Today Jeremy Clarkson was suspended from the BBC show Top Gear for allegedly landing a blow on his producer’s head (over an argument about food). As per the use of the word ‘allegedly’, whether or not Clarkson’s blow actually landed is still a matter of dispute, but unfortunately of no dispute by 10 o’clock this evening was the fact that a secondary blow was ruinously received as a consequence of the fracas – by civil society, right in the larynx. Leaping to Clarkson’s defence, bar-room bores, home-counties boors and tedious rightwingers up and down the land piled onto Change.org to get the BBC to ‘bring back Clarkson’.
This is something new. We are witnessing before our very eyes the growth of the petition as yet further space in which to cause egregious offence. What’s next? “We want society to recognise the word nigger as an actual word beneath the phrase ‘the n-word'”? (i.e. surreptitiously getting the n-word onto a public platform so that you can actually see it and hear it self-announced in your own head.) “Gay marriage is great. We welcome the fact that gays can now marry – but we want a qualification, namely that they can only get married to themselves so that they don’t spread”?
No. No platform for offensive petitions. As it happens, the solution to the hijacking of progressive platforms by rightwing interference is something we’ve been quietly working on for the last year. We’re calling it BRAIN ZERO, and there’ll be much on this in the coming weeks. In the meantime go and find yourself a properly worthy petition as a conduit for your hard work to make the world a better place.