Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jeremy Clarkson is Iramia Ibn Clark and he's Lebanese. Or racist enough to be one.

Jeremy Clarkson, star presenter of BBC program Top Gear is in hot water again. A leaked clip showed him choosing between two cars while reciting the "eny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" replacing "catch a tiger" by "n****r" and therefore transforming it into a racial insult. Ah, I guess some PR firm advised him to apologize (after initial vehement denial of using the word), yet, this is not an isolated incident.
Here's a sample of previous episodes: "Clarkson described former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is blind in one eye, as a 'one-eyed Scottish idiot' while on tour in Australia in 2009.
In 2010 an audience member told him she was American during an episode of Top Gear, to which he replied: 'You can't be, you're nowhere near fat enough.'
He said the Perodua Kelisa was probably built in the jungle by people who wear leaves for shoes in a 2007 broadcast, enraging the Malaysian manufacturers.
While driving a truck in 2008 he made a joke about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes, saying: 'You've got to change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror... murder a prostitute. Change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day.' Earlier that year serial killer Steve Wright, a former fork lift driver, was jailed for killing sex workers.
After Top gear co-host Richard Hammond described Mexicans as being 'feckless' and 'lazy' in 2011, Clarkson joked that Mexico wouldn't complain as the country's UK ambassador would asleep in front of the TV. He wasn't, and a complaint was issued. From another source we have the full quote: at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this (Clarkson snores). They won't complain, it's fine."
In 2005 he made a Nazi salute and claimed the BMW M6's sat-nav would only lead the German car to Poland, a reference to the invasion of 1939."
When Veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall has admitted indecently assaulting 13 girls, the youngest aged nine, Clarkson joked (in a now deleted tweet) “Can I just say that I’ve worked at the BBC for 24 years and in all that time no-one has ever tried to put his finger in my bottom.”
Only more recently, when the Top Gear were commissioned to build a bridge over the River Kwai, Clarkson quipped: "That is a proud moment - but there's a slope on it" co-presenter Richard Hammond replied, indicating the bridge's surface: "You're right, it's definitely higher on that side." 'Slope' is a ethnic slur relating to the facial characteristics of those from and of east Asian and southeast Asian descent.Oh and should we mention the adorable name for his black dog, Didier Dogba, after Ivory Coast-born football Didier Drogba? And whereas the most quoted moment of the Top Gear India special (aired as 2011 Christmas special) was Clarkson's driving in a Jaguar in the Indian slums with a toilet seat on it bragging it is "is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots".
The reason a blogger from Beirut is writing about this is simple, joking and double-entendre is exactly the way we (as Lebanese) use to describe other races, to infer stereotypes, to consciously or unconsciously insult other entities, to appear dignified all while throwing jabs at those we deem inferior in our mind,  even naming our candies and household items after them: Tarboush from Gandour is a rebrand of "ras el abed" - with abed means both "dark skinned person" but also "slave" - and sif el abed also means "scrub of the slave" with of course the name coming from how entangled the scrub is (implicitly like the hair of a dark-skinned person. Every person who is an aide-maison is dubbed "Srilankese and the list goes on.
So yes, Jeremy (Iramia in Arabic) Clarkson (Ibn Clark) is Lebanese by all standards. Someone should give him an honorary passport, he'll feel right at home I am sure.

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