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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
For most of Top Gear's six million viewers the show is not really about cars at all. (We make tea during the technical blah.) Top Gear is about laughing, hard and long at three boy-men performing dangerous (in a carefully calibrated way), stupid, childish stunts like turning an MG midget into a yacht. Those who witter on that Clarkson driving a Lagonda too fast over the Alps encourages speeding or joyriding, or claim this petrol-headed insanity defies serious attempts to halt global warming, haven't watched Top Gear this century. It is not about the coolness of driving, but the manifest uncoolness of men who enjoy it too much.
Indeed Top Gear has become a societal safety valve: they drive lorries through brick walls, send a Robin Reliant into space, sip gin and tonic at the wheel or just go full throttle on an empty road, because we shouldn't or can't. It celebrates recklessness, a nose-thumbing at public bossiness or health & safety dictats, the schoolboyish impulse to shove fingers in sockets. Every time it snows and my son's school keeps children indoors in case anyone slips, whenever the binmen shove a card through my door chiding me for leaving a tin can in with the bottles or a passport controller tells me to carry my kids' birth certificates to prove I'm not a child trafficker, I too come over all Top Gear.