Is it just me?

I don’t get it. Perhaps it is a symptom of the Real Housewives culture that we live in. Apparently, nothing is safe, not even the automotive world.

Seems that the world is up in arms about the real possibility that Jeremy Clarkson won’t be back at Top Gear, or that there may not be a Top Gear moving forward. No Top Gear would be a shame, because it is a likable and rather entertaining show, immaculately produced about cars, although in fairness, the formula has gotten a bit stale as of late. How many fake set ups are we expected to greet with the giddy excitement usually reserved by 15 year old boys? At least they stopped blowing things up as much. And true, they spend too much time on cars and lap times, but it is a successful formula. The bad acting between the three presenters is fun, if not see through, but the good spirit is what has held the show together. Until recently.

Jeremy Clarkson, the former chain smoking, nasty talking “elder statesman” of the show, it turns out, is also, not surprisingly, the biggest asshole diva. Allegedly, as Kathy Griffin would say. Seems that recently, after a hard day of filming the hit television show ( as opposed to saving lives, landing aircraft at a busy airport tower or fighting 4 alarm fires, etc) Mr Clarkson, it is rumored, punched a producer because his craft services meal wasn’t ready. Real nice.  Who wouldn’t want that guy in your home? After a complaint, the BBC suspended Mr Clarkson, and put the show on hold. Then, again perhaps not surprisingly, viewers around the world were outraged. Outraged not because an overpaid diva with anger issues hit someone, no…  but because their beloved show was in jeopardy? No, but because Jeremy Clarkson was punished. Punished. Adhereing to the age old lesson we should have all learned as children, but few want to be reminded of: Actions have consequences. Even for bullys like Clarkson.

What is truly sickening, is that a online petition instantly sprung up gaining  hundreds of thousand signatures from all over the world demanding that the BBC reinstate Mr Clarkson, whom it is important to note, has been completely mum on the subject. No public apology, no explanation, nothing. Just a few pithy jokes to the paparazzi on how he will be heading to the job centre looking for work. Real nice. I get that people like their show and want it to continue, and perhaps if Mr Clarkson showed even the slightest hint of contrition, other than what his actions meant to something other than his career prospects, I might be persuaded to join in the mourning. Maybe for a minute. But not here.  What is the odd phenomenon about a British accent? I for one, as sick and tired of the U.K. dumping its nastiest personalities – think Simon Cowell,Gordon Ramsey and Naomi Campbell for starters – on us, and we Americans find it “charming”. Who cares that these “personalities” are belittling, bullying and saying shit you wouldn’t tolerate from your next door neighbor, but spoken with an English accent, and we American idiots go all gooey inside. ” Sounds just like Downton Abbey, doesn’t it?” That is, what I suspect is the case with Jeremy Clarkson. He can tear into a Nissan Atima, and people think he is purring about the latest Aston.

The newest reports indicate that Clarkson’s on screen team mates, the affable Richard Hammond, and the dowdy James May are saying that they will not continue without him. Never mind that reports indicating that they had to hold Clarkson back during the fracas ( the BBC’s term for the incident), ignoring what everyone knows about bullys – no one is safe. Somewhere, sometime, they will turn on you. but I get solidarity. To me this reads that they have seen the writing on the wall, and for public sake, they are going to go down together. Remember, Clarkson wasn’t suspended without pay, we are talking about a very spoiled multi-millionaire here, as are his co-workers who have already anchored some very successful other shows, so no biggie if this is the end. And let’s face it, it isn’t the end for Clarkson either. People like him don’t just go away. We find his particular type of bullying ” charming”. And he will put that bitter tongued, acid wit to use somehow before too long. But what people are forgetting, is that he attacked someone. And not just with words, physically. It is a crime and it deserves punishment, not petitions. The BBC did the right thing, suspending their money maker – it is estimated that the first week of the suspension of airing the show they lost 4 million viewers in that time slot. I’d like to see Bravo or Fox do that. You can’t escape the fact that what the BBC did wasn’t brave, it was “right”. So Kudos to them. What disheartens me is the abject willingness for everyone to gloss over this man’s alleged actions. Let the BBC do an investigation, let the proper authorities take action, and then deal with the results. A petition from automotive enthusiasts is not only premature, but it is inappropriate at best. To me, it is a list of shame.

The Vehiclist

 

CAMO G

I know….   but I adore camo,

 

The Vehiclist

Lost Angel

 

Los Angeles is a city, where what you drive says as much about you as what you do, what you wear, where you live, or who you fuck. It is also a city that holds the old corporate work adage, ” dress for the job you want, not the job you have” to an automotive standard. I was thinking about this the other night while following a brand new Chrysler 200 heading West on Santa Monica Blvd out of Beverly Hills.

It is, to be sure, a very attractive car. Some might even call it pretty. In my estimation, it looks better from any of the usual rear angles, as the front leaves me a bit …meh. The front is fine, inoffensive, but basically boring. The interior – at least in the more upscale trim levels is nice, if not a bit overly swoopy for my tastes. It still screams all american, both inside and out, and to a lot of people, that is not a bad thing. So all together, not a bad car. And in every respect, a huge, almost unquantifiable improvement of the last generation.  But still, as we both drove into the purple LA night, I couldn’t help but wonder why we didn’t see more of these in Los Angeles.

I have no idea, but I suppose the car is a relative hit for the company – how could it not be? But here, in La La Land, I just don’t think it has legs. In a city where everyone expects their car to say something, what does this car say? I asked a friend who recently had one as a rental in Detroit – talk about the perfect ride in the right city, and he sort of shrugged, “Eh – it was fine”.  Not exactly unbridled enthusiasm. When pressed, he said it was nice. Now this was not a car guy, so maybe he wasn’t the most in touch with his automotive desires. Another friend at a dinner party looked perplexed when I brought the 200 up. This was a car guy. ” Why would anyone drive that? There are so many better other choices.” Notice he didn’t say there were better cars – there are – but in Los Angeles, the car you chose has to have meaning. Any meaning.  And perhaps that is why this vehicle just hasn’t caught on here. To most people, the Chrysler 200 is strictly a rental – something you drive when in the fly over states. ” I had one in Chicago,” he said. ” It was alright”.

In Los Angeles, a city where everyone strives to get, to be or to have better, “alright” just doesn’t cut it. As we both approached the 405 I passed the 200 for a final look. It was a rental. The driver was frantically searching the windshield attached Garmin to see which way to go on the highway. Another lost car in the City of Angels.

The Vehiclist

 

happy happy, merry merry

Happy Holidays, Dear readers

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