The UK Daily Mail has chosen Stephen Fry as its current arch fiend . Fry along with Richard Dawkins and 50 odd others put their names to a letter suggesting that a State visit (paid by the UK) might be inappropriate considering the Pope’s stance on condoms, gays and covering up paedophile scandals and so on.
This, according to the Mail was a gross discourtesy extended by ‘smug’ and “˜right-on’ ‘exhibitionists’. When confronted with many opposite comments from supporters of the letter the newspaper closed its comments section and published an intriguing rant by Peter Hitchens (Yes! The brother of famed atheist Hitch22) who took great delight in a highly personal slice and dice.Â Attacking Fry would have to be one of the easiest jobs on the planet as no one attacks Fry like Fry attacks Fry himself. There’s little need to dig up any dirt on him as Stephen has already dug it up, poured it over his own head and ordered more.
1.Â Â Â Â Fry is not brainy enough. He seems brainy but he really isn’t as brainy as really brainy people.
2.Â Â Â Â He is not Oscar Wilde
3.Â Â Â Â Or P.G. Wodehouse
4.Â Â Â Â His Jeeves and Wooster tv show wasn’t as good as the one with Dennis Price .
5.Â Â Â Â He hasn’t got a clear policy on Cuba
It’sÂ true that Stephen Fry does set himself up as a brainy dude and enjoys spouting little known facts especially on his show which is all about that sort of thing. But he’d be the first to admit he’s no Stephen Hawking or even Richard Dawkins. Instead he’s created a cosy intellectual niche for himself as a stuffy but affable television classics master type. This is his schtick and I doubt that even he takes it that seriously. It’s also true that he’s not Oscar Wilde although he did play him in a movie. Many people are not Oscar Wilde in fact arguably only Oscar Wilde is or was Oscar Wilde. The same applies to P.G.Wodehouse who Peter Hitchens points out gave his seal of approval to the Dennis Price and Ian Carmichael “˜Jeeves and Wooster’ tv show. I’m not sure about this but it is entirely possible that being dead might have inhibited the great man in blessing the Fry and Laurie version.
Fry’s lack of a policy on Cuba is clearly a problem but I’m sure given a few sheets of paper and half an hour he could knock something up which would at least get a pass.
For my own part I admit to not being a “˜one eyed’ Stephen Fry fan. Fry dislikes those who poo-poo upper class nobs poncing about in striped blazers and sipping Pimms. He says it’s similar (the reverse) to mocking those less fortunate. I’d dispute this by saying it’s always fair and perhaps essential to poke fun at the upper classes. They call the shots and have all the money. Poking fun at those less advantaged than oneself has to be something quite different. I also tire of his chronic banging on about his riches even if it is bookended with apologies for the same.
However one must realise that given enough time Stephen Fry will talk write and ramble on about anything and everything and that being the case it is entirely reasonable that every now and again he’ll say something that is disagreeable to someone or other. The beauty of Fry though is he tries very hard not to be disagreeable. This is such a rare thing that it’s worth capturing in a net and pinning on a board in a museum. It’s this niceness and sense of reason that makes him such a wide target for his detractors. He won’t come after you with a big knife. Instead as in this case he’ll proudly display a badge (button) on his website saying “˜hated by the Daily Mail’ and leave it at that.