It has been months since English presenter/comedian Jeremy Clarkson roused the ire of the self-righteous cancel mobs with a tongue-in-cheek column in a UK newspaper when he said of Meghan Markle “‘At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, “Shame!” and throw lumps of excrement at her,” among other things.
Those are some pretty harsh words. It’s understandable that some folks would be offended by them. In fact, some people should consider refusing to watch Clarkson’s shows or reading his columns in response if they really are that upset about it.
Simply getting over it and ignoring it is not enough though. Despite Clarkson’s almost immediate and groveling apology for daring to speak so ill of a public figure, the mobs have not been appeased. An apology and the removal of the column are not enough. They want Clarkson’s shows canceled. They want records of his existence wiped from public record. They want his career ruined and now, they have even managed to spawn an investigation with a media regulator that may apply additional sanctions to Clarkson.
Now, let’s apply some context here.
I will begin by explaining who we are dealing with. A person can be forgiven for not knowing who Jeremy Clarkson is. He hosted the very popular automotive/comedy show Top Gear for years, the later spinoff Grand Tour and his latest show is called Clarkson’s Farm.
Clarkson’s persona is of a bombastic, often over-the-top character inclined to hyperbole, tasteless humour a bit of belligerence. It’s not the sort of personality that everybody would find humorous and it certainly doesn’t translate well to the written word.
Now, let’s look at what he said. He didn’t come up with the notion of somebody being paraded naked down a street and pelted by excrement out of the blue. It was a play on a scene from the series Game of Thrones. If a person hadn’t seen the show though, the reference would be lost on them and it looks pretty rough.
How about looking at intent?
Did Clarkson intend to do harm? Was he seeking to incite mobs to chase Markle down and run her through the city streets? Of course not.
How about the real threat? Was there any chance that people were going to take Clarkson’s words literally? Was there a risk that his words would inspire somebody to try and make Markle run the gauntlet through screaming crowds?
No. None at all.
In looking at the context, it becomes clear there was no ill-intent nor was any real damage caused.
Was it a bad idea for the Sun to run the column?
In light of the reaction and the headache, I would say yes.
It doesn’t merit the ongoing effort of sanctimonious choads to drive Clarkson’s career into the ground though. The faux rage doesn’t match the offense.
Let’s look closer to home at a person less abrasive than Jeremy Clarkson.
Wendy Mesley was a well-established personality and anchor with the CBC. During a planning meeting for a show, Mesley used the “n” word twice. You all know which word I mean.
Despite apologizing for the use of the word, Mesley was ruined and canceled. Her media career that spanned decades was finished as the mob would settle for nothing less. Mesley was a progressive no less.
The world is pretty unaccepting of the “n” word and I can understand that. It is a vile word and I won’t use it. What about in context though?
Mesley wasn’t calling somebody that word or using it casually. It wasn’t publically uttered. It was in a private planning meeting. The reason the word was used as it was in the title of a book that had been published and ironically, they were planning a show focused ironically on anti-black racism.
Context didn’t matter to the mob and Mesley was finished.
Universities are rife with cancel mobs and many professors have been sanctioned and fired for uttering the “n” word in historical context. With so many literary references to the word both historical and contemporary, it is hard to avoid when having academic discussions. One professor was still canceled for even using just the letter “n” as I do.
There is a segment of society that is personally insecure and they want to make themselves feel special. They aren’t willing to put in the work to stand out among their peers, so they focus on tearing down others. They feel they may have done a good deed if they have destroyed somebody who has violated what they consider to be the moral standards of the day.
This kind of person has always been around. They were behind the Salem witch trials, the Spanish Inquisition and took part in Kristallnacht. They are losers and they are dangerous. They move in mobs. They are unthinking and they are relentless.
Monty Python satirized them well in the Life of Brian with their depiction of mobs eager to stone anybody to death for uttering the word Jehova.
The mobs are now trying to cancel John Cleese by the way.
Today they call themselves woke. They are anything but. They are small-minded, destructive souls who cloak their vile actions in a thin veneer of moral superiority. They don’t care about the offense. They only look forward to the response as they take up their torches and pitchforks.
The only way to defeat this mob is to stop feeding it.
Never apologize. Never try to explain the context of your statements to them. It only empowers them and heightens their frenzy. They won’t be content with contrition. They want you destroyed and won’t stop until you are.
If you can’t understand the context behind satirical statements and historic references, I hope you are stripped naked and chased through the streets while being pelted with human shit.
Buy my book at the link below.
I promise not to try and cancel you if you don’t though.