'Top Gear' Host, Lightning Rod Jeremy Clarkson Turns 54
Some say he's a curmudgeonly un-PC writer who should hang up his hosting duties…And that he's the star out of a trio of hosts on the most popular motoring show on TV…All we know is that it's Jeremy Clarkson's 54th birthday. If you recognize how that introduction was formatted, you are among those who both love and loathe the infamous presenter and writer. Clarkson is written about, spoken about, made fun of, and defended for his bad behavior, in manner more akin to the treatment we reserve for politicians, rock stars or Popes. We cling to his every word, and make memes of his spectacularly witty quips. We cringe when he shows his human failings. He is ultimately worshiped like no other figure in the automotive world outside of a select few in motorsports.
Clarkson is as famous on the TV screen as he is off. Thanks to a television hosting history going back to the late 1980's, ‘Jezza’ (as he’s known) is famous world wide. Combine fame with an outspoken personality and numerous scandals and public spats with famous figures, and you have the making of a star. Albeit, an unconventional one, but a true celebrity nonetheless.
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Of course, most of his fame is related to his hosting and writing duties for Top Gear, which has been on TV since 1988, aside from a short break from 2000-2002. Here is one of the funnier segments from the motoring show:
Jeremy forms part of the Top Gear trio whose antics keep viewers both amused and annoyed, but also interested in cars. That's the most important thing about Mr.Clarkson. It's what he's done to get the average person thinking a bit more deeply and critically about cars, all the while being entertained through his TV programs. Both the BBC and the auto industry owe him much.
While he does have a passion for new, luxo barges like the Bugatti Veyron as well as sports cars, he's also possessed cars the average viewer might buy. Among the collection of vehicles in his garage, past or present, are a Volvo XC90, a Volkswagen Scirocco, and a Honda CR-X. He also owns a Ford GT supercar, and (my favorite), a Mercedes Benz 600 Grosser (like the one in the video below). The 600 is a huge luxury limousine suited to 3rd world dictators, rock stars, heads of state, and Jeremy Clarkson's huge persona and ego.
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While Clarkson has done much for us auto enthusiasts, he's also had more than his fair share of scandals both car-related and not. He's been accused of racism a few times, and is currently embroiled in a lawsuit for his use of the word "slope," in Season 21 of Top Gear.
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Jezza tends to make accusations worse by being flippant about situations in which he finds himself, or behaving in a manner that comes across as brazenly digging himself a hole. He just does not care what the rest of the world thinks about his politics, his cars, his views on life, or his private life. Being a fan of Clarkson is accepting the fact that he's out and about publicly with mistresses past and present. It's accepting that whatever goes on in his life is between him and his family, even if he does make a public and legal spectacle about it. It's knowing that for every offensive remark he'll make, he'll also be your hero in telling Piers Morgan to sod off.
At age 54, Jezza continues to find equilibrium, then smash it. He bores, then surprises, and continues to be relentless in pursuing his interests. Whether those interests come with wings, wheels or feet. His contract with Top Gear ends in 2015. Do I see him retiring any time soon? Absolutely not. Even if there is the remote chance he does step away from the financial behemoth that Top Gear has become, Clarkson will always find a way to get his outspoken views out to the public via 140 characters at a time on Twitter, books, or lengthier articles.
Long may he reign. Happy birthday, Mr. Clarkson.
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