Sunday, September 19, 2010

I must be getting more right wing,

(just pause and contemplate that for a second) because I really don't like QI any more.

Yes, it's often funny. It's certainly what the English call "clever", but it's just so much a product of smug British elite liberalism that it's almost painfully embarrassing to watch. It's almost a kind of trite parody of that self-enclosed world of London's leading "brights", all busy congratulating each other and demonstrating every time they open their mouths how little they know outside their own shrinking sphere.

Stephen Fry really disgraced himself this week with his bigotry and stupidity, his ignorance and intolerance. And I'm disappointed. His good humour, his courtesy and his likeableness have vanished behind a sneer and a spray of vitriol, and I am left wondering what on earth has happened to the man.

Everyone says he's terribly intelligent. He's supposed to be one of Britain's "leading intellectuals". But I think what is meant is that he is Britain's leading TV intellectual. Which means, in practice, that there is a vast gulf between "clever" and "intelligent". And I think we've seen that difference thrown into sharp contrast this week.

I used to like him. And I'm still a huge fan of his portrayal of Jeeves. I liked him in Peter's Friends, and a few of the other things I've seen him in. I really enjoyed his book about poetry, and agreed with him wholeheartedly that the technical aspects of poetry need to be preserved in schools and taught properly. I felt terribly badly for him when he went through his difficulties and I've made a point of praying for him sometimes. But my admiration for him has been draining away steadily over the last couple of years.

I read a novel of his once, and found it loathesome. Just stupid and filthy.

But it has been his jumping on the Cool Kids' bandwagon against the Church that has really disappointed me. I had hoped he would be a temperate and intelligent voice on the other side. That he would give a nod to natural justice and take the trouble of looking things up in his criticism. I would have expected at least as much responsible comment from him as I get from someone like, say, John Allen, a man who at least takes the trouble to understand what he is writing about.

But he's just become another idiot anti-Catholic ranter. A "hater," in fact. A bigot. And I'm so disappointed. I just can't say.