Thursday, 1 December 2011
Jeremy Clarkson, Littlewoods and the professional complainer
"they should all be taken out and executed."
Was the comment that was made by Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC last night in reference to the public sector workers who had gone out on strike. A comment which has until now attracted over 4769 complaints to the BBC on the basis that people were offended by it.
There can surely be no doubt that Clarkson made the comment tongue in cheek, and that no-one surely believes that someone would advocate people actually being executed on prime time television.
It seems that complaining about things on television has become a bit of a trend, and the feeling I get is that often people will complain about something they’ve never actually seen, but that they feel they wish to complain about anyway.
I can’t help wondering how many people actually herd Clarkson’s comment first hand and complained based on what they’d heard at the time, and how many complained after they heard that people were complaining about the fuss that had been caused and decided to just add their name to the list of complaints.
Another prime example of this has beenthe Littlewoods Christmas advert, which shows a group of children singing on stage about all the presents under the tree and how they have all been provided by "my lovely mother," with no reference anywhere to Santa.
This advert has generated several hundred complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority on the basis that it ruins the magic of Christmas for children.
If something is genuinely offensive and you have witnessed it first hand then of course I can see the motivation to complain – that’s what the regulatory bodies are there for after all. But complaining simply because you wish to become a part of a trend/want to jump on the particular bandwagon just seems like madness to me. After all if you really don’t like someone that much (and I have no doubt that many people will have complained purely on the basis they don’t like Jeremy Clarkson as an individual), then you always have the option to switch off the television or watch something else.
As for the Littlewoods advert, while it is, in my opinion, a pretty awful advert which clearly depicts the level of consumerism that appears to be the expectation these days, complaining that it essentially ruins the magic of Christmas for our children because it shows the presents as having been brought by mother instead of delivered by Santa is just completely irrational.
After all a child could just as easily find out in the playground that Santa isn’t real – would a parent see fit to go into the school and complain then?
It’s fairly simple really – if you don’t want your children watching adverts (and I can see why people don’t want children watching adverts) then turn off the television during the ad breaks or invest in a recordable sky or freeview box.
But you can’t realistically expect a regulator to take you seriously when you complain about an advert which is actually truthful i.e. which shows that the presents under the tree aren’t really delivered by Santa.