First, there was the You Tube non-apology of an apology for the non-offence of an offence (…word I was extremely keen to avoid…I mumbled where the word occurred…realized I’d actually used the word I was trying to obscure…please be assured I did everything in my power not to use that word’)
Second, there was the column in the Sun in which Clarkson criticised the BBC for making him issue the aforementioned apology of a non-apology which they had done ‘very firmly’ before going on to state his defence: ‘Apologising for using the n-word would be the same as apologising for starting the war in Syria. It’s something I hadn’t done.’
And then the columnists kicked in responding on strict party lines. Either the apology was totally insufficient or there had been no need for an apology in the first place. All were agreed that the apology itself was a clunker. Caitlin Moran saying it had ‘all the logic of mad noodles.’
This was in part because Clarkson had been told to do so by the BBC. The make an odd couple. Clarkson is in many respects the antithesis of his employer yet he is at the epicentre of its most successful programme (a global audience of 350 million – profits zoning in on a £100 million). They are like a married couple who have created a multi-million pound business together and in the process come to loathe each other yet their love of the money ensures they stick together, both aware the business would flounder were they to separate. Clarkson needs the BBC to give him respectability; the BBC needs Clarkson to give them popularity. They are co-dependent.
The Sun, meanwhile, is Clarkson’s ‘favourite watering hole’, the place he goes to talk ‘plain common sense’, and, generally slag off the missus. It was no surprise therefore that safely ensconced up at the bar, sitting on the stool with his name engraved upon it, a large glass of red to hand, he should start banging on about, rather aptly, being in the last chance saloon…and having been placed there despite not having done anything wrong…it’s political correctness gone mad…now whose round is it?
It was as if he was saying, ‘I only pleaded guilty, Your Honour, because my brief told me to, Your Honour, I never did nothing, now can we get on with the trial, please.’ This line of argument becomes ever more frequent as the apologies multiply. And boy are they multiplying. The more people apologise in public, the more it is perceived to be the correct thing to do, the more public apologies are demanded by employers of their employees and so on and so sorry. We have a cycle of apologies and an increasing number of them are fakes. The apology has become like Rolex. A brand where the genuine article is very hard to find.