Hated By The Daily Mail

I suppose the proudest thing I own is this badge, one of a very limited collection, given to me by the warm and wonderful Phill Jupitus. Anyone who can wear it can think of themselves of flying a flag of freedom, of having been awarded a medal struck for decency, fairness, honesty and what is right and morally good.

Proudly wearing this badge

Proudly wearing this badge today

Sometimes, I must confess, I can get a little hurt when that shrieky weaselly little bourgeois tabloid is mean to me, which I believe is very often. I don’t read it of course: like anyone of education or sense or moral decency I wouldn’t have such a purulent creepy production in the house. Nonetheless, by the osmosis of twitter and well-intentioned cabbies I sometimes get to hear of some spiteful snide remark or other and naturally I can be upset.

Daily Mail Hate Campaign

Daily Mail Hate Campaign

Today’s headline and the leader inside however actually made me genuinely guffaw and wriggle with delight. It is the final proof, if proof were needed, that the Daily Mail is not just actually wicked (intentionally, knowingly lying) but actually now quite, quite mad. In the name (it must suppose) of morality, spirituality, goodness, kindness, sweetness and honesty it intentionally, knowingly twists, distorts, misrepresents, smears and calumniates. Will their editor and subeditors go to heaven? Is god pleased with them? Have they done a good deed? Is this their advertisement for the religious way? To lie?

I can always be certain that I have done a good thing when out of all the descriptions they can choose, their leader writers select “quizmaster”. “What has this country come to,” they want to know, “when an egregious, self-satisfied quizmaster presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old institution etc etc.”

As it happens I have spent many many more hours of my life as a writer and a journalist than as a “quizmaster”, yet, oddly enough, we don’t read the Mail coming up with: “What has this country come to when a journalist presumes to make moral pronouncements on a two thousand year old etc.?” Perhaps the Mail leader writer would be kind enough to explain to the world what qualifications are needed to allow one to express an opinion, or write a letter to a newspaper? What profession should one belong to and can we have a list of those which in fact disbar us from expressing one’s views?

I was one of 50 signatories to a letter that called into question the official state nature of the papal visit. I didn’t write the letter, but am proud to stand behind it and with my fellow signatories. Otherwise my “hate campaign”, as they well know, begins with the words, “I’ve no objection to the Pope coming to visit Britain, he is welcome to do so…” it is, as I go on to say, none of my business. I go out of my way to make it clear that I fully respect the desire of the pious, the faithful and the devout to welcome their spiritual father, their supreme Pontiff.

My only objection is that this be a State Visit. It hasn’t happened before and the Vatican is in no real sense a nation state. Visit the place: it takes fifty minutes to walk round. You don’t need a passport or visa to enter. It is a curlicue of history that makes this “absolute monarchy” (to quote the Holy See’s own website) a “country”. Under no reasonable or worthwhile definition does the Vatican match up to the old-established and widely accepted Montevideo protocols on statehood. So by all means come, but please don’t ask the British taxpayer (a figure whom the Daily Mail is usually so zealous to protect) to help foot the bill.

Believe me, there is no hate there. None whatever. The Mail knows this perfectly well.

On an entirely separate matter, one can of course seriously, maturely and with dignity and respect debate one’s belief in God, one’s trust or respect for the institution of the catholic church and any number of issues. In a civilised, open and free country one hopes that there will be more and more debates of such a nature. I took part in one myself for Intelligence Squared with Christopher Hitchins, opposing a motion proposed by Anne Widdecombe that “the Roman Catholic church is a force for good in the world”. It was a debate conducted according to the parliamentary rules that govern these proceedings. I was proud to have taken part in such an evident proof of the open and democratic nature of Britain. I would have been even if we hadn’t “won” the debate that evening.

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70 comments on “Hated By The Daily Mail”

  1. RobWooding says:

    ‘Hated by the Daily Mail’ love it! That would make a great tattoo.

  2. Bonnie Big Knickers says:

    What a bunch of twats. I tried to think of something more eloquent, but I couldn’t.

  3. Gateaufabulous says:

    I wonder if they even recognise the irony of accusing you of leading a hate campaign?

    I agree, “Hated by the Daily Mail” would make an excellent tattoo.

  4. Whirlochre says:

    Personally, I find it astonishing beyond the bounds of any DM Astonishment Threshold that anyone could ever have supplanted Ozzy Osbourne as the Antichrist with so spectacularly poncey a hairdo.

    What year is this, btw?

  5. nonoyesyes says:

    Thank you for allowing a fighting chance for my comemnt. Much appreciated.

  6. LeglessCats says:

    I’m only seeing this from further away, so it’s slightly possible I’ve missed something, but I really don’t understand. I don’t even see any parallels back to the point where they started making things up. As far as I saw, everything was sincerely and admirably polite. (I could have missed the call to hateful, genocidal, atheist arms as a stupid atheist foreigner. Don’t think I did.) So really…what up with that, Daily Mail? Anyone?

    The really sad part is that the Fry in the middle of this is pretty awesome and happens to be a real person with his own feelings and reactions. I quite adore that Stephen for being such a benevolent dude. (On the other hand, this particular waste of trees usually doesn’t enter my personal radar. ha!) Thanks for being so great.

  7. Soupy Twist says:

    *Applause*
    What an honour to own that badge. The German equivalent should be “Gehasst von BILD” (another organ of infamy, intolerance and ignorance). Let this be my aim, to live a life worthy of a badge like this.

  8. tmidir says:

    I’m a Christian and I will fight for your right, Mr Fry, to be yourself and state your personal beliefs in the dignified, educated and thoughtful way that you do. It is a joy to disagree theologically with you in a respectful loving way! You add colour to my day and more than the odd giggle and smile!

  9. Bobble says:

    All Stephen said was that he didn’t think the visit should be funded by the tax payer and most tax payers agree with him. Hate campaign? Don’t think so.

  10. Gordon_Keenan says:

    Looks like “Times on Sunday” has decided to have a right old dig at you as well!
    (If there was a God) help us, if anything happens to the Pope on his travels as you will be blamed in it at some point! Ah well, any press has to be seen as good press when you have a book on the go! Doh! and of course the TOS has a dig about that as well Tsk Tsk…. what a weird world we live in!

    Cue another badge methinks Mr Fry!

    Love it!

  11. Student_of_Socrates says:

    Dear wonderful Stephen

    A brilliant piece, as always. Please note that you have misspelt that other great man in my life Christopher Hitchens’ name. His surname only has one “i”.

    With admiration,

    Your fellow student of Socrates

    PS: Sorry, my previous post had two major typos in it. Hence this repeat.

  12. reheller says:

    How interesting that some “journalists” like those of the UK’s DM seem to be unable to read. Or unwilling to think. If I was a catholic believer I would not be proud of these lies that show up as “defense” for the pope’s state visit.

    Thank you, Mr Fry, for thinking, writing, speaking as a critical mind! And yes you deserve that badge.

    @tmidir: well spoken!

  13. MacElena says:

    Thank you Steven Fry, jolly good badge!

  14. Kamagrian says:

    Having followed you and enjoyed your work for a good while now, I finally registered today because you’ve risen even higher in my estimation. Why? Because as you stated above, anyone THAT hated by the reprehensible and unprincipled “journalists” who work the Daily Hate must be a Top Banana Person.

    My respects, Mr. Fry.

  15. Tia says:

    Hahaha! Hated by the Daily Mail. That is really great. We (over here in Germany) only have the “BILD-Zeitung”, which is IMO a disgusting kind of sh*t. Even dead fish is too worthy to wrap it in. And the BILD also allies with the catholic church whenever it wants to. But I found it very interessting to follow the whole lively discussion in the British newspapers about the Pope visit. Here in Germany they (all kinds of newspapers) are always very exited when the Pope visits his homeland. The critical voices opposite to the Catholic Church and the Pope himself aren’t strong engough to be heard during such occasions. Hence I enjoyed to follow this refreshing debate!!

  16. RickHick says:

    Sympathies for you Mr. Fry. Although, the absurdity of thinking you would, even if you wanted to, lead a hate campaign is enough to make most people raise a chuckle.

  17. Boog says:

    I almost felt sorry for the Arch Bishop and the MP in the televised debate … lambs to the slaughter. Mind you, I think I’d feel uncomfortable debating that water is wet if I had to go up against the formidable intellects of Mr. Fry and Mr. Hitchins.

    A friend of mine once answered his door only to be accosted by a couple of Christian nutcases bent on his “salvation”. My friend listened to what they had to say, and then told them he wasn’t interested. One of the proselytizers then asked him, “since you won’t be converted, what are you going to say to God at the gates of heaven.” My friend said simply, “I’ll tell him that next time he should send better people.”

  18. Christine Pennock says:

    As a Protestant I done see why I or any other Protestant should pay for the Papal visit. I didn’t want him to come as he was one of Hitler’s followers and I think this is an insult to all the people who fought in the war to rid the world of Hitler and his ilk and I also think it’s an insult to the British Jewish Community after all Hitler and his mob have done to the Jew’s all over the world.

  19. miss_everafter says:

    Wow and I thought Australian “current affairs” television journalism was bad, that Daily Mail article is gold!

  20. JessicaLyn says:

    Sounds like being hated by the Daily Mail is really an honor. Wear your badge proudly!!!

    From a friend across the pond in Sunny Florida!

    :) Jess

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