At a time when morale is low in the gay community (a chronic rise in homophobia, teenage suicides, gay bashing and religious intolerance) I thought it worth making the light enough point that in some ways you could see the male gay life as a lot easier than the male straight life. But to read anything more into it than that is either wilful or stupid. I know that women enjoy sex. If women also say (and I’m in no position to agree or disagree with them) that they have as equally insistent and urgent libidos as men then I have no doubt that must be true also. It is perhaps sad to think that they are as pathetically in the grip of a base and humiliating need to get their rocks off as men are, but if that is the case then that is the case and god knows I’m no expert on the subject and have no right either to confirm or deny the proposition. It simply isn’t my business to pronounce on something that I know nothing of and I’m sorry if the very idea of my even touching on the topic is deemed offensive, inappropriate and outrageous by authorities on gender issues, if such authorities exist. As a gay man, female sexuality is patently a closed book to me. I had fondly imagined that in a free and open society one might be allowed to play with such ideas in a reasonable spirit of debate, but it seems not. It seems that such a conversation was offensive, ignorant, arrogant … god knows what else. Ill-judged it most certainly was.

Spank me with a fly-whisk

You will perhaps say that after nearly 30 years in the public realm I should have known better than to allow myself to have a free-wheeling happy, explorative and silly conversation with any journalist. Maybe I should have guessed that the interviewer wanted not an interview but a story. I should have known that comic exaggeration, so much the chief mode of a humorist, can easily be made to look bad when wrenched from context and nailed up as a proclamation. I admit that I do have a sometimes disastrous tendency, when asked a question, to answer it, often jokingly, or in the interests of ventilating a new thought that has struck, or more or less as the mood takes me but certainly too much without any consideration of the possible consequences. I am not, after all, a politician who has to weigh every syllable and its chances of giving offence. Maybe I should be more aware that those who wish me ill are always likely to seize on such instances and use them as a fly-whisk with which to spank me.

What the Papals Say

The whole Pope business, you might argue, should have warned me plainly. I was one of dozens, scores almost, of signatories to a letter sent to the editor of a low-circulation serious newspaper which suggested (mildly enough I thought) that the pontiff, while welcome (the letter, which I had no hand in writing, used that word) to Britain should not perhaps have his visit paid for out of the public purse. Instead of letting such a letter drop like a flat cowpat onto an uncaring field of public indifference, the press decided to publicise it widely and shriekingly to turn it into a great scandal. For some reason they singled me out as the figure most responsible for it and before long I was Fry the anti-catholic, Fry the Pope-basher, Fry the atheistic hate-monger. Weird, worrying and barely sane.

Am I that important? Should a letter to the Guardian in which I was a fractional part have been talked up into a cause célèbre for which I was judged almost uniquely responsible? Should a gamesome conversation in Attitude magazine be blown up into a major controversy that occupies acres of print? Surely I’m just a writer and actor? Just a nobody whose opinion is worth no more than anyone else’s? Indeed isn’t that the whole thrust of the articles written deploring my sillinesses? Bloody luvvie, who does he think he is? Well, then, why publicise and bring my worthless opinions so sharply front and centre? They can’t have it both ways. They pick up otherwise ignored articles, fulminate against them and in doing so accuse me of pushing myself forward! If the mainstream media ignored the frankly insignificant articles in which I appear almost no one would hear of them. All they have to do is ignore me, instead of which they big up everything they can find which involves me and then follow up their irritation with outraged expressions of annoyance at how prevalent I am. Well they are the ones who make me prevalent. It’s all rather potty and in the end all one can do is giggle at such farcical nonsense.

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13 comments on “Silliness”

  1. Piglette says:

    I am female, fifty and no fool. At first the comments took my breath away and then 2 seconds later I thought what a load of rubbish. Stephen Fry would simply not say such things. His humanity and kindness shine through in everything he does. I follow his work and Tweets in a casual way but I have to say if I was having a dinner party…. no I grew out of entertaining but if I was organising a picnic I would choose to have Stephen Fry there 100 times over than all his screeching detractors and media nitwits. I know Stephen’s too busy for a picnic and besides the weather at the moment is so dreadful the rain would soak the sandwiches. But it is his ‘good eggness’ that makes you feel you could a: ask him and b: enjoy it when he came along. I am pretty certain that the hot air merchants chastising him could not pass the same picnic invitation test.
    So please keep entertaining and drawing us into your life I don’t believe you would deliberately offend us; although Mrs Stephen Fry’s hat does come close.

  2. Mandi M says:

    I’m female, I’m a feminist, and I’m also rather fond of sex when it’s on the menu.
    Fortunately, I have not had my sense of humour surgically removed.

    From the moment this latest song & dance exploded I was sure that it was a huge storm in a teacup, entirely innocent from your side with no offence intended beyond a little light humour. But sadly, as you well know, the media loves to anoint folk as “national treasures” only to tear them to shreds at the first opportunity.

    Please pay no attention and put all this nonsense behind you and carry on being the same old Stephen we know…

    …oh, and for the record (purely academic for you, I know), we DO like sex. But then chocolate ranks pretty high on our sensual Top 10 too

    Hoping to see you back online with us again soon.


  3. RoxieDiva says:

    Never explain–your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.
    Elbert Hubbard

    Kind of sums it up – but I get why you posted this

    I do wonder if people dont get carried away by their own indignancy (sorry long day and I am sure that isnt a word but you know what I mean) and forget that behind it all is a person who still has feeling and can be hurt just like everyone else.

    Chin up babe xx

  4. adamdv says:

    Non illigitamus carborundum!!

  5. Aidanthingy says:

    Dear Mr Fry,

    I am appalled to learn that you have been loudly insisting that the Pope does not enjoy having sex. You scurrilous deviant!

    Cancel my subscription immediately.

    “Disgusted of Dublin”

  6. Ophiuchus says:

    I noticed the story in the media and thought ‘he’s been got at again’! I have just registered to say what a complete non story this was from the start. And yes, sure it causes upset and it won’t be the last either. The whole thing is such an idiotic proposition that no one would surely believe it came from anyone with a cubic centimeter of brain tissue, let alone you? One would hope…

  7. in-this-light says:

    Dear Sir,

    I read one of the aforementioned articles and discussed it with my girlfriend. We came to the conclusion that it seemed out of character and wondered if there had been a falling out with Edna over the matter (perhaps involving her at number 38?).

    We hope that if that was the case, that things have been sorted out and any cracks papered over, for the sake of your offspringand would like to wish you the very best for the future.

  8. bertyboy says:

    A little tale to hopefully make you smile.
    When I left school at 16 about to start an apprenticeship as a silversmith,my local rag – The Basingstoke Gazette came down to interview me.
    I said when asked if any of my friends were doing unusual jobs,I replied ” no,most of my mates are doing ordinary jobs” this was quoted as – “Dave says most of his friends are in dead end jobs” ! you can imagine how popular I suddenly become !

  9. hdiamond says:

    There is one positive to your having to post a reply, people like myself get to read more of your words.

    Personally I’ve had one experience with journalists which scarred me for life. Speaking with The Sun (I was just shoved in their general direction at the time) about a mass-nude photograph I did many years ago, the man (not gentle) managed to twist my simple straight answers into something that fit their agenda. The last question for example: do you have a boyfriend? At the time the answer was no. From this they turned me into a sex-crazed stripping harridan, desperate to snare a man under any circumstances. I just thought it would be a laugh. Oh well!

    The point I’m getting to is most of your admirers will be well aware of the twisting nature of the press. Welcome back.

  10. dansumners says:

    If only one person learns from reading this post that all is often not as it seems, that one should withhold judgement until appraised of all the facts and respond in a measured, rational and generous manner, it was not at all an ‘ill-judged’ conversation. In any case, as you say yourself, it was simply not judged, but undertaken in a spirit of humour and honesty. And we must not be deprived of the pleasure of such conversation, especially in public. It would reduce us to uttering the hollow, calculated and passionless statements, soundbites and scripts with which we are so familiar thanks to our front bench politicians.

  11. lugubrioustide says:

    Hi Mr F. I have just checked with my wife and she says that she doesn’t enjoy sex. It’s not because of her gender…I’m just rubbish apparently ;(

  12. ashleymills says:

    Wow, first time I’ve read your blog. Really nice writing style, I’ll be back :)

  13. Edward says:

    Regarding lessons:

    1. Seems entirely reasonable, but very difficult.
    2. As above.
    3. I recommend the opposite: explore the limits of the most outrageous and self-evidently untrue things you can convince the press that you earnestly believe.

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