A friend emailed me with a photo of Jeremy Clarkson's article in today's Sunday Times. This is it:
If you click on this, you can make out the text. It's Clarkson sounding off about various transgender items in the news. But he has gone too far. And this is something in print, not an offhand comment made in haste or when tired, that might be laughed off. It is crass.
Did he nevertheless think it would strike a common chord with The Broad Mass Of Sensible British People - Sunday Times readers to boot - to be read with a sage nod of the head, and treated as a fair review of what personally peeves him - and his readers - about the Transgender World? A review that might indeed be regarded by them as eye-rollingly humorous, if it were not all so very sad? Who can say. It's still a crass article.
I emailed my friend back in these terms.
That's outrageous, and I am surprised it was thought fit to publish. Clarkson's article must surely contravene every official standard to do with sensitive subjects that the press agreed to adhere to. So much for self-regulation.
Clarkson has been in 'provocative mode' for a long time. In so far as he scorns silliness in outmoded social attitudes, or the stupidities of officialdom, or is witty about (say) caravanners, I have smiled and let him have his say. I respect his thinking on what cars are worth driving, and indeed his driving skills. But his schoolboy banter and practical jokes are harder to digest, and I've often thought he pathologically wants to hurt and spoil, and is basically a man looking for a confrontation, with many of the characteristics of a bully. I thought at first the BBC had over-reacted when they fired him last year, but now I think they may have acted for the best. He had brought them into disrepute.
And this article is yet another sign that he has become a loose cannon. It's almost too bad to be true. He trots out nearly every cliché about trans people that papers have ever published. He doesn't actually call MTF persons rapists, but he implies that those in men's prisons have spotted a dodge worth exploiting. It doesn't 'balance' the piece to reveal he cynically pretended religious zeal in order to get more time with his girlfriend.
The cut at the parents of the eight year old is the unkindest. It's almost unbelievably cruel and heartless. I won't be forgiving him. That's it. He's said too much too clearly and too publicly. I'd hate to be associated with him now.
I dare say some neanderthal men will agree with him, but not all men will by any means, and certainly not men who care and can think for themselves. I'd like to think that some male champion of knowledge and fairness will slap him across the face and challenge him to a duel. A pity that would be against the law. I hope in any event that the women of the world will cry out against him and his very unfunny words, and force The Times and indeed Amazon to drop him like a hot potato.
To his face, if I bumped into him, I would tell Mr Clarkson that his article was stupid and offensive, and reveals that he is not up to speed on what 'being trans' is all about.
It's a shame that a trained journalist and media presenter with a brain, considerable influence, and a big following, can't get his head around the subject and start re-educating all those people who might listen to him.