Last week, Richard Hammond, otherwise known affectionately as “Hamster” by his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May, crashed a jet car while performing a speed run for the top rating BBC programme “Top Gear”.
There was a collective sucking in of breath from the safety vultures.
It seems Richard will survive. All Top Gear fans (and there are millions around the globe) are waiting anxiously to see if “Hamster” returns to the TV screen with his impish sense of humour and incisive wit intact, after suffering a “significant” brain injury. We all wish him well. I have personally couriered him a rag impregnated with the smell of oil and petrol and instructed him to sniff twice daily until the urge to be politically incorrect returns, and that if symptoms persist, to see a mechanic.
Now, strange as it may seem, not everyone is an avid fan of Top Gear. There are, I admit, people out there who find laddish humour, fast cars and the howl of a Ferrari an abomination in their view of the world. Certainly, many of us identify with the fear and loathing factor where it comes to irresponsible use of motor vehicles. There is something to be said for keeping dolts out of our lives if we can.
I myself deeply resent that particular brand of acneed young male virgin with back-to-front baseball cap who gets his jollies by executing smoky doughnuts in my street in his silly kiddy car. Indeed, I would love to see a substance for fast forwarding hormonal development being administered the moment they so much as allow the first squeak out of their expensive low profile tyres, or any reverberation from their ICE systems. (In Car Entertainment, for those of you who are not trendy like me – ahem). These people run over cats and children and routinely crash into other innocent people. I don’t like people who do that.
The problem is, you see, in Top Gear, they never run over cats, children or other innocent people, but they have been under fire from “People Who Know Best” for some time. The “People Who Know Best” argue that it transmits the wrong image. An image of environmental anarchy and social irresponsibility. That it represents a politically incorrect and light hearted set of values.
Well, I’m here to tell you that, thankfully, they are right!
Top Gear is an antidote for brain rot. It is the thrill of freedom, it is wind in the hair, it is the exuberance and inventiveness of the human race, all wrapped up in a cheeky, irreverent sense of humour. It upsets some people. Grey people.
Grey people whose lives are safe, secure, regulated, insured and assured. Grey people who are risk averse, cholesterol free, alcohol free and culturally sensitive to the point of being studiously, anally inoffensive and controversy free, which, for most of their miserable lives, restricts them to whispered conversations and mutual validation sessions in corridors, except when they can band together like vultures to feed their collective desire to control and regulate the rest of us. Because we (the rest of us) represent all that unsettles them: we have spontaneity, laughter, vitality, excitement and the irrepressible bubbles of humanity that separate us humans from all other species on the planet and brought us to where we are today.
Now, with Richard’s injury, the grey people have another opportunity and they are frothing at the mouth. Opportunities to say “I told you so” don’t come very often, so the grey people always descend from their perches babbling mantras within minutes of anyone else’s misfortune. The mantras are “The end justifies the means”, “If only one life can be saved”, “Social responsibility” and similar trite rubbish.
Their target in this case is not the BBC, as you might expect. No, their target is far wider. Their agenda is the suppression of all such similar forms of entertainment, and to subjugate independent thought – a world in which committees determine individual freedoms.
I agree that the BBC has to look at its procedures and be examined to determine if it took “all practicable steps” (or the UK equivalent). There must also be questions about whether Richard Hammond willingly and voluntarily took on this job. My belief is that he did.
If that is the case, and the BBC took all reasonable precautions in preparing for this stunt, then can we perhaps limit the backlash? Maybe the BBC should simply exclude well-loved presenters from the hot seat in future and leave it to experts?
You know what I mean by experts – modest, happy, smiling people who enthusiastically get out and have a go, despite “responsible people” trying to stop and discredit them. People who take personal risks willingly, as long as no one else is hurt. People like New Zealander Burt Munro, of ” World’s Fastest Indian” fame. What a disgrace he was. Donald and Malcolm Campbell in their Bluebirds. They are characters who have contributed so negatively to the richness of human endeavour, aren’t they? Bad eggs, all of them. We should pillory and punish anyone who wishes to emulate their sad achievements.
The Grey People would back us to the hilt.