On a lighter note: European eclipse was portent of change and fracas (Updated)

by | Mar 20, 2015 | On a Lighter Note, Science, Seradata News | 0 comments

An eclipse of the Sun occurred on the morning of 20 March 2015 which was visible as a 100% total eclipse for those eclipse changers who braved the cold and the polar bears in Svalbard, west of Norway. There was even an 84% partial eclipse visible in Southern England, or would have been if the clouds had parted.

Eclipses, of course, have long been associated with major changes and even war.  And they make some worry a little too much.

While the London Evening standard splashed an “eclipse smile” on the front of its paper, it reported inside that one primary school killjoy headmaster had actually banned his pupils from even trying to see it. So was his move done for “health and safety”, after all those pupils tempted to stare at the sun directly could have damaged their retinas?  Well, actually no. Bizarrely, he banned the kids from seeing lest any of those that were religious were upset.

The Evening Standard story is here: http://www.standard.co.uk/news/education/pupils-at-london-primary-school-banned-from-looking-at-eclipse-for-religious-reasons-10122282.html

Hmmm…while some do ascribe an astrological significance to eclipses, there is no contemporary religion that actually bans viewing them (though the wiser priests and religious types advise doing so only with special safety glasses or via a projection method).

This particular eclipse was apparently a portent of career change for one Jeremy Clarkson, the famously and controversially non-politically correct presenter of the BBC’s automobile-centred television entertainment show “Top Gear” which has been successfully exported to terrestrial and satellite television stations around world.

Clarkson’s career at the BBC was finally ended after he was allegedly involved in a “fracas” – the BBC’s wording here – between himself and his producer.

The “Top Gear” show, which was mainly devised by Clarkson, and presented by himself, James May and Richard Hammond, usually involved various races, amusing interviews, anecdotes and stunts (sometimes involving poetic licence). The stunts included the famous one in which the team attempted to launch a Robin Reliant as a sort of mock Space Shuttle.

While he was not universally loved, and one who became a hate figure of the political left, Clarkson received the support of over one million people who signed a petition demanding that he be kept on.

Comment by David Todd:  He probably had to go given the apparent offence.  However, it is especially sad that Jeremy Clarkson was allegedly involved in an incident involving bullying and violence. In fact, Clarkson was normally a refreshing antidote to the often censorious and self-righteous bullying perpetrated by those trying to force their ideas of extreme political correctness onto others.

One other thing: the word “fracas” as used by the BBC during his departure is a quaint and underused word for a rowdy fight and one that is often amusingly misunderstood. This exchange once purportedly happened in a US law court and it still makes one smile like the partially-eclipsed Sun. 🙂

LAWYER: “Tell us about the fight.”
WITNESS: “I didn’t see no fight.”
LAWYER: “Well, tell us what you did see.”
WITNESS: “I went to a dance at the Turner house, and as the men swung around and changed partners, they would slap each other, and one fellow hit harder than the other one liked, and so the other one hit back and somebody pulled a knife and a rifle that had been hidden under a bed, and the air was filled with yelling and smoke and bullets.”
LAWYER: “You, too were shot in the fracas?”
WITNESS: “No sir, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel.”


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