Whilst many define the big three moments of 2016 where people saying ‘enough is enough’, stuck their middle finger up at liberal forces as Brexit, Trump and the forthcoming Italian Referendum (which Matteo Renzi will almost certainly lose), I’d like to add a fourth. It’s not a political nor electoral movement, but it does represent a triumph against liberalism in more ways than one.
I’m speaking of this week’s launch of The Grand Tour – a new online motoring show hosted by Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, formally of Top Gear.
Top Gear was of course a BBC programme, one of the few programmes the BBC allowed on air that didn’t consistently toe a post-cultural liberal line. The hosts were real blokes, the kind of people you’d meet at a pub, racecourse or just about anywhere else other than an organic carrot distillery, fair trade shoe recycling centre or organic new age health retreat.
For years, many at the BBC wanted to sack the team, particularly Jeremy Clarkson whose penchant for speaking freely angered the lifeless stooges at the BBC. Eventually they got their moment, when Clarkson who had just had a health scare, got irritated by a clearly irritating man and walloped him. In a world where blokes are blokes, this would have been the end of it, but not at the BBC.
They probably spent more time and quite possibly more money on investigating the situation than it would have required to make a new episode of another television show. Ultimately, Clarkson and his mates Hammond and May walked away from the BBC.
After speculation more intense than theories over who will be in Donald Trump’s new cabinet, it emerged that Amazon would produce a new motoring show with Clarkson, Hammond and May. The dynamic triumvirate would have full creative control as well as a budget which would dwarf that of the BBC.
This was a triumph for new media over old, for internet over air waves and most importantly it demonstrated that on an international level, people are coming together as individuals in a political sense but also a cultural sense. The old Top Gear was one of the most globally loved shows in recent memory.
It was global without being globalist. I have always highlighted such differences. People can connect across cultures as individuals without surrendering their cultures, unique points of view or identities to the morass of globalism which seeks to turn the entire world into a place where people speak with all of the monotonous insincerity of most BBC reporters.
Clarkson and crew’s irreverent spontaneous humour is just the antidote to the ‘you can’t say that’ culture which neo-liberals have tried to impose upon the western world. Now the lads are back, bigger and better than ever before.
The opening sequence of the show depicts a melancholic looking Clarkson leaving London as news of his erstwhile resignation plays in the background. He boards a plane to Los Angeles and drives into the desert where he is joined on the open road by Hammond and May. Soon, a convoy of vehicles joins them as they arrive at the stage of the ‘Burning Van Festival’, a clear reference to the post-hippy paradise known as ‘Burning Man’.
The BBC killed the goose that laid the golden egg when they drove Clarkson into temporary retirement. But a rebirth, a literal renaissance has taken place. I can think of no better way to celebrate the triumph of Brexit and Trump than by sitting back and watching The Grand Tour in the same place I now get the news, online.
There is a story that Albert Einstein would demand to be released from even the most important meetings in order to watch the comedic television show Time For Beanie, a show which incidentally was a favourite of the deeply intellectual Frank Zappa. This just goes to show that in the words of another comic genius, Benny Hill, “When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me”.
Ironically, Clarkson, Hammond and May supported Britain remaining in the EU. This just goes to show that there needn’t be arguments about politics when it comes to real people who have a spine rather than a permanent whine. Such people can take an argument like they can take a punch, – with dignity.
In the race to see how the post-liberal world is to be shaped, it is nice that Top Gear blazed a trail for free thinkers and for people who refuse to discard their sense of humour due to liberal bullying.
And on that bombshell, we await the Italian referendum.