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back to article Mexico demands apology for Top Gear outrage

Mexico's ambassador to Britain has fired off a letter to the BBC demanding an apology for the antics of its Top Gear presenters, Reuters reports. In a studio discussion of the comparative merits of sports cars from Germany, Italy and Mexico, Richard Hammond suggested they reflect the national characteristics of their makers. …

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Ru
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Heart

A common confusion...

Actual Mexican food is quite dissimilar from 'Tex-Mex', a meat'n'carbtastic US product which is what most people seem to think of as Mexican. Sick and cheese is not an unreasonable description of that, I guess. Funny thing about food in relatively poor countries; it isn't wall-to-wall ground beef, because most citizens just can't afford it.

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Never been there myself

But my father worked in Mexico quite a bit and always told me that out of all the places he had been in the world (quite a few as he was an engineer who was sent to install hardware at sites in a different country every week for more than 30 years), their food was the worst he had ever encountered. This was in 'real' Mexico too, not the tourist towns. Apaprently a cheap hotel he was staying in served chilli soup at breakfast, which he described as just stupidly hot chilli sauce mixed with warm water.

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I've only been to Tijuana

which, as a tourist town, I would expect to be a bit more Western mainstream (not that it really bothers me much), but the food in the markets really didn't make my hangover any better.

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Anonymous Coward

In the Yucatan

I found the market stall fare to be pretty tasty in the Yucatan. Still enchiladas and refried beans on the whole mind, but without cheese and with fish on the menu too. Don't know if it might be because of that region's traditional closer links to the motherland or not. Hop on a bus and go a bit further south though and you're into Belize which is worlds apart. Lobster curry, yum!

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@Oliver Mayes

Sure, if your dad stayed at a cheap hotel in a small town, I would also expect crappy cuisine. The poor man's version of Mexican food is pretty crappy by Mexican standards, especially the "soup" which is basically water with a couple of peas.

The best food you'll find will be in either Central Mexico or the Southeast (Yucatán Peninsula); Northern Mexico's food will be good, but it probably will look more US-ish. Oh, and BTW, nothern states don't eat much tacos, and are the ones that actually make burritos.

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Grenade

Thats the point dude.

In Italy good and bad food does not depend on the prices on the menu, this means that even in the cheapest restaurants you can find culinary jewels. This goes even more so on small "poor" towns, and yes there are poor town in Italy.

In England of course, food is kind of gray everywhere no matter the conditions, not bad, not good just meh.

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Anonymous Coward

Weren't the ambassadors from Germany and Italy insulted, too?

Or did they have better things to do than watch Top Gear?

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Alert

Hmmm...

I can't decide whether Jeremy and chums ought to slightly tone down their derogatory descriptions of other groups of people or nations, or whether said subjects should get a life and quit moaning when, at the end of the day, it is nothing more than harmless comedy banter...

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Ok then....

Let's see if I can get past the moderatrix with this next message....

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Joke

Invective

ici.chacal is a ignorant lazy waste of space who probably won't complain about this message because the word "ignorant" has so many letters he won't be able to read past it. And his cooking tastes like dining out off the refuse of a paper factory.

Now, if this makes it through the mods and you get to read this, do you feel it is acceptable under the label "banter"...? Particularly given that I don't know you -- is it ever really possible to give a gentle ribbing to someone you've never met?

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Tone it down? Why?

They're equal-opportunity instigators with choice words for the skills and habits of the residents of nearly every country in the world. The only countries that they've discussed that they seem to have anything resembling respect for the populations of seem to be Iceland and Finland. They've even insulted Lichtenstein and they probably spent all of an hour there. I mean, who the hell *bothers* to insult Lichtenstein unless there's a particular unilateral agendum to do so?

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Not quite..

I see the point you're trying to make, but there is one small difference. A 'personal' attack is never accepted - where you specifically target an individual or tiny group. A generalised insult to a wider group, because there's no direct attack, is an accepted form of comedy.

Now if a Mexican TV show described the British as "Lazy, yobish chavs who just race Vauxhall Nova's round a Tesco car park, smacked up on crack and Special Brew"... Would you demand an apology? Or would you just chuckle and agree, knowing that they just played on a stereotype in jest?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Not quite..

>A generalised insult to a wider group, because there's no direct attack, is an accepted form of comedy.

Mmm. Not always, if you think about it. Plenty generalised insults to wider groups made here don't get past moderation.

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Grenade

Maybe but...

But what gets accepted and rejected I suspect is based on whatever is the current social taboo which changes over time.

So if it a negative commant about people of the Jewish faith, muslims or gays, then you can expect your comment to be excised.

Insults about the Irish, Scots, Welsh, Brits in general, "yoof", Members of Parliament, rich people and personal attacks on Lindsey Lohan are pretty much fair game.

Apart from Lindsey Lohan (who deserves all the crap she gets), they are all generalisations about a group. It's either right to criticize a group in general terms or not. I don't see the distinction.

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Bad

Even as a politically incorrect viewer, I was rather taken aback by the Mexico outburst. And what's almost as bad, it wasn't remotely funny, and terribly rehearsed. Jezza's humour is often great, especially in his books, but it let him down here.

I have been to Mexico and like it very much indeed. A bit short on British restaurants though. Funny we have plenty of Mexican outlets here.

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Stop

@Jim 59

Really? You were taken aback? By Jezza's humour? The majority was said by Hammond, the food criticisms were by May - Clarkson barely said a word other than repeating the "sleep a lot" bit.

The bandwagon can currently be found outside the Daily Mail's office, maybe you should go there and complain about Speedy Gonzales - something which apparently is quite popular in Mexico. Meanwhile I'll be complaining about the Austin Powers movies.

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Go

Agree entirely

I love Top Gear. I love the humour and that it can get away with being politically incorrect, but I was very uncomfortable with the Mexico comments.

Jokes about Germany invading Poland or lorry drivers murdering prostitutes benefited from being clearly intended to be humour and from containing a small grain of truth.

Mexico on the other hand came across as abuse rather than humour (my interpretation, perhaps) and as wholly untrue.

Maybe they were just trying too hard to be funny. Perhaps the format is getting stale, after all.

I was also curious as to what the car was actually like - let's face it, there's enough batshit crazy startups out there that manage to build highly entertaining (in one way or another) cars that there's no good reason why this should be any different.

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Coat

British cuisine???

I didn't know one could put the words British and restaurant in the same sentence.. ;)

Mine's the one with the salsa stains

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Bod
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British cuisine

Most dishes in (British based) Indian restaurants are British cuisine (bearing little resemblance to real food in India).

Chicken Tikka Masala is indeed our top dish.

We should have curry chefs representing our country and not mockney muppets like Jamie Oliver.

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Headmaster

British Cuisine?

Sorry. Only France has Cuisine. Britain has cooking.

You'll be saying America has cuisine next.

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@Annihilator

"The bandwagon can currently be found outside the Daily Mail's office, maybe you should go there and complain about Speedy Gonzales - something which apparently is quite popular in Mexico."

Don't know about Speedy Gonzales, but Speedy Gonzalez isn't "popular" in the way you might think; it has its fair share of criticism for being a corny stereotype of Mexicans as seen by "Gringos" similar to the black aboriginals with a bone in their hair of 40's animation.

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Coat

Ding!

I'll let you know just as soon as I've checked on what's in the microwave.

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MGJ

Gringos

That's right, because all white folk sing 'Green Grow The Rashes O'; not a lazy racial stereotype at all...

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Headmaster

American Cuisine

"You'll be saying America has cuisine next."

Well, since French is an official language of Canada, they must have cuisine as well. And since Canada is part of the North American continent...

Furthermore, even if we accept your vulgar abbreviation for the United States of America (proper abbreviation USA), you should know that there are regions of the USA where French is the first language of many if not most of the residents (some parts of Loiusiana, nothern Maine, et al.) So based on the language argument, we do indeed have cuisine here.

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Anonymous Coward

Cuisine?

No, We southern north american's (USA people) don't have Cuisine or Cooking. We have Fixin's. Sort of like cooking, but often we forget the heat part.

Now the northern north american's (Canadian people) have some Cuisine mixed with Cooking. I really don't have an opinion on that.

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WTF?

Mexican restaurants in UK?

Name three places in the UK where you can get pollo con mole poblano and I might believe that there are lots of Mexican outlets there.

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Put a sock in it

you over-sensitive weenie. You must be French and not American. Americans can take a punch like that and roll with their British cousins.

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Joke

Actually the food stateside is quite good....

.... as long as you stick to decent Mexican places like Frontera Grill....

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FAIL

@Annihilator

"The bandwagon can currently be found outside the Daily Mail's office, maybe you should go there and complain about Speedy Gonzales"

Go to the Daily Mail to complain about racial stereotyping or the Top Gear presenters being bigots? You are joking aren't you? It seems like your opinion is the one that's far more likely to be represented by that rag of a newspaper, they'd happily have Clarkson's bowel movements on a plinth in the editors office if he'd send it to them and casual racism is practically corporate policy.

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Joke

Re: Cuisine

"You'll be saying America has cuisine next."

You insult us, sir! Where would the world be without the cheeseburger, I ask you?

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Grenade

@Knox

You are an idiot. This is a British Website, and over here the abbreviation for your poxy country is "America". Get over it..

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Go

Jezza

Clarkson writes the script for Top Gear. Whoever spoke the words, he wrote them. Hence my calling it "Jezza's humour". And that bandwagon is outside the Guardian office, not the Daily Mail.

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The only thing that's lazy...

...is the Top Gear script writing. It's starting to get faded and tired now.

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Badgers

Hmmm

Part of me thinks that the lads have once again been numpties in their estimation of how funny those remarks are, but a greater part of me suspects that even complaining about them is to mistake them as mattering. I mean, the only way those comments could be a serious issue would be if someone watching the program took them seriously as a statement of fact about Mexico - and if you have a viewing population treating everything they see on Top Gear as fact, there are bigger issues than the specifics of what Clarkson & co actually say...

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Re Hmmm

I dunno... Top Gear seems to win a lot of awards for being the Best Factual Show! Maybe a lot of people do take it as gospel...

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Badgers

Yeah, but check what other shows share that dubious honour with it

Well, I take your point to a certain extent, but then you pop along to http://www.nationaltvawards.com/past-winners and see that recent award-winning "Factual shows" have included Loose Women, GMTV, Big Brother and Wife Swap. At which point I conclude that someone organising the awards has confused "factual" with "non-scripted".

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Paris Hilton

Non-scripted?

Top Gear?

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Coat

... and if they don't get one ?

What then?

Will they release a book ?

'I'm the Real José Stigmanosa' ?

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Anonymous Coward

Those characteristics are still better than

Being a mid-life-crisis attached to an arsehole, aren't they mr hammond?

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as for Jeremy..

..doesn't even have the mid-life crisis attached....

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The Mash did this better

http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/arts-%26-entertainment/sorry%11o-dagoes%2c-says-hammond-201102023504/

"...Hammond should have said a Mexican car would be full of cocaine and you would eventually find bits of it hanging from a bridge"

Priceless

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Go

I saw that!

The rotten brown-tooth dissing the greasy beaner. Colonial trash just looooove it.

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What?

What is the matter with us? It sometimes seems we are a nation of insecure, ignorant twunts. We slight other nationalities at the drop of a hat. It's always quite awkward and embarrassing when some guy starts ranting about "cheese eating surrender monkeys" (yeah like Napolean) or fat Germans (look who's talking about being fat).

As far as "it's only entertainment and humour" goes, is the BNP writing their scripts? Can they not afford to hire funny people?

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Cheese eating surrender monkeys

Napoleon was Corsican

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Corsica...

Napoleon Buonaparte was born one year after Corsica was signed over to France by the republic of Genoa. So he was technically French, as well as being Corsican.

And his army had a hell of a lot of people from the mainland in it, too.

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WTF?

Entertainment...

It's all intended comedy... And "political correctness" is ruining so many things...

Clarkson and co insult each other far more than they insult other countries, and it's quite obvious to anyone watching that it's all intended as a joke.

It's people who take offence at what is clearly a joke who are are insecure and ignorant.

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Anonymous Coward

Yeah, they've been great but...

... don't you think they look tired?

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Paris Hilton

It really doesn't matter

James May once called Top Gear a sitcom. And so it is. It involves expensive cars and cheap sets. The presenters, while then may know a little about cars, seem to be employed as comedians.

So if Top Gears opinion really does matter to any external country or government then they are giving that opinion far more credence that it really deserves.

Do they take Tom & Jerry's opinion so seriously?

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Sitcom.

usually known as Last Of The Summer Petrol.

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Chalk one up to the "crossed a line" category

I'm generally happy to be amused by their blathering, on the understanding that I'm supposed to be laughing as much at the hosts being stupid as laughing along with anything they said. But the Mexican thing was a bit much - I remember thinking "er..." at the time. Perhaps if it was a one-liner rather than a full conversation. I trust they'll end up going there and finding they actually like the place after all.

True, anyone taking serious offence is probably having a sense of humour failure, but the same could be said of the lads for spouting it in the first place. There's a difference between a racist joke (for which I hope most, these days, laugh at the stereotype and the people saying it rather than at the actual people of the race in question) and just having a rant. Still, I hope this doesn't blow up more than necessary - TG is amusing, in its place.

It's not like it purports to be factual. I'm beginning to worry about some of the blatant nonsense spouted by QI.

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