The surprise here isn’t former Top Gear host went after sixteen-year-old environmental scold Greta Thunberg. Jeremy Clarkson ripped her in a scathing op-ed back in September when the then-climate-change skeptic called her UN speech “an adolescent meltdown,” and referred to her as a “spoilt brat.”
The surprise here is more the timing. These days, Clarkson has begun to embrace the climate-change argument as he does public relations for his new Amazon Prime television series The Grand Tour. In this same interview on Australian television, Clarkson related how a trip to Cambodia began to change his mind after seeing what he says is the effects of global warming.
When the presenter asks him whether he’s now aligning himself with Thunberg, however, Clarkson vociferously rejects her brand of activism. Clarkson calls her “mad and dangerous” and advising her to “go back to school and shut up”:
The 59-year-old was promoting the latest season of his motoring series Grand Tour when he spoke about the Swedish teen.
He said: “She’s mad and she’s dangerous and she’s causing young children sleepless nights with her idiocy.
“No, I think she needs to go back to school and shut up.”
Clarkson holds a bit of a grudge against Thunberg, whom he blames for killing the car-show genre, although it still seems to be in pretty decent shape in the US. Last week he was still railing on Thunberg as a “stupid idiot” and “a weird Swede with a bad temper,” which isn’t exactly a calm and intellectual rebuttal either. Even if one tends to think of Thunberg in the same terms, Chris Packham’s riposte before this interview that Clarkson comes across as “an unpleasant arse” in his feud with Thunberg might not be completely inaccurate.
Of course, it doesn’t help that global-warming activists and the media are treating Thunberg as a one-girl children’s crusade, either. Thunberg finally made it to Spain yesterday after a three-week voyage on a catamaran back to Europe to tardily attend a climate-change conference, garnering a deluge of admiring media coverage that evinces almost no objectivity whatsoever. Clarkson may be “an unpleasant arse,” but he’s nearly alone in the media in pointing out that the catamaran voyage is a pointless public-relations stunt, considering the environmental costs of its manufacture and maintenance, and the fact that teams of people had to cross the Atlantic by plane in order to support her no-planes travel planning.
Thunberg makes a very convenient hysteric for activists because of her age and her even-younger appearance. It allows them to paint her critics as heartless attackers of youth, even when the criticism isn’t as personal as Clarkson makes it. Thunberg’s being used, but she’s not experienced enough to know it, just as teens routinely get used to promote the politics of adults by all across the political spectrum. Most of them don’t get used to this extent, however, or put in this much danger — such as taking a catamaran across the Atlantic in November. Even if Thunberg is not a “stupid idiot,” the people around her seem “mad and dangerous.” And yes, rather than call school strikes, Thunberg would profit far more by going back to school and removing herself as a human shield for the adult activists who are exploiting her.
By the way, how long before the cancel-culture vultures start petitioning for Amazon Prime to cancel The Grand Tour?