My UK readers will be aware that Jeremy Clarkson has been all over the news this week. For the benefit of the non-Brits (by the way, welcome to my reader(s) in Antigua!), Jeremy Clarkson is a very well known, well loved TV presenter over here. Jeremy presents Top Gear - one of our most popular TV programmes, and one of our most lucrative exports.
Last week Jeremy got into a brawl with his producer in a hotel in Yorkshire because, allegedly, his producer had the nerve to produce a plate of cold meat and cheese for his dinner instead of the steak he'd asked for. As a result the BBC have suspended all showings of Top Gear and Jeremy is under investigation and will, despite huge popular support, probably lose his job.
I took one look at Jeremy's florid complexion, puffy jowls, confused and depressed expression and thought "ladies - he's one of us." Some commentators claim that he'd spent 'several hours in the pub' prior to the brawl, some that he didn't drink at all. His boss has muttered (on the record) about re-hab. It looks to me (and this is purely speculation, and not in any way an accusation) like a classic case of alcohol induced rage. Either rage due to too much alcohol or too little...
We've all been there, haven't we? Many times I've picked a fight with the poor, longsuffering husband when he's got back from work and I've been (secretly) 2/3 of a bottle down. I've slammed cupboard doors passive aggressively and considered hurling a wooden spoon across the kitchen as a result of some (imagined) slight. Jeremy, allegedly, called his producer a 'lazy, Irish ****' and punched him in the face - splitting his lip. I never went that far. Apart from anything else, my husband isn't Irish.
Professor McMurran - a psychologist at Nottingham University - says that alcohol "narrows our focus of attention and gives us tunnel vision....If someone provokes us while we're drunk, we don't take other factors into account, such as the consequences of rising to the bait. This can lead to violent reactions from people who would usually shrug things off." Also, because alcohol lowers inhibitions our warning systems don't go off and "this can put us in dangerous or confrontational situations."
The Prof goes on to say that alcohol affects the way we process information so we are more likely to misinterpret information - to see insults where there are none. That's why so many fights start "because he looked at me the wrong way."
When I was in the high powered job (with the bar in the office), I remember having two large glasses of wine with a colleague at lunch. When I got back to my desk I found an e-mail from a very important, global client asking for a number of changes to the edit of the new TV commercial we'd just shot. I fired off a reply in (drunken) high umbrage, calling him a Neanderthal nincompoop who was obviously unable to appreciate a work of true artistic genius. This e-mail became famous and made me a heroine in the creative department, but it got me fired off the business and could easily have lost me my job.
Funnily enough, since giving up the booze I've not picked one fight. I've been - relatively - Zen. I am a thing of wondrous calm and serenity.
So I look at lovely, raddled, remorseful Jeremy and think: log on to www.mummywasasecretdrinker.blogspot.com Jezza, and we'll give you a big virtual hug and persuade you of the magical restorative powers of hot chocolate.
Love, peace and calm to you all X
Related post: Alcohol Induced Rage Part 2