Left-leggers, limeys, island monkeys, whatever: We’re a nation of bigots, says the BBC

A minor controversy erupted on the set of a BBC television “programme,” which, owing to centuries of inbred ethnic superiority, the British seem unable to put to rest.

“Top Gear” is a BBC-produced series about cars and racing which is propelled by the irrepressible “wit” of Jeremy Clarkson (a presenter in the argot of British pop-TV). Clarkson’s supercilious personality has made him a favorite of the British viewing public. And why shouldn’t it? After all he has uttered such witticisms as referring to an automobile as “a bit gay” or joking about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes. This kind of English humor not only earned him a salary of £2 million per year but also entitled “Top Gear” to first place in a poll of 1,000 people, who named it The Greatest TV Show of the Noughties (which is what Channel 4 calls the 10 years from 2000 to sometime before the end of 2009). The program beat out “Planet Earth,” “Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution,” “The Apprentice,” “The Office,” and “Doctor Who.” Some people, most likely people can’t trace their ancestry to before Norman times, have repeatedly objected to the rather none-too-clever ethnic maligning that Clarkson has perfected. The BBC, in typical white-man’s-burden, stiff-upper-lip fashion, even once had a web page to instruct viewers not conversant in the finer aspects of British repartee:

“We acknowledge some viewers do not appreciate the Top Gear team’s sense of humour but their provocative comments are an integral part of the programme and are not intended to be taken seriously.”

“In addition to making fun of each other, Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters frequently make jibes at members of the audience and at individuals and organisations featured in the programme. This is part of the appeal of the show and no-one is immune from the team’s acerbic comments and observations. We trust most viewers are familiar enough with the style and tone of the show not to take offence.”

Tut, tut. There you have it.

When he described a BMW Mini as having “trafficators” that made a Heil, Hitler salute and had a navigation system “that only goes to Poland,” that was just part of the keen sense of frivolity the English (if not the Saxons and Angles–but weren’t they German?) are famous for since at least Chaucer. The “gay car” bit, however, did bring down a rebuke from the BBC. Clarkson said the car reminded him of a “very ginger beer.” According to BBC News (the humorless, respectable part of the organization), the Corporation came down hard:

“The BBC complaints unit said there was ‘no editorial purpose’ for the remarks.

“The Top Gear team had been reminded of the importance of avoiding such comments about ‘sexual orientation’, it added.

“‘As Jeremy Clarkson supplemented the term ‘gay’ with a phrase which is rhyming slang for ‘queer’, there was no doubt that it was being used in the sense of “homosexual”, and was capable of giving offence,’ the BBC concluded.”

It must be difficult for a viewer of the BBC to know when “not to take offense” and rather see that “their provocative comments are an integral part of the programme,” but I suppose that’s why there is a BBC complaints department.

Just recently the lovable presenters at “Top Gear” seem to have created a controversy, but not crossed the line (as with the “ginger beer” remark), yet nevertheless required some pruning to respect the quite underdeveloped sensitivities of we bloody tea dumping psycho Yanks. It’s complicated! It seems that an integral part of a recent program required the lovable gang to make some pertinent observations about Mexicans. This time the humour began with co-presenter Richard Hammond comparing a Mexican sports car to “a lazy, feckless and flatulent oaf with a mustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.” Pretty funny, no? But the knee-slapping didn’t end there. (Do the British slap knees or only we oafish republican rebels?) Yet another co-presenter (this is the most popular series on TV after all), James May, described Mexican food as “like sick with cheese on it” and “refried sick.” The inimitable Clarkson then concluded that the BBC would not get any complaints because “the [Mexican] ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control, snoring.” Such sparkling improvisation shows that the engaging and charming genius behind such things as Twelfth Night never left the British Isles.

Now of course if this happened in the US, there would be a swift response. Either (a) the hosts would be fired and they would go on to vastly more lucrative careers on syndicated talk radio, or (b) they would defiantly stand behind their remarks and immediately become front-runners for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. Anyone offended by those kind of remarks can simply not watch Fox TV.

It’s more complicated for the British, with the weight of years of white man’s burden. They have to first put it into the great historical perspective of the Anglo-Saxon-[Norman] people and their destiny on this small planet. So the BBC today reports that the Corporation responded to complaints by Mexican Ambassador Medina Mora (who evidently has no sense of humor or at least does not know what is “an integral part of the programme”) by saying “it was sorry if it had offended some people, adding that jokes based on national stereotypes were part of Britain’s indigenous humour.”

Yes that indigenous humour! Which brought you such things as Dago, Wog, Bog, Pikey, Boer, Nig-nog, Chee-chee, Coconut, Fritz, Gippo, Hun, Eyetie, Jerry, Tar baby, Jigaboo, Fuzzy-wuzzy, Jocky, Monkey,  Nip, Paddy, Sheep shagger, Taffy, Chink, Thick lips, Frog, Tinker. All fun stuff welling up out of Britain’s indigenous humour. Nothing to get upset about. A people can’t help what is intrinsic or innate. And the  BBC believes the British are intrinsically racist.

The BBC has, however, cut the segment from the program that is to air in the US. They view our humor as cruder, I suspect.

Afraid that the world did not adequately learn the lesson from the BBC’s statement of regret that the Mexican ambassador and other dour Mexicans might have been “offended,” the BBC was happy to report on the musings of the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Trevor Philips said he didn’t want to get into a “ruck” with Clarkson over the incident and dismissed it as “bit of schoolboy provocation”. You know, like what the old school  boys at Abingdon or the Crypt School or Harrow would use to endear themselves with their Mexican school chums.  Philips went on to say:

“Both the Top Gear tendency, which bangs on about obnoxious feminists, and the PC lobby which wants the commission to be a strident, boot-faced, politically correct thought police are now just hanging on at the fringes of public life.

“They are all, like the dinosaurs, on their way out.

“Britain has moved on. So we too have to move on, adopting an approach which learns from the past but is designed for the future.”

Yep. To actually concern yourself with whether or not you are making an offensive ethnic slur can lead to nothing short of fascism. Bigotry is in fact essential to pluralistic democracy, as this official of a monarchy plainly argues. And Philips is not just a Tory toady. Or at least he’s not just a Tory toady. No, he’s been around the world and talked to some real forward-looking people. He once wrote a piece for the Guardian where he referred to Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates as “my great friend from Harvard, Skip Gates, who has become a BBC TV star.” That certainly should give him street cred. In that piece he noted that in America, though there are famous black athletes and celebrities, “on race equality, America has failed in every way possible.” (You have to be a deep thinker to conceive of every way possible a country can fail, but we did it.)  He explains:

“Those who do succeed {in America} outside of entertainment and sport do so only and exclusively through two routes, both of which are widely regarded with distaste by Europeans. One is contract compliance, in which both the government and big private sector companies are, in effect, compelled to give a proportion of their work to minority entrepreneurs. I have yet to learn of a black millionaire who has not benefited from this provision; I have yet to meet a white liberal who does not feel uneasy about it.

“The other route is affirmative action. Powell, Rice and Gates all state baldly that they would never have reached their current eminence without positive discrimination at some stage in their lives. In his single public disagreement with the president, Powell cited his own successful military career to argue why American universities should retain the right to use race as a factor in admissions policy. Affirmative action alone accounted for most of the black senior American faces we saw in Iraq.

“So everyone who yearns for a ‘British Colin Powell’ should think about what they are signing up to — if they are serious. Politicians could signal support for contract compliance by handing the production of their next party political broadcast to a black production company, or the printing of their manifesto to an Asian firm. Or they could just select some black or Asian parliamentary candidates for safe seats.”

(One small quibble. The “white liberals” that he knows seem to be those “friends [who] return from their summers on Martha’s Vineyard or in San Francisco, enthusing about the success of minority Americans.” There might actually be “white liberals” who support affirmative action and set-asides, for valid equity reasons, if he only looked. But no matter. He of course should know of the superiority of British handling of racial issues, since his own father left Britain in the 1960s, owing to discrimination and went to the US where “he fulfilled a modest version of the American dream, a white-collar job on a university campus.” But we get the point. He would have become chairman of AT&T had there not been affirmative action.)

Philips proposed taking in the big picture. The large arc of history. And that’s where Britain can teach us a lesson. “[F]rom Rome, through Constantinople to Venice and London, our nations have a history of peacefully absorbing huge, diverse movements of people, driven by war, famine and persecution; and there is no history of long-term ethnic segregation of the kind one can see in any US city.”

So from what I can tell Philips believes that racial equality is not to be achieved by worrying ourselves silly over old “schoolboy provocation” like racial and ethnic taunts. It’s not to be found in equitable remedies for constitutional violations of equal protection. (Philips forgot to mention the US Constitutional history on the subject. Another piece of New World trivia that misses the arc of history.) What brings people together is “war, famine and persecution.”

That must be why Britain is over 92% white. People of darker hues either can’t take the climate of “tolerance” that is indigenous to the British people or there has not been enough death and pestilence. The long, benevolent career of British foreign policy tried its best. And you can see the harmony that the Empire’s work has left on Palestine, the Arab Peninsula, Iraq, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Let’s also not forget the good work of the English of the 18th Century who engineered that large-scale forcible migration quaintly called the “Middle Passage.”

It’s a shame Trevor Philips was born in the UK because he could be a leading contender for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination.

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