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Category: Others

This Top Gear Mexican Furore. What on Earth?

I have been a long-time Top Gear viewer and I know there is casual xenophobic remarks. You deal with them as they offend everyone and also offend each other. It is part of the nature of the show and of real life. If people don’t think they offend others then they are nave in the extreme. We all have opinions whether they be about chavs, teenage mums, Essex boys/girls, whatever. We all have them and whilst they are our opinions as a blanket rule we don’t use them to pigeon-hole a person if we meet them.

I know teenage mums and some of them are terrific. I know chavs and some of them aren’t anywhere near as bad as what the media says. I live in Essex and some of the people purposefully live up to their stereotype and they like it, some of them detest it. Casual stereotypes are just a part of life and people who don’t see that I often feel are chronic deluded.

I missed Top Gear last week as it clashed with the American Football but I recorded it and caught up with it later. Was there any complaints that the Australian Top Gear presenters were forced to arrive in a prison van? Were there any complaints where they made them drive upside down in one of the challenges? I don’t recall reading about any. Is that because casual xenophobic remarks about Aussies are ok?

The remarks made by the Top Gear team are as follows (courtesy of The Guardian):

Hammond: …Cars reflect national characteristics, don’t they, so German cars are very well-built and ruthlessly efficient, Italian cars are a bit flamboyant and quick, a Mexican car’s just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight… (laughter) leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat.

May: It is interesting, isn’t it, because they can’t do food, the Mexicans, can they? Because it’s all like sick with cheese on it, I mean… (laughter)

Hammond: Refried sick!

May: Yeah, refried sick.

Hammond: I’m sorry, but just imagine waking up and remembering you’re Mexican: ‘awww, no’. (laughter)

Clarkson: No, it’d be brilliant… because you could just go straight back to sleep again.

What here is personally offensive in any Mexicans? I like Mexican food but it does look like sick. All Hammond said it his opening remarks was portraying a national stereotype. Whether it was funny or not only the individual can decide but was it genuinely offensive? I think you’d need pretty strong blinkers on to say that it was.

I have also read that a Mexican student wants to sue the show and the BBC for up to £1million because he was personally offended. The 30 year-old has said, “I have never had a bad experience in the UK due to my nationality. I do not understand how such ignorant people hold such high-profile jobs.” I ask myself, ‘Was it really such a bad experience?’ and ‘You are a 30 year-old man – grow up you little so n so.’ Do I sue The Simpsons when they constantly go on about the British having bad teeth and being involved in soccer violence all the time? I don’t believe I do.

The Mexican government are getting involved as they are considering suing the BBC for potential loss of tourism. What bull. This is the best type of advertising the country could get being constantly in the media. With lots of people who believe they are above Top Gear and childish humour saying great things about Mexico and Mexicans just to prove a point that they are better than that.

People need to stop taking things too seriously. If it wasn’t for the media telling us we were appalled then we wouldn’t be. Is this what media is these days not exactly reporting the news but creating news to get us all talking? It is starting to feel that way.

I know there is a delicate balance between xenophobia and racism, the difference to me is would you treat someone any differently if they came from another social group/race/sex etc… I do not believe the Top Gear presenters would, hence this whole furore is overblown for me. Maybe that’s just me as I’m not swayed by what the media are telling me to think, I like forming my own opinions and not just joining the crowd.

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The Murder of Jo Yeates, The Media & MPs react.

I have dillied and dallied on whether or not I was going to write this blog but it looks like I am going to go through with it. The murder of Jo Yeates is without a doubt a horrific crime and needs to be treated as such. However the way the media are going on it seems as though this is the first murder of a person in the UK for a generation. I could deal with that without too much of a murmur but the reporting in the Sunday newspapers have tipped me over the edge of silence.

Now I know Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East has claimed on her twitter feed that she has been misquoted but she did say – and the quotes are direct – that (about DNA testing) ‘but rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area, where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city.’

First of all this is not a sex crime. Therefore it could have been a woman who murdered her and in any DNA testing plan the police would have to test both men and women. Secondly as far as I’m aware people are free to travel outside of their local area so the murderer may not be a local. The profile of this murder seems to suggest that this wasn’t an opportunist killing and was planned. If it was planned then someone could have driven in and out of the area to do what they did.

So mass DNA testing would have to cover everyone essentially. It opens up the question of personal information and whether or not people who are not accused of a crime should have their DNA taken. I know there is an opinion of ‘if you are innocent then you have nothing to worry about’ but I don’t buy that. I do not (to my knowledge) live in a police state and live in a liberal and free society. I’m not surprised Labour MPs have backed this plan.

Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South tweeted, ‘However the comments by @KerryMP might have been misreported, I hope the idea of DNA tests for every man in Bristol is acted upon.’ The police have not even said that they have any DNA from the body to match any sample against or whether any sample is male or female. He is just desperate for attention and has already decided that a male is to blame for the murder. He’d be a great policeman…Not. So basically two Labour MPs have jumped on the populist bandwagon and said that DNA testing can possibly save the day. DNA evidence is clearly an important part of any case but just let the police do their job.

That brings me on to my biggest bugbear. I have read across the media and on various internet forums that the police are not doing a very good job. Well what bullshit. The police are trained to investigate crimes and we have to just let them get on with it. The media should just let the police do their job and be there to help the police with media appeals etc… Being critical of an ongoing case when no-one in the media actually knows what is going on in Police HQ is flat-out dumb and pathetic. There was a reason the police told itvNews to get out of their Press Conferences – and that is because they were hindering the investigation.

So an open memo to the media. Solving the crime is the most important thing. Not giving opinions on the investigation and what might or might not have happened. I’m not a trained police officer and therefore I have no knowledge of how to investigate a crime. Nor do members of the media or MPs for that matter. Let the people who are trained do the job and keep your opinions to yourself if you are going to make comments that might harm the investigation.

My final point of this matter is that Jo Yeates was a 20-something blonde who was murdered and the media have jumped on board like it’s the worst crime ever. I ask myself whether the media would be all over the story had for example the murder victim had been a 35 year-old Pakistani woman or a 40 year-old bald man? Sometimes I feel that the media jump on to a crime because the person killed fits that ‘middle England’ sense of perfection.

For example see the Madeline McCann coverage. Perfect blonde girl with a smile and wearing a football top. Again a terrible crime may well have happened here but kids get abducted all the time and they never get this coverage. Early last year there were a series of knife crimes in London where young teenagers were stabbed and killed but those stories went away after 24-48h. This one isn’t and the difference is in the gender. As far as I can recall no teenage girls were stabbed and killed during that spell of violence, had there been would the media reporting have been different? I know I certainly think so.

I may just be a 20-something cynic but if I disappeared and turned up dead, my death would not be making headlines a fortnight later. There might be a Crimewatch reconstruction a few months later and it might make the news when my body was discovered but I suspect that would be it.

The media know how to make a story and this is a legit story that needs to be reported but so are other murders and missing people. The media should not be able to pick and choose which murders are most important but they do and sadly this is something we have to live with. Hopefully the police are allowed to get on with their job and find out who killed Jo Yeates and then the streets will be safer but for now we know nothing so let’s give the police the time and space to conduct their investigations.

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The World of the Lady

The world of the lady. As anyone who actually knows me and not just reads my Twitter et al, they’ll know I’ve been single for a long long time. In fact I have had one date in the past four years and there was no second date because she was – and I quote – ‘too busy as she had washing up to do’ – gotta like that excuse – it is so bad it is funny. Anywho…

Whilst I swim in the waters of general loneliness there are other people I know with very interesting love lives. One of those is a friend who prefers to remain nameless but he had what I call a very normal experience recently. There was the girl who he had been talking to on the Interwebs via a love finding site – think it was eHarmony but it may have been another. Anyway they had a series of dates and were texting constantly. This to me is a good sign. Both wanted to meet up more n more and life was good.

Then he made his move and was rebuffed quite spectacularly so I’m informed and since she hasn’t contacted him. So how can two people go from seeing each other three or four times a week, getting generally closer n closer and more flirtatious and more flirtatious and then suddenly bam, it all ending. My hypothesis is that she met someone else and suddenly decided that was that but there must be more to it than that. I have been in similar situation in the albeit distant past where you are very close to someone and they find another and quite simply you do not exist to them anymore.

So I want to know why this happens. Do women think that they can’t have single male friends when they start a new relationship? Do women think that by having single male friends (or in some cases people they were getting closer to) it’ll destabilise a potential relationship? Are all resources needed to make sure that new relationship works at all costs? I at times do not understand. As a single guy I’d prefer to keep my friends should I ever get into a relationship, whether they be single females or not or would this not be allowed? I find it all very confusing.

There is someone in my past who basically had the straight choice between me and two other guys who were after ger affections. Once she had chosen one of the other guys I was pretty much deemed completely surplus to requirements and she just didn’t speak to me again pretty much. For me that is harsh but heck I’ve seen it more than once both on a personal level and amongst friends and colleagues.

So women – are you allowed to have single male friends when forming a new relationship or is that just wrong?

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Am I thief?

Let me expand.

I was in Game yesterday buying Wii Fit Plus and it was absolutely rammed and the queue was insane. So the poor people serving were under pressure and for some reason very slow. Anyway when I got to pay for my ‘game’ which cost £19.99 I gave him a £20 note and then he gave me back £10.01 change. I instantly knew he had given me too much change but I didn’t say a word. I pocketed the tenner and moved on. When I got on the train home I checked the receipt and it said £19.99 so I was given too much money back.

Obviously had it been the other way round I’d of ensured I got my money back but I want to know if what I did was just morally questionable or just plain wrong. I’m torn as I do think I should’ve said something but also they should’ve got it right.

I just don’t know.

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