Week in Review: 6/2/11

A slightly delayed review of the last week featuring Clarkson’s latest failed attempt at International Relations.

Jeremy Clarkson is one of those Marmite people. Either you love him or you hate him. Personally, I hate him. His ignorant, arrogant rants and heavily right wing stance pin him up as one of those people who couldn’t care less about anyone, aside from himself, or anything, that he doesn’t own. The annoying thing is, though, I like Richard Hammond and think James May acts like a friendly old Granddad – the type you’d see walking around a supermarket getting confused by drinks from a can or beers with a screw top. So when I watch Top Gear, I’m in a bit of a predicament: I don’t like 1/3 of the show, but if they keep going the way they are at the moment, I needn’t worry.

Top Gear have had to apologise to the Mexican Ambassador for jokes they made on their show. In fact, it was Hammond who claimed that Mexican cars reflected their national characteristics, so were: “just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent oaf with a moustache, leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat”. He sure does know how to make friends and yet it didn’t stop there. Jeremy piped up and claimed that there’d be no complaints about what they said because: “at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this [snores]. They won’t complain, it’s fine.” just after May described their food as “like sick with cheese on it”. Wow. That’s a lot of insulting in a very short space of time and, not surprisingly, the Mexican ambassador did not live up to Clarkson’s prediction and, you’ve guessed it, complained about what was said.

In honesty I feel a little bit confused by all this. Yes, I’m pleased that Clarkson’s been put in his place and that the Mexican ambassador did bother to complain, but on the other hand, this is a show which drove cars painted with gay slurs on the side in pink, through the bible belt of America – they’re not to be taken seriously. They were only allowed to film one of their series in America if they weren’t funny and were treating it like a serious documentary: the whole idea of the show is to be funny and entertaining…. whilst sometimes talking about cars. Further to this, just watch Family Guy or The Simpsons or even South Park, they lay into the Mexican culture a lot worse than Top Gear did, I know this doesn’t excuse it, but maybe it should warrant a bit of perspective before complaining next time.

In one of my first blogs of the year I praised Venezuela for starting off the year by being ridiculous, claiming that they could be in for an award if they ended the year as such. Yet since, they’ve stayed very quiet – it’s as if Chavez has had a ball gag put in his mouth and is therefore unable to spout such bullshit like he has previously. In his absence, though, there’s always Malawi. If I’m honest, I don’t know much about Malawi, a friend of mine is from there, but I’ve not heard from them aside from that. Hopefully, this headline will put that right: “Malawi row over whether new law bans farting” (BBC).

That’s possibly the best headline I’ve seen all year. It appeals to my childish sensibilities but on further inspection could cause massive issues within the country. Two of Malawi’s most senior judicial officials are arguing about the details of a new law and whether it outlaws farting in public. There’s not much I can really say about this without my jaw hitting the floor. I don’t want to get base, but there are those times when you can’t help yourself – it simply slips out at the most awkward of moments, in Malawi, though, you’ll not only be praying that it was a silent one, but that there are no police nearby. Malawi’s justice minister claimed that you should, “just go to the toilet when you feel like farting”, that’ll turn into a logistical nightmare – any woman can testify that the queues for the toilets are large enough, without people coming into the toilet to fart.

Take that one step further: if you fart in the toilet then the smell, in theory, could exit the toilet as well. Would that mean that you could still face punishment?! The farting wasn’t technically done in public, but the smell would be in public…..

I get the feeling there needs to be a lot of revisions and refinements to this law before it’s introduced. No country should take a farting law lightly.