All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Top Gear - Mexicans - Steve Coogan

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
[rant mode]

Top gear??? loud, crass and unrefined. Appeals to..... Not me. The few programs I've watched have been ridiculous. Offensive and often just plain stupid (like the North Pole episode). Some people never grow up, or learn manners. It seems like it's a pre-requisite to be in both categories to be a presenter there. I found German humour to be retarded - still at the slipping on banana peel level. To see British 'humour' regress to pre banana peel levels is saddening, but it just helps remind me why I haven't spent much time there since 1982. What happened to the quality of John Cleese, Not the Nine O'clock news?

[/rant mode]
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
I like Top Gear when I'm in the mood to something completely puerile, but this time I thought they completely overdid it. If they'd made a quick jibe stereotyping Mexicans as "lazy and fat", it would have got the laugh they needed, but someone sat down and scripted a diatribe which, I'm afraid to say, is wholly offensive and is on the wrong side of the racist line.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Yes, it was pretty offensive, and went far further than I would have wanted to see. But come on, Steve Coogan? He lambasts the Top Gear presenters as 'three rich middle aged men'. So now Coogan, a fourth rich middle aged man (whose brother, by coincidence, used to be a Topr Gear presenter) jumps on this particular band wagon to bag himself some free publicity, promoting his image as a moralist and ethicist. I for one don't need to be told what to think by an overpaid actor.
 

Lerome

Member
Messages
33
I, too, "don't want to be told what to think by an overpaid actor".

But, equally, I don't want to be told what to think by anyone.

Clarkson's comments have been branded "racist" by those who would tell me how I should think. I believe that racism lies in the mind of the person who interprets such comments as racist rather than as harmless banter. The programme works to a formula that appeals to millions of people all over the world. Part of that formula consists of Clarkson having his pseudo rants about a particular group of people. It changes every week and no one group or category is spared.

Some people are far too sensitive to live in this world!
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
As an American, I find racism issues in this country a bit bewildering at times. The 'lazy poncho-wearing Mexican' is a stereotype that was dated (even comically so) when I was a child in California in the '70s. Seriously, the only place you saw it was in cartoons from the'50s. So for me it's not so much offensive as bizarre. But bad jokes on Top Gear don't really come as a surprise (as much as I do like the show).

I'm not sure Coogan's liberal guilt isn't another expression of this same casual racism he finds so offensive, taking it upon himself to be offended on behalf of a nation he has no relation to. Otoh, he does have a point that displaying the casual racism of our upper classes/older generation isn't putting our best foot forward.

And to be fair, Mexican food in England is a little too much like cheese on sick. Last time I went to a mexican restaurant was in Battersea last year. Not a single mexican dish on the menu. Bizarre but true. I had to teach myself how to make tortillas so I could have a taco al pastor without flying 8000 miles for it.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Top Gear is an entertainment show, not a documentary, and probably less than 50% of its content can be described as "factual". So you are watching something that is comparable with 3 stand-up comedians having an hour of tele to themselves. They are performers who work to a formula that, someone in the BBC clearly thinks, works. Clarkson may have the odd regessive, non-PC thought in his head, but in real life, he is a thoroughly decent bloke (my journalist son has interviewed him), but the stuff he and his cronies spout is just a parody of insubstantial, boys-down-the-pub, my-willies-bigger-than-yours male joshing which if you heard it coming from an actual stand-up comedian, you would barely even register. Anyone remember Men Behaving Badly? Role models for Top Gear, I reckon, and they were certainly at least as apparently bigoted and non-PC without the regular outraged clamour from Daily Mail readers.

Having said that, I do find their racial stereo-typing distinctly unfunny, but to me it just emphasises how utterly moronic any form of racial prejudice is.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,625
And to be fair, Mexican food in England is a little too much like cheese on sick. Last time I went to a mexican restaurant was in Battersea last year. Not a single mexican dish on the menu. Bizarre but true. I had to teach myself how to make tortillas so I could have a taco al pastor without flying 8000 miles for it.
How can I not rise ot tihs one? You'er a guy who's a bit of a cook on the side... any chance of Morgan Fry authentic mexican recipe some time in the recipes section?
 

Lerome

Member
Messages
33
It is a shame that the word 'racism' is so misused. It appears to be used in a way that suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with racism. I always believed that racism simply described certain differences between races, which certainly exist, whether sociological or anthropomorphic (sorry for such a big, pompous-sounding word! I am sure things will improve when I get my Tenor sax).

Unfair racial discrimination is the thing that we abhor. Clarkson's comments were not guilty of that. They merely highlighted a perceived characteristic of people from a certain country, just like jokes heard, in every British pub, about Scots, Irish, Welsh, etc. These jokes do not constitute unfair racial discrimination. "Racial discrimination" of itself is not unacceptable, surely? Only when it leads to unfair treatment of a particular race in society. And I fail to see how jokes can constitute "racial prejudice". No-one is prejudiced.

The jokes will continue, even while critics continue to misunderstand the principal they are criticising.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Part of that formula consists of Clarkson having his pseudo rants about a particular group of people. It changes every week and no one group or category is spared.
Funny, I can't ever remember them taking the **** out of white, english, middle-aged car bores.
 

Lerome

Member
Messages
33
Poor memory then.

James May fits that description (except for the 'bore' bit), and they are always taking the **** out of him!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It is a shame that the word 'racism' is so misused. It appears to be used in a way that suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with racism. I always believed that racism simply described certain differences between races, which certainly exist, whether sociological or anthropomorphic (sorry for such a big, pompous-sounding word! I am sure things will improve when I get my Tenor sax).

Unfair racial discrimination is the thing that we abhor. Clarkson's comments were not guilty of that. They merely highlighted a perceived characteristic of people from a certain country, just like jokes heard, in every British pub, about Scots, Irish, Welsh, etc. These jokes do not constitute unfair racial discrimination. "Racial discrimination" of itself is not unacceptable, surely? Only when it leads to unfair treatment of a particular race in society. And I fail to see how jokes can constitute "racial prejudice". No-one is prejudiced.

The jokes will continue, even while critics continue to misunderstand the principal they are criticising.
I fail to see how any kind of racial discrimination can be seen as fair.

Apartheid was based on a living apart belief that the Afrikaners thought was fair to themselves and the blacks. But the rest of the world didn't think so. So who's going to decide what constitutes fair and unfair racial discrimination?

And there's a huge danger - racial stereotypes, acceptable as jokes, become part of our belief systems - and thus when we first meet someone of another race, we discriminate, subtly perhaps, but it's there. And we look for the negatives, not the positives. So if there's a stereotype, reinforced by jokes, that says a race is lazy, then we expect and find evidence to support that view... One example - I was exposed to working with Italians for the first time when I came to Germany. The stereotype was pretty much the same as the Mexicans being discussed here. But it was far from the truth - the Italians I work with are much harder working than the English I used to work with...

And one might also ask, as you live in France, don't you find the term 'les rosbif' derogatory and annoying? I do, and I'd imagine it's as offensive to us as our calling the French frogs...

The only mexican I've worked with was a super guy, slim, quiet, hard working..... And a lot of fun. But based on that I looked forward to meeting others. And found the same about others I met later.

For me, race is about heritage, and a sense of belonging. But it's also a chance to find out more about other people's cultures, beliefs, morals....

We often offend with insensitive comments. And the question is: "Where do you draw the line?" What's acceptable to you, may not be acceptable to others. Especially the people you're discussing. And starting from a base of respect for the other person is the core of avoiding problems with intolerance, however it oiginates. And part of that respect is not making poor jokes based on inaccurate, outdated stereotypes.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Poor memory then.

James May fits that description (except for the 'bore' bit), and they are always taking the **** out of him!
But not specifically out of his whiteness, class, englishness, etc. He is seen and targeted as an individual human being rather than herded together with millions of others and branded with "they're all like this". There's a whole world of difference. I'm not getting drawn any further into this depressing subject, so I won't say any more.
 

Rock Lobster

Member
Messages
124
My view is that Top Gear has changed from a car show to a light entertainment show that happens to have cars in it and this is a shame.
They use these type of jokes because they work and feed an audience, (which makes them lots of money), in the same way pornography and fascism feed their audience, obviously not saying Top Gear is bad in the way fascism or pornography is, just that it hits the target.
What does this say about the audience?
One thing is for sure, every outrage article will mean more money to them.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,899
I didn't think it was 'racist' ( what happened to the correct word 'racialist', there is a difference) just bad stereotyping and most offensively they did not have the talent to make it funny.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Agree with that has been said above. Watched again on Sunday, when they started talking about putting dead bodies in a boot of a car in Albania, just switched off, don't think i'll go back to it now. I think it has run it's course just like Jonathan Ross. Although i am sure it will still be with us for some time to come.
I get angry when you get these overpaid TV presenters starting to believe they are more important than they really are and feel as though they can say what they want.
But look we are talking about it on a sax forum...
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
My view is that Top Gear has changed from a car show to a light entertainment show .
Spot on. They won an award a couple of years ago. Category? Best unscripted light entertainment show.

The Guardian and Observer, which both printed Coogan's comments, are as morally dubious as anyone, as they just recycled a story in order to get more attention, through an 'opinion piece'. I've always thought that an opinion piece is about the most worthless piece of journalistic hackwork imaginable - not a straight reporting of facts (or even a biased reporting of facts), just someone's opinion. Someone whose opinion is no more valuable than my own, or any other individual, but they're given column inches to spout off for their own benefit. Yuck.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,990
The Guardian and Observer, which both printed Coogan's comments, are as morally dubious as anyone, as they just recycled a story in order to get more attention, through an 'opinion piece'. I've always thought that an opinion piece is about the most worthless piece of journalistic hackwork imaginable -.
Possibly true.

But one thing I noticed. We turned on The News Quiz, sure of hearing some real "banter" about what was quite a big media story that week.

What was there? Nada.

I wonder why. The Beeb scared ?
 
Saxholder Pro

Staff online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom