Friday, September 02, 2011
And now for something
*Unless we don't want soon to be doing a lament of our own lost greatness.
SPEAKING OF TIME MACHINES... We have an admitted love-hate relationship with Top Gear (the Brit version, not the sorry-ass American imitation.) Our suspicion is that Jeremy Clarkson has more in common with rude American libertarianism than he has antipathy to Texans and McDonald's. He protests too much. And I share with him his love of driving and his scorn for multiplying nanny state mediocrity and oppression. Not to mention his obsession with the power and the glory of the E-Type Jaguar, which is 50 years old this year.
Wry or not, Clarkson is right. The XKE is the last great accomplishment of Britain. (Although, I'll point out that there is no single great American icon. There are too many to count. Feel free to nominate...) They've done virtually nothing worthwhile since, which may account for his reflexive Anti-Americanism whenever he infests our shores.
But... He and his colleagues remain admirably juvenile in a global motorhead sense. I particularly love their devotion to the thrill of absurd but dramatic races like this one...
You should have seen him slobber over the Olympic skeleton racer who just lost out to the Mini rally car at Lillehammer. It would have done credit to any red-state moron starring in an NFL Bud Light commercial. Hmm.
Basically, the Top Gear guys like screwing around with motor vehicles. And with every kind of authority. (I should explain about the following clip that Bentley had agreed to provide a Mulsanne in Albania but withdrew the offer when they realized Top Gear was suggesting that most Bentleys are now sold to criminals. So Clarkson substituted for the Bentley a clapped-out Yugo, insisting it was in fact a Bentley Mulsanne. He proceeded to be highly critical throughout of its features, performance, and build quality.)
They like screwing with the audience too.
Actually, these are also things we did when we were nineteen or twenty. Interminably. In New Jersey. Put that in your U.K. and smoke it.
Hands across the sea. Maybe even what could be called a "special relationship." Although we weren't nearly as compelled to cheat our way to victory in our adolescent motor contests. As demonstrated by the competition between Top Gear U.K. and Top Gear Australia.
Maybe that's one of those low American scruples we should learn to outgrow.
But my only point today is to give you a laugh. It's a lot better than listening to the "whingeing" of the White House about their latest snit regarding a useless address to the joint houses of Congress.