedious interventions.
I hope you enjoy it. And that someone who disapproves of your humour or politics kills you in front of your family.