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Page 1 of 6 Jeremy Clarkson 'crass and revolting', says Will Self

Will Self has described Jeremy Clarkson's behaviour as "crass and revolting" and put the presenter's success down to his ability to personify Britain's great mass of "privileged pricks".

In the novelist's column for the New Statesman. he explains why he thinks Clarkson is the "archetypal middle-aged, middle-class, white British man".

Self, whose books include How the Dead Live and The Butt, praises Clarkson's "witty and well written" newspaper columns, as well as his "distinctly engaging" on-screen persona.However, he appears appalled by the presenter's history of political incorrectness.

"As for the weird racist dog-whistle Clarkson has blown repeatedly over the years, well, words fail me: this behaviour is so unbelievably crass and revolting, it calls into question all our assumptions about what it is to be a Briton in the 21st century," writes Self.

"I say 'a Briton', but what I mean is that moiety of modern Britons who find in Clarkson, whether willingly or with revulsion,

aspects of ourselves writ large. Very large."

Self describes the presenter as the "John Bull de nos jours" and claims his success as a journalist and TV presenter is "almost wholly a function of this capacity he has to personify a great, indigo-legged mass of privileged pricks, many of whom labour under the delusion, as Clarkson does, that they’re an embattled minority".

In our "fervid nightmares", Clarkson is "the Little Englander who smirks at us from behind his vast leylandii hedge", claims Self.

The novelist questions if anyone was surprised to discover that Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May had signed a deal with Amazon for a new motoring show following their Top Gear departure.

"I wasn't," he writes. "After all, they've driven cars in some of the most exotic and inhospitable environments on earth. After that, the cruise up the broad brown concourse of Jeff Bezos's back passage was always going to be (as Clarkson might well put it) a doddle."

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