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.



Sue Sims said...

I'm sure you've read The Screwtape Letters: do you recall Lewis's comments on flippancy? I agree with you totally about Fry and the whole culture: no arguments, only abuse from the thickos and ironic little sneers from the 'intellectuals'.

Toorriley said...

Might we hope and pray that Mr. Fry ultimately finds his way as did his hero, Oscar Wilde?

Anagnostis said...

It's nothing to do with being "right wing". I agree with every word of the above, and I'm not "right wing" in a single bone of my body. Fry is the thick person's intellectual. We only differ insofar as I spotted it far earlier than you - about ten years ago, in fact, when he reviewed something on Evelyn Waugh, remarking how "surprising" and unusual it was that a reactionary conservative could also be an acute and effective satirist. Presumably he'd never heard of Swift, or Pope.

Andrew Cusack said...

Peter Hitchens described Mr. Fry as "A stupid person's idea of what an intelligent person is like."

There's some accuracy in that.

Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

I have a "soft place" in my heart for St. some things; I really do like him in "Kingdom" or whatever it's called on PBS (here in America)...
Jesus, give him Your grace and mercy!
As for the Nuns and their "cream cakes"'s like the Irish priest who used to say Mass here once in a while (God rest his soul!)...told us once day that heaven was like a Brandy Manhattan...I turned to the Br. next me and said, "It better be the hell better than that, or I'm outta here...!":<)!

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Toorriley , I still have hopes.

Anonymous said...

How repulsive. As an American, watching that clip makes me think, "Is Prince Philip the only heterosexual left in England?"

D Cummings McLean said...

Interestingly, Stephen Fry was a celibate for a very long time. In recent years, he is openly not. And he has recently broken up with his boyfriend for a younger model.

I'm disappointed, too. He seemed so civilised. Of course, so too did Oscar wilde, and the description of him in (atheist) A.S. Byatt's "The Children's Book" can only horrify.

DP said...

"Is Prince Philip the only heterosexual left in England?"

Despair not. Things are bad, but not that bad. I'm reminded of the female French minister-of-some-sort who championed the superiority of French men as lovers by saying that 50% of American, British and German men are gay.

One wag responded by saying the figures were too high for Americans, about right for the British and far too low for the Germans.

DP said...

I'm not going to bother watching it. It was interesting that even the American network news radio descriptions of the protests found them slightly repulsive.

In the main, I rather liked Fry's "Making History," if for nothing else than the recognition that things can always be worse.

Paulinus said...

I thought David Mitchell gave a rather sly sideswipe ("All these bitter atheists") Seemed to go right over Fry's head, confirming that he's a bit blinded by his bigotry.

Sean Locke was born in 1963 and preparing for Holy Communion about 1970. The nuns were getting into slacks by then. I never heard a nun speak that way and I was taught by Irish nuns at about the same time. He's a liar.

Martial Artist said...

Miss White,

A reply to your comment concerning Stephen Fry that "(h)is 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."

I am afraid I must agree with the observations about Mr. Fry from Moretben, above. Almost from the first time I saw him on the telly other than in the Wodehouse series as Jeeves, I have sensed about him that the "good humour, courtesy and likeableness" were a veneer behind which his bigotry and intolerance were, at least to the degree of which Fry was capable, disguised.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

Ingemar said...

Oh come on! Fry is gay, so by default he's tolerant and open minded. [/sarcasm]

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Actually, I also appreciated David Mitchell's comment. But I thought Stephen Fry looked completely shocked that anyone would give anything but the standard response. I quite enjoy David Mitchell's soapbox pieces on Youtube. A thoughtful liberal is hard to come by these days in the old Metrop.

Anonymous said...

"Is Prince Philip the only heterosexual left in England?"

I really did LOL!

Anonymous said...

I too, really liked Fry's book on poetry, which I bought after you blogged about it. So yes, it's a disappointment...

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