Having never seen the vastly popular BBC television car programme Top Gear, I have no idea if what follows is standard behaviour, but Zef just sent me through a recap of last night's episode, and my Lord, if it isn't very racist and unfunny and just plain creepy. Or, as Zef has it, "weirdly relentless and calculated".
The set up was a picture of an orange car, apparently Mexican in origin, which was introduced as "the tortilla," to a braying laughter from the all-white studio audience.
"Why would you want a Mexican car?" demands co-presenter Richard Hammond. "Cars reflect national characteristics don't they, so German cars are very well built and ruthlessly efficient, Italian cars are a bit flamboyant and quick. A Mexican car's just going to be a lazy, feckless, flatulent [they've mixed the laughter very loud over this bit so it's uncertain, but it sounds like he says "overdose tw*t"]... leaning against a fence asleep, looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle of it as a coat."
"Ha ha ha!" says everybody present.
They then go on to insult Mexico's national cuisine, referring to it as "refried sick with cheese on it," to more teary-eyed braying from the studio audience.
"I'm sorry but just imagine waking up and remembering you're Mexican," drones Hammond a little later.
"It would be brilliant," pipes in Jeremy Clarkson, cheerily, "because you could just go straight back to sleep again! That's why we're not going to get any complaints about this, 'cos the Mexican Embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this [pretends to be asleep]. They wont complain."
Predictably enough, it transpires that Jeremy Clarkson has a well documented hatred of Mexicans. In a blog on the Top Gear site published in 2009, he blames the world economic crisis on "some Mexican bloke [who] woke up one morning and thought, “Shit. I can’t afford my mortgage any more.”"
"Thanks to the bone-idle Mexican who borrowed half a mill to buy a stupid prefab house, the whole world has had it," he writes. "The only solution, so far as I can see is to bomb, immediately and extensively, the whole of Mexico."
EDIT: According to Reuters,
"Mexico’s ambassador in London has written a furious letter to BBC bosses to complain about “offensive and xenophobic” comments made by presenters of the popular TV motoring show “Top Gear”.
Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora was infuriated by “insults” made by presenters Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May during Sunday’s episode of the cult show, which has been sold to television channels around the world.
“Why would you want a Mexican car? Because cars reflect national characteristics don’t they?,” said Hammond as they discussed the Mexican sports car, the Mastretta.
“Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat.”
The trio then described Mexican food as “refried sick” before suggesting Mexicans spent all day asleep.
“That’s why we won’t get any complaints about this because at the Mexican embassy the ambassador’s going to be sitting there with a remote control like this,” said Clarkson, pretending to slump in a chair, snoring."