Monday, February 04, 2008
BBC Anti-America Programming Alert:
Imagine driving this through the home turf of Britain's 'football' hooligans.
THE BRIT WAY. We've gotten our fair share of amusement out of the BBC show Top Gear, which consists of three superannuated adolescents playing (usually) dangerous games with automobiles. We like it when they do things like push a Bugatti Veyron to its 253 mph top speed and talk various Brit actors into humiliating themselves with a timed lap on a race course.. But we've also been dubious about them at times. In particular, host Jeremy Clarkson has shown an occasional tendency toward mean-spiritedness, which when you're messing around with cars can be dangerous indeed. Nearly killing the youngster of the bunch, Richard Hammond, by filming and then capitalizing on his very near fatal jet car crash seemed close to the line even for cold-blooded reality TV ratings. On a far less dire but still irritating note, there's Clarkson's penchant for bashing America at regular intervals, particularly when his celebrity guests are actors who (almost all of them?!) live in Los Angeles. "Why don't you want to live in a civilized country?" he asks every time, as though he has just thought of a new joke.
The U.K.'s delusional fancy that life there is better than life here has become increasingly commonplace, and it's hardly a surprise in any event. Or at least not a surprise to InstaPunk, which has noted contemporary Brit affectations of superiority here, here, here, here, and here, for just a few examples).
Which brings us to an episode of Top Gear that will be shown tonight on BBC America at 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. Here's an Aussie-Brit fan of the show summing it up for us:
Last nights (here in the UK) Top Gear was quite amusing...
The episode was a full hour story about a couple of weeks in the states where they had to buy a car for under $1000, do a few tasks and drive to New Orleans.
Most of it was pretty funny, some of it in a Borat kind of way. However, even though I didn't take offense to it, I can see a number of parts that there will be complaints about. I give them credit for having the balls to it but I know that there will be something on the BBC soon saying how many complaints were made to Ofcom regarding the show. So I guess I am predicting the "why are we spending out licence money on this rubbish" complaints here in the UK.
I did love the dead cow on top of the Camaro though. I can see that the vegos may have a problem with that, particularly when he did the sharp reverse turn to roll it off the roof!
I am sure it is up on YouTube now for you US guys to have a gander.
We urge you all to watch the episode. Not because it's about us. But because it's about them. It's hard to imagine any people but the English who would travel to a foreign country for the purpose of filming a long road trip and make no attempt whatever to speak with the natives, learn anything about (or, gasp, from) the natives, or do anything at all but contrive cheap stunts to confirm their lowest preconceived notions of the natives. That's unquestionably why the English invented the word 'wog' as a name for all non-Brit peoples subjugated under Brit rule during the days of empire.
The Top Gear trio journeyed from Miami to New Orleans in this hour-long English masturbatory fantasy of a show. They sought out the poorest sections of Miami in which to buy junk cars for less than $1000, and their only communications during the purchase process were with camera-happy pawns only too delighted to play to their prejudices about the prevalence of guns, violence, and murder in the American south. Clarkson described his own $800 purchase as a vehicle made when all American cars were "rubbish" and "put together by idiots." (Oddly, he seemed to regard it as a personal triumph when his totally trashed 19-year old Camaro still did 0-60 in 7.9 seconds on the racetrack.) Then they leaped into their cars and drove all the way to New Orleans without talking to anyone but one another. They didn't try to see any sights, they didn't try the local food -- in fact, they plunged into some sick Brit twist on Deliverance by pretending they were going to dine exclusively on roadkill (which we never saw them eat, by the way), they didn't explore the local history or architecture, and for their grand climax, they chose to incite violence against their own persons by defacing each other's vehicles with graffiti like "NASCAR Sucks," "Country & Western Music is Rubbish," "Hillary for President," and "Man-Love Rules."
When they stopped for gas in a small town in Alabama, they were melodramatically terrified by the fact that their inflammatory fender art drew a hostile response and fled wide-eyed for the Louisiana border. (Exeunt chased by crackers. Good-Oh.)
Where the mean-spiritedness stopped. Upon entering New Orleans, they momentarily ditched their puerile japery and became America's older, wiser, disappointed uncle. "How can the richest nation in the world see this [post-Katrina] devastation and do nothing?" Clarkson asked, almost as if he gave a flying fuck about the miserable black wogs of the Big Easy. So moved were the Top Gear crew that the junkers which were supposed to be sold to lowlife American suckers were instead donated outright to ungrateful Katrina survivors, one of whom threatened to sue because the promised 1991 Camaro was only a 1989 model. (Even the most downtrodden of our nation know what to do when confronted by a condescending limey prick.)
Safely back in their Brit studio, Clarkson intoned the lessons to his adoring audience. One, it is possible to buy rather than rent a car for a foreign road.trip. Two, stay away from America at all costs.
A few points. One, these jackoffs were never in America. They were inside their own cock-eyed impression of the evil, Christian, Bush-loving, deep south America, and they never attempted for even a moment to peek beyond their own perverse inventions to the real place they were insulting as ugly Britannians. Two, it's incredibly unlikely that any two-decade-old vehicles "put together" in the U.K. -- including, especially, Jaguars-- would have made the same trip without breaking down catastrophically before reaching New Orleans. Three, our guess is that even Brit bookies would bet on the relative nonviolence of Alabama NASCAR civilization versus British football hooligans civilization. Four, the Brits can lecture us about how long it should take to repair the ravages of extreme weather when their tepid island actually experiences some weather; maybe this is the best reason yet discovered to hope the Global Warming fundamentalists are right. And five, Top Gear's sick insistence on chasing roadkill (which is admittedly closer to English cooking) over down-home southern food deprived these gits of perhaps the one opportunity in their sorry-ass lives to eat something good.
A riot at NASCAR? The Super Bowl? No. English FOOTball. Tally-ho.
Was the show, as it was no doubt intended to be, funny? Yes indeedy. Watching a born asshole prove it in a different context is always hilarious. But there was also disappointment. A really good punchline is best driven home by a really good pratfall. And these nancy Brits deprived us of the Big Laugh they seemed to promise -- they got out of Alabama without getting killed. Pity.
TONIGHT AT 9:00 PM ON BBC ANTI-AMERICA. Watch it. It's good for a chuckle if not a true American belly laugh.