Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wanting more.

So all day today I’ve been going through Stephen Fry withdrawals. If you’ve been reading here long (or if you’ve actually looked at my sidebar), you’ll know I love Craig Ferguson. But Stephen Fry is a whole other level of respect and adoration. Well, last night Craig Ferguson interviewed Stephen Fry old school style – no audience, just the two of them talking for the entire show. It was fantastic. I mean, it wasn’t the usual hilarity Craig brings every night, but it was endearing and smart and wonderful. And I want more.

The interview, or really the conversation, touched on some very interesting things. And what I found in the midst of it was that Mr. Fry and I have an great deal in common when it comes to perspective.

For one thing, I’ve always felt that it was so odd that one word can be a “bad” word, whereas a word that means the same thing is acceptable. I also found it odd just what the words meant that were considered bad… not hater or killer or abuser, but fucker. Hmm. Here’s Mr. Fry’s words on the topic:

If an alien was looking down on us and inspecting our language, they would see that the worst that we do on this planet is that we torture, we kill, we abuse, we harm people. We’re cruel. And those are the things in which we should be ashamed. Amongst the best things we do is we breed children, we raise them, and we make love to each other. We adore each other; we’re affectionate and fond of each other. Those are the good things we do.

And they would say how odd that the language for the awful things is used casually all the time. “Oh the traffic was agony - it was hell - it was cruel. Oh it was torture waiting in line.” You use words like torture – that’s the worst word! And yet if we use the “F” word which is the word for generating our species, for showing physical affection one to another, then we’re taken off air and accused of being wicked and irresponsible and a bad influence to children. Now we’re part of this culture so we often don’t question it. But if you think of someone outside of it, it is very strange.

As always, most cleverly put.

Early on Craig said when they knew each other years before how he always felt that Mr. Fry had it all together. His response was so true to the nature of the human psyche.

This is sort of a truth about all humans… You arrive at a party and everyone, in your mind, is armed with a club and all you have is a little Q-tip behind your back. And you think somehow everybody else was at a lesson at school where they learnt some life trick that you will never know because you missed that lesson and you will never catch up... and they think the same as you.

Isn’t that just the way of things, especially in our youth? We think somehow we are missing the punch line to THE joke; the secret ingredient to life, but everyone else knows it and isn’t sharing. I think the wisdom that comes of experience can change this perception, but indeed, not always... or rather, not everyone gains this wisdom in life.

The whole of the show held such insights, but as a whole it was simply captivating. Because of the unique style of this show, two friends talking without an audience, I rather felt like I was the one chatting with Steven Fry. It’s quite disconcerting to find I can’t enjoy a cuppa and a conversation with him again sometime.

Speaking of cups, I did notice that for the first time ever, I believe, Craig gave his guest THE SAME rattlesnake mug as he uses. He’s given the smaller version on rare occasions, but never “the real thing.” That’s some respect right there!

I wanted to end with the W.H. Auden line that Mr. Fry quoted in response to Craig’s tattoo which reads “Live free or die,” because again it is to the heart of my philosophy…

“We must love one another or die.”


Addendum: Yes, I know I referred to Craig Ferguson informally as “Craig,” and to Stephen Fry as “Mr. Fry,” but when you think of each of them and how we know them… can you blame me??


gbpackergirl76 said...

I will definitely find this clip and watch it! Stephen Fry is so very amazing. Thanks for sharing!

Brian said...

I so completely agree with his thoughts on language. So much of our world/civilized society is upside down. Alas, the inmates really are running the asylum. Love your writing shows intelligence and depth, yet still flows.

whichwaydidshego said...

Brian, that's so kind! Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad to see you on here. Hope you keep reading!

Amy, it was a brilliant show - don't miss it!