|I Love Stephen Fry
||[Oct. 21st, 2009|03:19 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Honestly, I didn't know much about Stephen Fry before I started following him on Twitter. I'd heard of Fry & Laurie, of course, but mostly because of Laurie's newfound popularity on his own TV show. My sole exposure to British comedy as a child was Monty Python. The length and breadth of what's considered "British comedy" was lost on me for decades, honestly. And BBC America's appalling editing practices have only encouraged me to continue to keep my eyes shut to it.
I still follow Fry on Twitter, unlike many others whom I have unfollowed (and how long before "unfollowed" makes it into the dictionary? I'm willing to lay odds...), because he is articulate and funny. I do NOT follow him because I want him to think for me.
It turns out that nearly 900,000 people follow Fry, presumably for their own reasons, some of which may align with my own, while others clearly do not. And he's written an interesting essay about it, and about occasionally being an ass who speaks before he thinks.
Like Fry, my parents periodically lamented to me, "You don't THINK!" I suspect it offended my Mother all the MORE when I did stupid things because I was a smart and sensible youth. The subtext was, "You are better than that" and my response to this refrain has always been lacking.
In his essay, Fry explains something inappropriate that he said:
The more probable explanation is that, as my father and squadrons of school teachers correctly reminded me throughout my childhood and youth, "Stephen just doesn't think."But I must say, that his analysis of his own issue is beautifully presented and I can think of no better way to explain my own lapses in judgment than with his comment:
[...] I cannot keep my mouth shut. If a joke or a neat phrase or an apparently convincing rhetorical trope or apt simile occur to me they will emerge from my mouth without passing Think. As Scalzi said when he linked to this essay (which is how I discovered it), "Yes. That."
I recommend reading the entire essay. It is worth the time. Quite thought-provoking.