Monday, September 19, 2005

One in the eye for sensible debate

For this blog at least, it was too delicious, though on reflection there are some ramifications that make it less so.

I opened my Sunday paper to find that a person of green persuasion had decided to seek out  a right wing celebrity commentator and register disapproval of his less than 'mentlaist-friendly opinions in the time-honoured, some would say almost obligatory, fashion: a custard pie to the face.

But good lord above, if Jeremy Clarkson didn't exist, they’d have to invent him. Come to that, if the less chilled side of the environmentalist movement didn't exist, he'd have to invent them. I have a conspiracy theory revolving around this very notion if you'll bear with me.

In this particular case it all went to plan. She was suitably messianic in her conviction that she represented all good folks, and got in a few fun facts about where he was going wrong, it being a democracy, with free speech and all, custard pie excepted. He was as gracious as anyone can be when they have to fork out a few quid for dry cleaning secure in the knowledge that they've been delivered a few more years' worth of free publicity and boosted readership. 

I could be convinced that in fact Jeremy is in fact in total cahoots with them, such is the regularity with which he delivers ammunition to inspire their baking squad, and to which they allow their soufflés to inevitably rise. And it's here that it, or rather I, get serious. 

As is to be hoped with the bizarre family in the first episode of 'No waste like home', he is often so grotesque in his views, those of a more fence-straddling bent may actually fall over to the other side in response. And if that were the case I'd say it was a work of genius on someone’s part. Publicity (and there's no such thing as bad..) for the green movement, ratings for Jezza (and there's nothing like a big bad rating.. or is that bad big rating) and maybe the great ‘getting on with our lives’ brigade register enough to be a little more eco. 

Trouble is, he often goes and spoils it by being a pretty insightful journalist at the same time, making a whole lot of sense about a whole lot on waffle and garbage that gets inflicted upon us. I’m afraid to say that in winning hearts and minds I think I know who is gaining some covert nods. Neither side make me feel they speak for me, but getting nanny’d and scolded and guilt tripped about trying to get through the day is not putting me very onside.

It is sad, because is trying to succeed by walking a middle ground. But it is proving so difficult. And one reason is glaringly obvious, and that is to engage any form of media coverage one has to be a bit extreme. I guess I could work with that. But I worry that in doing so I join a very exclusive club, with as its priority an agenda that is highly self-serving. And in so doing we cease to possess the right, or indeed chance, to make an impression with the vast majority who are trying to do their best for the planet by just living their lives in the most optimal manner given the circumstances.