Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why I’m sick of Stephen Fry

The Digital Britain conference ended with a speech from Stephen Fry. The Digital Britain report has a quote from Stephen Fry. Why Fry? Why has he become the touchstone for technical advice? Because he uses Twitter. That’s about it folks.

Well not quite. Those civil servants love meeting celebs, especially posh, foppish, Oxbridge, Footlights celebs, as it doesn’t make them feel grubby. He’s one of them. There’s no other group in the world that would see a fat, ugly, posh bloke in a bad suit as a role model. Actually, there is another group – TV types. He’s loved by Luvvies. Public broadcasting loves the ‘Fry’. He’s appeals perfectly to the Archers listening, Middle-England audience, who need to have gay issues and other risqué topics mediated by one of their own in that annoying 50s BBC English voice

I also hate the quiz show QI (is that the most patronising title for an entertainment show ever?), with the smug Alan Davies et al playing around with puns in that sneering, pseudo-intellectual style, so beloved of Radio 4 listeners. The tour of the US in a London Cab was pathetic, a truly patronising piece of junk. All of those bit parts in third rate British movies and now the awful Kingdom – a drama about a lawyer (compelling idea eh?). Then there’s that pathetic letter he wrote to himself, pretending to be some sort of modern Voltaire.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate Stephen Fry, it’s the idea of Stephen Fry and his sycophantic audience I dislike. What, in the end, is Stephen Fry? He’s a TV presenter and bit actor who’s written some pot-boiler paperbacks. A National Treasure they say, one I’d like to bury.

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Anonymous Andy Tedd said...

Damn wish I'd read this one before the Martha one. Nutmeg in your coffee today Donald? ;-)

To be fair, Melchett shows he is self-aware and Wilde was bloody good.

With this and the MLF one, its the people picking them or their quotes that need to feel the lash of your tongue more than the person who was picked.

Still, a good rant is always amusing


9:43 PM  
Blogger Chris Allan said...

Got to disagree with you this time. Sure the American travalogue was week but his books are great. His Film (Bright Young Things) overlooked and his abilities as a comedian and actor are difficult to fault.
Sure I find some of his podcasts self centred ramblings but his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses.
I read your blogs rgularly but this time I think you're just a bit out of line.

9:58 PM  
Blogger Francis said...

I think his interest in technology goes further than Twitter. He's obsessed with gadgets. I read...well started to read.. a piece on the evolution of his use of the pda that went on for pages.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you that Fry's having been co-opted to the technosphere glitterati (techglit?) seems largely predicated on pre-existing mindshare (everyone knows who Stephen Fry is) rather than any significant expertise, but I think the tone of this post is rather mean. So okay, in 'cyberspace' (ugh), unless you are already somewhat famous then probably no-one will hear you tweet, but that's how fame works - whether you like it or not.

I'm not a luvvie, I don't listen to the Archers and I sure as hell don't represent Middle England; quite like QI though.

As I'm told they say in analysis, "what are you really angry about?"

6:11 AM  
Blogger Rob Spence said...

You don't hate Fry, but you'd like to bury him? Hmmm. I really don't think I'd want to be anyone you *did* hate.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Donald,

I'm tending to agreeing with Andy & Chris here.

Next, you'll be telling us you don't like The Now Show?


8:36 AM  
Anonymous bWare said...

Whilst we are all fed-up with the cult of celebrity. Fry has more then twitter to his name when it comes to technological credibility.

That 50s BBC English voice also worked superbly in LittleBigPlanet.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...


2:23 PM  
Blogger Kim Thomas said...

Well, I'm with you all the way on Martha Lane Fox but criticise Stephen Fry at your peril! I have never met anyone who didn't like Stephen Fry before, so I don't know where to begin to defend him.

I think I'm going to have to go and have a lie down to recover from the shock.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Mark Frank said...

What group in the world would dismiss a clever, witty bloke from being a role model because they are fat, ugly, posh and wear bad suits?

5:11 PM  
Blogger Bingo said...

Wow! With that level of vitriol leveled at somebody (I'm guessing) you've never met I guess you can now call yourself a Blogger (the capital "B" is important apparently).

Not sure if Stephen Fry was the absolute best person to address the conference but he was far from the worst choice they could have made. For what it's worth the technorati (not just the suits) consider him a pretty good advocate for all things "Digital Britain", he's on the ball with most of the current issues and has some well thought out opinions on the subject. He was far from a safe option from a political perspective if his views on file sharing, internet neutrality and internet censorship are anything to go by.

And the jibes about his appearance? Really? Body fascism is and ugly trait and not one I'd expect from you.

Not a rant that does you justice I'm afraid Donald. Looking forward to a return form in the near future.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

Having minor celebrities pontificate on important political initiatives is not something I applaud.

It's OK for these sneering TV presenters to comment on the ugliness and low education achievement of Wayne Rooney (Fry did this on QI) but it's not OK to do the same to posh blokes!

Call me old fashioned but I like the idea of meritocratic progress. I don't see the point of having Fry and Lane-Fox meddle in government policy.

Let me explain why. The Digital Britain report is hugely skewed towards TV and Radio. It's as if the internet was merely a medium for the expansion of old media. This view is common in government who fawn over minor celebs and don't know enough about technology to see past their own 'Radio 4' media habits.

I've never met Fry but I do seem to be paying for his hundreds of appearances on TV, so feel happy to criticise his appearances and role in tax funded activities like Digital Britain.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Kim Thomas said...

Well, I'd just add that Fry is a well-known technophile of longstanding. (He was apparently the second person in the country to own an Apple mac - the first being Douglas Adams.) His technology columns for The Guardian show that he knows what he's talking about. And he's clever and articulate, and most people seem to like him, so that's probably good enough for me.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Rob Alton said...

Time to start posting on Pop Bitch Donald.

9:36 AM  
Blogger PlusMan said...

This is the same arsehole Fry who is a patron of an HIV charity in Manchester.

Despite attempting to reach him to assist in addressing mismanagement and worse at the charity, the obnoxious Establishment-loving c**t (his choice of c**t in self-description) has ignored matters and even blocked approaches via Twitter.

Meantime beneficiaries of this so-called 'charity' continue to suffer discrimination and stigma.

Good on you Stephen!

6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oiiiii, Martin O'Neill.

Found this post when googling "stephen fry is a twat".

Have to say, don't hate the bloke, but do find the wall to wall coverage of him quite tedious.

His recent interview in The Chap magazine proved what a stroppy twat he can be.

Polymath my arse.


Mother Teressa's daughter.

PS. His books are shite too; just like that dickhead Alexi Sayle's.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous City of Vice said...

Well said Donald! I share your sentiments about Fry almost to the letter.I don't hate the guy -actually he seems like a nice bloke - I just can't bear watching or listening to him - way too luvvy, bordering on smug. Fry was good as Jeeves though, possibly because the Jeeves character was a slightly condescending, smug individual..

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon Gray's book 'Fat Chance' is interesting on the subject of Mr Fry. He claims to be a manic depressive. Raging narcissist more like, but he knows he's less likely to get sympathy coming out as a narcissist.

I don't hate him either. He's just a fat fraud.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Clee said...

As ever, the sycophantic fans rush to protect their idiotic idol


4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

COMPLETELY AGREE with Donald. Hah, I also found this post googling "stephen fry is annoying"

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree, good article. You were bang on the money when you mentioned sycophantic fans. OK, he's been pushed and pushed by TV, and allied himself with something a lot of people find fatuous, but his pseudy fans are the fucking worst.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I similarly came across this blog searching for "Stephen Fry is a twat." to assure myself that I wasn't an unreasonable misanthrope for disliking the guy. Glad to see I'm not alone. I certainly don't doubt the knowledge and intelligence of the man but does that really make him vox populi on all matters intellectual? I think not.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God there are others who feel the same as me. I just can't get through to people that Fry is an elitist self-regarding prat. His so-called intellectulaism is pablum. And does anyone else find Fry's suppository, Alan Davies, increasingly irritating. His career highlight is Jonathan Creek, which makes Heartbeat look like The Wire.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Niall said...

I agree completely. Great post but you didn't go far enough. I remember his comments on the Mp's expenses in England was "It's not that important, it really isn't."

Typical middle class fool living in his own world as the media's darling.

Do if i care i thought he might have had aids once? No! I have equally troubling false alarms through my life. I can't stand the man.

A likeable Boris in the eyes of many, in my eyes they are one and the same and shows the huge division, both socially and academically , between "classes" in England.

3:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could be constructive, but I think you haven't made any real points, just opinionated remarks.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

Thanks for your opinionated remark - anonymous indeed.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Antti said...

Yes - like so many of the others I found this while searching for 'Stephen Fry Twat' on google. And like many of the other posts I have no real issue with him as an individual - though he is starting to grate more and more as time goes by - but can't bear the sycophantic love-in which seems to occur whenever he is on the radio. Having seen him in 'real life' in an unscripted quiz, he certainly is not the polymath he is made out to be on TV. Despite his apparent sensitivity to criticism, a few bangs on the head with a metaphorical pig's bladder might wake him up a bit.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer Coffey said...

I find him tender-hearted and forgiving of almost everyone but himself, a man whose occasional bursts of self-loathing feel authentic and sympathetic.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

Mmmmm....each to his or her own but why shove his sainthood down my throat via the licence fee that I pay. Genuine talent seems to get squeezed out by sycophancy towards these posh blokes.

9:50 PM  
Blogger adj moaning former liberal said...

nice to see other people who don't lick Mr Frys balls
you might like my new blog

11:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've just found this blog and I'm so f*cking happy that I'm not the only one who hates Fry. He's nothing more than a stupid person's idea of a clever person. His arrogance is overwhelming and his hypocrisy on many subjects is conveniently overlooked by his many BBC cronies. Thanks for reassuring me that I'm not alone in my contempt.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Steve R said...

Stephen Fry - I can't be bothered. He's a theoretical construct. A spectacle [as in Debord]. A non-person [as in Auge]. If he didn't exist (and I'm not certain that he does), somebody else would in his place.

10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I also googled is a twat, and no equally pseudo little tit quickly jumping on the bandwagon here to his defense is going to change my mind about the blatantly pisspoor Wildean wannabe and his infantile lifelong act of populist hero worship through bare faced caricaturing mimicry - (I cut my robert smith hairstyle off when I was 16 - I suggest he grow up too ...yawn, id stipulate that his pandering defenders in the comments above are most likely a fan for the sad simple reason that they believe that openly appreciating him somehow allows them to bask in his reflected constructed glory and makes them aesthetically aware and instantly bestows them with significant cultural
capital ) sorry but I'm going to blow the cobwebs of that other cliche and say go read the 'emperors new clothes' tale for enlightenment on your life without the need for a lifecoach

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I also googled is a twat, and no equally pseudo little tit quickly jumping on the bandwagon here to his defense is going to change my mind about the blatantly pisspoor Wildean wannabe and his infantile lifelong act of populist hero worship through bare faced caricaturing mimicry - (I cut my robert smith hairstyle off when I was 16 - I suggest he grow up too ...yawn, id stipulate that his pandering defenders in the comments above are most likely a fan for the sad simple reason that they believe that openly appreciating him somehow allows them to bask in his reflected constructed glory and makes them aesthetically aware and instantly bestows them with significant cultural
capital ) sorry but I'm going to blow the cobwebs of that other cliche and say go read the 'emperors new clothes' tale for enlightenment on your life without the need for a lifecoach

9:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more,it's nothing to do with the ubiquitous Mr Fry personally,but I do resent the BBC's decision to make him a millionare with the licence fee payers money,surely there's someone else that can front programmes,can't be that hard to walk and read out loud at the same time,the man's everywhere!
p.s I thought his sidekick Alan Davis was a comedian,when is he going to say something funny?

9:03 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

I'm also greatly annoyed by Fry, but I'm putting on the brakes for a moment. I used to like watching him a lot - and btw Blackadder, 3 or 4 series' of A Bit and Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster etc, is not insignificant - but something faltered.
I have a feeling several people here now professing dislike may have been one-time fans like me.

For me the decline started when he did his "American tour' and made constant media comments about how the rest of the world had no real idea about America. I still like QI, but you sometimes get the odd moment of his ratty arrogant side.

Perhaps the worst is the enormous group of acolytes curating his every utterance online - a hell of a lot of Americans who think he's a genius. Too many people have validated the 'genius' label and he happily accepts, with an "aw shucks!" face.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same problem here to much time on the Web after retiring last year but am I glad I found all Donald's Bloggs.
But I do agree totally with every word on the Fry blogg and it's getting out of hand now with the daily BBC adverts for his Plant and QI program now moved back to BBC2 after failing on BBC1.
Maybe it's his Gay Rights side that attracts the right friends at the BBC as for the life of me he does not deserve the amount of coverage or work he gets.

6:15 PM  
Blogger si said...

I think Stephen Fry is a sycophantic prat who rebooted his career based on a mental illness. He spent time in jail : which is somehow O.K. because he went to a public school. Maybe I'm being slightly picky, but did it ever occur to him that he mentally ill may not have wanted an overweight, jailbird public school boy as their representative; perhaps a better looking person of unquestionable moral character would have been more appropriate. He hasn't been funny in years: if at all. The only part he has acted well was Oscar Wilde who he looks like and has been interested since childhood: which incidently people will now think of as a world authority in spite of the fact that many people have read Oscar Wilde. I have read his complete works: nothing special about that. His entire career is based on the old boys network. It was reported he once disappeared from the country: wishing to work as a language teacher and leave fame behind: this was perhaps his greatest idea....

5:34 PM  
Blogger A FRY HATER said...

Yes I am from Australia and I think he is a BIG COCK...Only metaphorically......

3:52 PM  
Anonymous Kelvin Jeffs said...

Well, it's now 2012 and this blog post is now even more relevant than when it was posted.
I'm in Australia and I'm getting so sick of hearing his name among hipsters and pseudo-intellectuals. These people are in their early-mid 20s and have just figured out that religions are all made up myths and now they feel all clever and smug. They've been raised on gay rights, women's rights, that "racism is everywhere" and all things PC and they need a "hero" that's even wittier than they are! Imagine that!
Maybe it's just me but I find him simple and tiresome even though I agree with much of what he says.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So sick of the sight and sound of this patronising tosser.
We are constantly being told that he is "a national treasure", but I can't see any reason to admire this dishonest self-obsessed bore.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found his "documentary" about manic depression dishonest and self-serving. He implied that the calculated acts of dishonesty which led to his imprisonment was somehow a symptom of being bipolar. I think it did a disservice to people with that diagnosis. As someone else said, the mentally ill don't need him as a spokesman.

9:59 PM  
Blogger James said...

My problem with Fry is I think he is a self-centered ponce who is only where he is because of his connections. Whats he done outside of "comedy" (which is also shit) to deserve the title of "national treasure"? He likes to write 10 page rants about sweat shop produced electronic gadgets on his blog. The self-indulgent, materialist twat. And then there's his supposed "intellect". Ooh he does so fucking love to slag, deride, ridicule, and otherwise shit on others he dislikes. But when HE is the object of similar dislike, it's tears, "I'm bipolar", "I was an unhappy teen", "I'm Stephen Fry so leave me alone", "Isn't it horrid how some people go on-line and be nasty". Having read "Moab is My Washpot", I suspect that his parents simply didn't kick the young Fry in the bollocks often enough, and the result is a fucking petulant, self-absorbed, smart-arsed shitehawk adolescent aged 54. The sad-arsed old fruit.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Vita Wildblood said...

Why do I hate the tosser, Fry? For his onanistic, smug, self-satisfied, pompous, self-promoting, oleaginous, smarmy, faux-humble, self-aggrandising omnipresence. And that's just for starters. Also for his misplaced belief that anyone gives a toss about his opinions on art, music, technology, politics or the price of fish. I would be so, so pleased if he got his ugly face stuck up his own arse and suffocated. I would laugh until my jaw ached and the fluff fell out of my navel. And that's not all. I hate him for the fact that he's hoodwinked great swathes of the British public into believing he's witty, erudite and generally a good thing. Fry! - and the sooner the better.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Shelly said...

So happy to have stumbled on this, I found your blog while googling Stephen Fry, arsehole...Lucky for me google realised I was not after a picture of said rectum, merely expressing my opinion of the smug tosser, who appears to be everywhere these days.
It does my heart good to realise that many other people detest the "National treasure" as much as I do.

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Exactly.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dislike him strongly. Horrible, sickly, immoral man who loves jetting off to Third World countries and telling them how superior he is. The guy is a joke. He's just loved by the decadent British public who will be extinct in a few years.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven Fry is one of a type, the BBC employs him because he has presence in the same way that some of their other 'stars' have presence, I must admit I'm thinking now ( with tongue in cheek ) of Jeremy Clarkson. In short they are desperate. Who else would stand up and make a Jack Ass of themselves like these two do.

Few people bother with the television these days, although I suppose it is watched in hospital and prison a fair bit,but the point is, it no longer sets that pace other than for the bottom end market or the pseudo intellectual. Therefore it follows that the people engaged to entertain these groups will be rather sad.

4:32 AM  
Blogger George G said...

Googled "stephen fry irritating"
Found this blog.
Glad I am not the only one who is sick to death of him.
Seems like he is on every second TV show here in Australia.
Documentaries are all about him, not the subject.
He is really getting on my nerves.
Rant over.

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steven Fry is rather like washing up liquid, a little goes an awfully long way.

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha. A somewhat belated late night edition to the small not-completely-smitten-with-Stephen-Fry revolution. Actually, I imagine he's a lovely human being and undoubtedly talented but he is a bit annoying. Was just about to listen to a re-run of "Fry's English Delight" which was "quite interesting", but then I recalled his eruditious, polymathic and belletristic verbosity and found myself googling "Stephen Fry is annoying" and found myself in present company.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Donald Clark said...

The Radio 4, middle England audiences love a tweeded pseudo-intellectual. Now descended into being nothing more than a quiz-show host.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Donald Clark. Thank you. I can't understand how he is so well-regarded either. What irritates me is his frequently referencing 'things which happened to friends' as personal anecdotes which are simply urban myth. One which stands out is the 'Tokyo-dept-store with a Santa-being-crucified display.' By the way, he does that with a charming impersonation of a Japanese accent too. But this Santa-being-crucified dates from 1947 and comes back again and again. But for 'the national treasure' it's something which 'recently' happened to a friend of his. He does this again and again. 'Recently a friend of mine was....' to show the rest of us how wide his circle is and how well informed he is. This is nonsense you pull on friends in the pub, not on national TV. Fry has been dining out on being Melchett since 1991. Now Blackadder was fantastic. But for those who argue 'he is better than many other celebs.' Fine, I'll agree, as long as Adrian Chiles and Fox News are out there. But both the latter can be isolated, Fry always turns up on shows I would otherwise watch. What's even worse, he's been pulling this 'grand old man' silliness since 1986 when he went on Wogan and acted like he was the latest incarnation of Peter Ustinov. More and more of a one trick pony. Even worse, Alan Davies.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, Fry is annoying and Davies is clearly an insufferable C*** based on his Hillsborough comments and the opinions of people who have met him in real life.

8:28 AM  

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