When columnists go bad

It’s a wonder sometimes why some bloggers hold journalists to such high standards. Quite often what appears in our newspapers is ripped entirely from press releases, or is poorly researched. Case in point are the two columns by Jeremy Clarkson and India Knight in last week’s Sunday Times (I’ve been away, catching up on my blogging!)

Jeremy Clarkson may be a funny guy, but is he a little thick? In Biggles, you’re a crashing bore he says,

Then you have to spend more months learning how to use a radio. Why? I know already. You just stab away at various buttons until someone comes over the speaker. Then you tell him what you want.

Oh no you don’t. You have to talk in a stupid code, saying “over” when you’ve finished speaking for the moment and “out” when you’ve finished altogether. Why? When I ring the plumber or the local Indian restaurant, I am able to convey the nature of my request perfectly well using English. So why when I’m in a plane do I have to talk in gibberish?

“Hello, it’s Jeremy. Is it all right to land?” is a much easier way of saying, “Weston Tower, this is Charlie Victor Tango on 8453.113 requesting a westerly approach to runway 27.”

That’s not sarcastic and witty. That’s plain dumb.

On the same page India Knight states that many people suffering from allergies and food intolerances really don’t have allergies at all and are simply rude. Try telling that to me after I’ve had a cheese covered pizza.

Millions of people have imaginary allergies and food intolerances, according to a survey last week. Many of them have diagnosed themselves online; one in 50 says they only noticed their “problem” when a friend had similar symptoms; and 39% of people questioned think it is “trendy” to claim a food allergy. Twelve million people claim to suffer from allergy or intolerance, of which less than a quarter are medically diagnosed.

The mind boggles. I love cheese and milk. I would love nothing better than to drink a cool glass of milk with a spicy curry, or homemade brown bread with a thick slice of cheese on top. It’s not bloody trendy to have a stuffed up nose and phlemmy throat a few hours later. Poor Ms. Knight lives in a very black and white world.

Good to know I’m not the only one to think this way about India Knight’s article. Actually, India Knight was never good so she couldn’t go bad. At least Clarkson’s articles are mildly entertaining!


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5 thoughts on “When columnists go bad


  1. Tell me about it! I’ve given up reading weekly columns in the newspapers I read; quite a few are laden with this kind of poorly-researched opinion masquerading as fact. The crap in the Observer mags are a prime example.

    (–from a fellow lactose-intolerance-sufferer)


  2. Funnily enough, when Clarkson’s column was discussed on PPRUNE*, some of the pilots there actually thought he had something of a point, if a little OTT. Civil aviation in the UK is highly regulated, more so than in the USA.

    James May, Clarkson’s fellow presenter on Top Gear, is a private pilot in the UK, and flew a small plane across the whole of France in one of their “races” – which makes this article look to me at another episode of collegial ribbing, at least partly. Not to be taken too seriously.

    *Professional Pilots’ Rumour Network: thread at http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=293403

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