The Lads from Top Gear. . .

So I ran across a reference today to the lads from Top Gear taking a trip through Alabama.

In particular, I heard that they were, at one point, under gunfire.

I thought to myself "damn, that's unfortunate." I like Top Gear, the boys are cheerful gearheads, with little respect for established conventions and an unmatched love for the automobile and the speed that each and every one represents.

They race things that should never be raced and the results are always awesome. Where else can you find a Lotus and a Combat Helicopter playing tag on a runway?

However, after doing some digging and finding the segment in question, I'd say that the lads went cracked, or ran out of ideas. First off, they made the transition from gearheads to imitators of the show Jackass. Then, when the shit that they had heaved towards the fan actually made contact, they became the biggest bunch of pussies ever.

They had rocks thrown at their cars, and it made them flee in a panic. The quotable quotes are worth isolating:

"They could have killed us!"

With a few rocks? Really? This isn't ancient Israel, it's not like they were trying to stone you to death. Exactly how thin is your skin? If you're that vulnerable to violence, why were you driving anywhere with your cars decked out to incite anger in the first place? Plus, just about every small town has a few high school baseball and football stars still sitting around--if they'd be aiming to hit you as opposed to your P.O.S. truck, you'd probably have fewer dents and a lot more broken windows and bruised heads.

And "I really think in certain parts of this country people have started to mate with vegetables."

Which I find fantastic. First off, the educated among us automatically assume he was trying to say "animals" and it was a simple malapropism. Surely no-one trying to assert their own intellectual superiority would do so by making a joke which has as a punchline a scientific impossibility? Secondly, I wonder at the reaction if they'd decided to paint their van with "Man-U sucks and their fans are all faggots!" and circled the stadium at the end of a game in their own backyard? Would they really see a more civilized response from their own countrymen?

People are people. Everyone has buttons that can be pressed. Shocking that at 40+, the Lads still find this a relatively interesting phenomenon. Growing up in a place where we were expected to gentleman up (and mind our Sirs and Ma'ams, even to those we disliked) my experience is that plenty of the south learned those lessons before we left high school. Sure, we've got our violent yokels just like everywhere else, but what is so special about that?

Here's hoping that in their future work they leave the passive-aggressive comedy and incitation to violence to Borat and Jackass, and stick to what they are good at: Cars.

Thursday, January 01, 2009