Top Gear has had plenty of controversies and non-controversies in the past, but this one is just absurd. The tittering ninnies over at the Daily Mail are now all in a huff over the latest Christmas special, not because anyone was actually insulted, but because there was a reference to a past incident. Cretins.
I will say that because this is the Mail none of this manufactured controversy is surprising, but this is especially remarkable if not for its depth, than for its reach. Seriously the amount of reaching you've got to do for this is tremendous.
The crux of the issue revolves around a brief scene in the second part of Top Gear's Patagonia special, when the hosts are attempting to cross a bridge only to find that it's not quite finished. Once the team set up some ramps enabling the cars to get off the bridge, Jeremy Clarkson turns to Richard Hammond and remarks:
That is a proud moment, Hammond, but is it straight?
It's a pretty obvious reference to the weird controversy last year after the release of the show's Burma special, when Clarkson used an archaic term for East Asian people when discussing the characteristics of a bridge.
But this bit of self-referentialism is simply TOO MUCH for the hysterical gibbering ninnies over at the Daily Mail, who blast out with the headline "Jeremy Clarkson in hot water AGAIN as Top Gear Christmas special pokes fun at row over last year's racist 'slope' slur":
Jeremy Clarkson has once again become embroiled in controversy after appearing to poke fun at the 'slope' racism row on the Top Gear Christmas special.
The 54-year-old appeared to mock the decision by Ofcom earlier this year which ruled he had been 'deliberately offensive' after using the word 'slope' on an episode of the BBC show.
And... that's really it, which is almost the weirdest part. Where is the controversy coming from? Who's upset? Which group wants them off the air this time forever and ever, for all eternity?
We really don't know, despite the fact that the Mail spent a staggering 1,387 words doing its darndest to explain the "controversy." The rest of the entire piss-poor excuse for an article is mostly devoted to recapping past Top Gear incidents and quoting some equally hysterical Argentinian tabloids about the fact that the show was allowed to air at all.
There's just a complete lack of substance to this one. If we can't make self-referential jokes about our own past mistakes, what are we limited to? One of the joys of Top Gear, at the end of the day, is its relatable humanity, and I know of few human beings that have never joked about previous foibles.
Hell, I know I've done it, and I can guarantee you have, too.
So, Daily Fail, let Clarkson live. If you waste all your ammo on this bit of crap, no one will come listening the next time he says something he'll probably regret.
Which will probably be tomorrow.