Fracas (n). The act of punching an innocent victim in the mouth.
I blame Paddington Bear, without whom Jeremy Clarkson would never have been sent to Repton, a minor public school dedicated to gentrifying the obnoxious sons of travelling salesmen such as Eddie Clarkson, and his wife, Shirley. Their tea-cosy business was never going to make them rich and if it hadn’t been for the unexpected commercial success of their stuffed toy, young Clarkson would have ended up in one of the local Doncaster schools, rubbing shoulders with the proletariat and growing bitter for what might have been.
What a tragedy for the world and for him personally. He’d never have learned to hide the Yorkshire accent he was so ashamed of. He’d never have acquired the studied fake self-disparagement that earned him the love of an entire nation. He’d never have acquired the violent swagger that a school bully learns by soundly thrashing the youngest and smallest new arrivals.
Whatever else you can say about the English public-school system, there’s one undeniable fact.
It has unfailingly churned out generations of utter prats, all running on the same antiquated software, complete with hard-coded pre-digested jokes about Frenchmen, Belgians, Krauts, black fellas and foreigners in general, a sort of verbal secret handshake in the Masonic Order of the Prat.
You recite a pre-programmed stereotype. Frenchman, striped t-shirt, bicycle, string of onions.
I say yuk yuk.
Now we know who we are. I wonder what he yuks about with David Cameron.
Jeremy Clarkson is, of course a typical if rather minor product of this system, and but for Paddington Bear, he’d never have learned that endearing trait of living in the past, where the past consists of a series of wars you learned about from reading the Victor. Where it’s possible to film Top Gear in Argentina with a car numberplate that evoked the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas war. Yuk yuk, yukked the three middlle-aged public schoolboys. Take that, Johnny Foreigner.
The public school is a truly character-forming system that has, for centuries, produced sociopaths who rampaged across the world, at the head of various private armies, like the East India Company. This is also the system that produced so many appalling clods in government.
And this is the same system that produced an utter prat like Jeremy Clarkson who reverted to form when he found himself back on his native Yorkshire soil, once again becoming the school bully he undoubtedly was in his young days.
What exactly did producer Oisín Tymon do to provoke Clarkson’s ire? Simple. He made sure that Clarkson and his fellow presenters had something to eat when they arrived back at the hotel after the kitchens had closed and the chef had gone home. He stayed up late to make sure they were all right after their impromptu piss-up in a local pub, and their arduous helicopter trip back to their hotel.
Well, you can see why Clarkson was so annoyed, can’t you? What’s a 54-year-old Head Boy to do when some First Former has the absolute cheek to tell him the hired help have gone home?
No steak and chips? What? Why didn’t you have them horse-whipped? I’ll have you sacked. You’ll never work in the BBC again. Don’t you realise who I am? Here, have a punch in the face and be grateful for it.
Well, one of them would never work in the BBC again, but this time Jeremy got the names mixed up.
What a prick.
Goodbye, you overbearing, pre-programmed bore.