June 11, 2005

Oxford Brookes & Jeremy Clarkson

Writing about web page http://www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/760722683

Oxford Brookes proposes to give Jeremy Clarkson a honourary degree.

I was an engineer for over twenty years and greatly resent the image of engineering promoted by the likes of Clarkson. He hasn’t got the slightest idea of putting technology in its social and natural context. For him it’s all about helping people consume more junk.

I believe universities should have three aims, the advancement of knowledge, the communication of knowledge and the application of knowledge for the benefit of society. People should be given honourary degrees as recognition of the contribution they have made in one or more of those areas. Can we be surprised that young people are put off science and technology?


- 14 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. How on earth have you managed to get from Clarkson to people being put off science and technology? Most honary degree are given out with very little to do with what they have done. They're all to do with raising profile of the university and the degree. Clarkson may not be an engineer but has certainly raised the profile of it's appreciation.

    As for this petition, I think it's a complete farce that people are signing it based on the fact that they think that he is satan to the environment and that he is a serious threat to the environment, when they are wasting their time signing it rather than doing something to help the environment themselves. In the process they are using a computer which in 10 years time will be on a scrap heap, using electricity which I'll presume isn't created by pedal power and countless other things whcih if they actually give a damm they would sort out before jumping on the bandwagon.

    11 Jun 2005, 11:17

  2. Publicising the petition is helping the environment because it's raising awareness of how much damage the "I'll do what I like who cares about the environment" viewpoint does. The more names collected the more of an issue it will become. The more people are aware of the issues the more likely that both government and industry will change their attitude to the environment.

    There's also the point of universities devaluing degrees by handing out honourary degrees like confetti.

    11 Jun 2005, 12:16

  3. Chris May

    I thought Clarkson's bid for Brunell to be voted 'greatest Britton' (or whatever it was) was pretty cool, and showed another side of him. If you didn't see it (It was a 60 minute documentary on the achievements of IKB and the social context in which they were made), you're possibly misjudging him on the basis of his 'top gear' persona.

    11 Jun 2005, 19:59

  4. The petition will do nothing to really raise the issue. Clarkson isn't the real problem, blocking the degree won't get rid of him or solve the problem that is at it's heart. The only issue it raises is that some people don't agree with his personality displayed on Top Grear. It just looks like yet another petty attack on him, not on his views. He put's across a valid view point which is shared by others. He doesn't care if he get's the degree or not, all the petition does is trivialise a serious issue.

    11 Jun 2005, 21:56

  5. Since the Brunel programme, Clarkson has consistently writen/presented newspaper, magazine and TV articles talking in very accessible language about the scale of achievement of many iconic engineering designs. Honorary degrees have been awarded to all sorts of strange personalities.

    11 Jun 2005, 23:04

  6. Chris May:
    True I didn't see that programme. Would Brunel, if he were alive today had supported Clarkson's views on the Environment? Given the weight of scientific opinion about climate change?

    Colin Paterson:
    The issue of to whom a university grants honourary degrees is a valid subject of public debate. To be aware of a proposed award and to decide not contest it, would be a passive endorsement

    Simon Young:
    What articles? Doubtless the chattering classes think he is the face of engineering. When a journo took me as some sort of Clarkson lover on hearing that I was an engineer from the Midlands, I was grossly insulted. Especially when the motoring journos at the time were indulging in one of their periodic hate campaigns against cyclists

    "They have already taken over a third of the roads with their green tarmac cycle lanes. Now the Lycra Nazis want to take over the whole lot! And they still don't pay a penny for going on the roads which the poor old motorists pay through the nose for… The proposed new legislation is the sort of thing that would sound like a great idea at an Islington New Labour luvvie dinner party, where everyone has arrived on a bicycle… Cyclists and ramblers already have 27,000 miles of bridleways and public footpaths. Roads only cover two per cent of the country and now they want a slice of that too. Well, they can get lost."
    – Jeremy Clarkson, The Sun. link

    A third of the roads with their green tarmac cycle lanes?
    Nazis? What a trivialisation of the millions exterminated during the Second World War
    Roads paid for by motorists? Like smokers pay for the NHS
    If people left their cars at home now and again and travelled on more efficient means of transport there wouldn't the be congestion that there is.

    12 Jun 2005, 23:09

  7. See link

    According to the Oxford Brookes university "We are giving Jeremy Clarkson an honorary degree in recognition of his enthusiasm and contribution to engineering and motor sports."

    Those whom the Gods wish to destroy first make them mad.

    25 Jun 2005, 23:16

  8. dan kaplan

    I disagree with your comment about clarkson putting young people off science at technology. What puts people off science and technology is the fact that is is looked upon as a dull inaccessible subject that is about as much fun at a tabasco enema. Clarkson is the face of engeneering that people can relate to and see that engineering isn't just something done by middle aged men who like to go hiking and listen to obscure jazz. He makes engineering accessible and easy to get to grips with. So what if he doesn't go into much depth on the subject. He catches people's interest and if you want to attract people to the field than that to me is the best way to do it. No offence intended but what put's people off science and tech is that it is some elitist.
    clarkson is a good man, and i'm proud that brookes gave him an honarary degree (i'm currently studying for my batchelors in computer science at brookes)

    17 Oct 2005, 02:05

  9. Clarkson is a middle aged man pretending to be 10 years old.
    He wrote:

    Jeremy Clarkson. The Sun. London (UK): Jul 16, 2005. pg. 33

    Copyright (c) News Group Newspapers Limited 2005

    IN the wake of the London bombs we're told that many commuters are now
    switching to bicycles.

    This is great of course. On a bicycle, you don't have to sit next to a
    lunatic, you won't be glued to your seat by a piece of chewing gum, and
    you will not be stopped by leaves on the line or industrial action.

    However, can I offer five handy hints to those setting out on a bike for
    the first time.

    Do not cruise through red lights. Because if I'm coming the other way, I
    will run you down, for fun.

    Do not pull up at junctions in front of a line of traffic. Because if I'm
    behind you, I will set off at normal speed and you will be crushed under
    my wheels.

    Do not wear lycra shorts unless you are Kate Moss. I do not wish to cruise
    down the road looking at your meat and two veg.

    Do not, ever, swear at or curse people in cars or trucks. You are a guest
    on roads that are paid for by motorists so if we cut you up, shut up.

    Do not wear a helmet. It makes you look ridiculous.

    Clarkson believes people who cycle are sub-humans, it doesn't matter if they are killed or injured. And the end result of car-dependence… rocketing obesity levels, congestion, air pollution, thousands of people killed every year by cars (e.g. 41 pedestrians were killed on pavements by motoristss in 2003)

    17 Oct 2005, 10:53

  10. dan kaplan

    Ok fair enough you might not agree with what clarkson says. But in today's politically correct society you must admit it's refreshing to see someone who says what he feels, rather than saying something that'll make him look good.
    my respect for clarkson, as i'm sure is the case for many clarkson fans, stems from 2 areas. Firstly clarkson is a man who honestly says what he thinks in today's current culture of pollitical correctness. Secondly He has great enthuseasm for engineering and motoring, something else that is rarely seen nowdays.

    As for the end results, they are problems, but i feel you're making clarkson the scapegoat here. So he promotes car use, at the end of the day the choice still rests with the consumer on whether to get a car or not.
    Although cars do contribute to obesity, i believe it's in a very minor way. much more important factors are bad diet, bad parenting and lack of television

    19 Oct 2005, 14:23

  11. Call it political correctness, call it over-sensitivity, but as a cyclist I object to journalists encouraging people to run me over.

    I don't run red lights, but I do think the death penalty for those who do is rather over the top.

    19 Oct 2005, 15:42

  12. Anonymous

    Where is this pedestal? Why is Clarkson being elevated to a level beyond the parameters of his career? It really is a question I couldn't possibly tackle. But I've heard and read too many childish comments about the mental well–being of Top Gear fans to allow this to continue. The man is a journalist. His purpose in life is to write about cars and have motoring enthusiasts read his articles and watch his programme. He's no more important than you or me, yet he's made out to be this grand individual with mindless followers that do whatever he tells them to do. If you don't like Clarkson, stop putting him in the headlines with so many petitions and 'anti–Clarkson' movements. I watch Top Gear religiously, but I don't speed, or run over cyclists, and I certainly don't have a grudge against the environment. Clarkson's comments are meant to be taken light–heartedly, no matter how controversial they may seem, it's clear he's simply trying to be funny in a very specific way.
    I sympathise with cyclists and other 'victims' of Clarkson comments, but it is crucial that you all understand that he is an automotive journalist and nothing more.

    26 May 2006, 04:00

  13. Ed

    dan kaplan – Surely, the protesters who 'pied' Clarkson were simply enthusiastic about something (the environment) – the very thing you said you hav"respect" for Clarkson for doing?

    Yes, journalists may try to be funny, write about issues they are passionate about etc – but there must be limits.

    Being racist is going too far. Encouraging the anti–cyclist thought in people is too far. Trying to tell readers that motorists pay too much to drive on the roads, and that cyclists should either pay too or get out of the way of everyone in cars is too far.

    24 Jun 2006, 20:22

  14. anonymous

    i am doing an engineering course at current, as i want to be a car designer/design engineer. Guess what encouraged me, Top Gear. So all this about him putting people off is rubbish. Oh and the main reason science is not chosen is because most of the time its incredibly dull. also yes the environment is imoportant and Clarkson is a bit outragous, bit so is some of the stuff that people are saying about how the planets going to explode.

    16 Nov 2006, 20:26


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