Thursday, 17 September 2009
CELEBRITY chef and ballroom dance botherer James Martin has incurred the wrath of cycling enthusiasts this week after alleging to have driven some off the road in a car test in the Daily Mail.
Martin apologised a couple days later after an online and twitter campaign from the great and the good of the two wheel world where even the chef's wikipedia entry was hacked none to sympathetically. Leading the charge with a display of Alexander Pope-like wit was triple Olympic champion and Tour de France hero Bradley Wiggins whose Twitter feed was at times a tour de force in spleen venting, 'James Martin TV chef, The word cock springs to mind, stick to Ready Steady Twat mate,' was perhaps the most sophisticated offering.
However what lay at the heart of Martin's terrible piece was an obvious ambition to become the next Jeremy Clarkson. He described cyclists as Harriet Harman voting herbal tea drinking hippies dressed like Spiderman in a piece that was less Gonzo journalism and more Gonzo from the Muppets.
No, really, all these tired cliches stacked up and hubris lay thick on the floor.
So not only is he guilty of not knowing the British electoral system (do they all really live in Harriet Harman's constituency?) but also of mistaking all cyclists as trendy lefties and then advocating that the retired Smedlington-Smees from Mail land do the same.
He was guilty of a crassly simplistic journalistic contraction: of contrasting polarised elements of the story by tying together the supposed green, eco credentials of the Tesla electric car with running green, eco warrior cyclists off the road. It was in his mind populist subversive irony. Just, not done very well.
But his ultimate journalistic sin is in providing a tired and testy retread of the work of another pantomime dame motoring hack as boneheaded as himself. It also illustrates the growing narrowness of commentary in a national press where everything has begun to ape itself.
It's what happens when you give a civilian to do a journalist's work.
Anyway, what is a chef doing vacuous journalism for? You'd never get journalist writing vacuously about food... ah, ummmm.