The story of Mr Stephen Fry, who said some silly things and was upset.
It is a shame. You will be unsurprised to know that I am an enormous admirer of Stephen Fry. His writing, his acting, his comedy, his QI-hosting, his documentaries, and even his Twitter feed. I yield to no one in my admiration for the man. And it is very easy in such circumstances to forgive your role model the sins you condemn in others. And it's almost as easy to overcompensate and savage your role model for sins you would shrug off in others. So it's important to note, just at the start, that I am hopelessly morally compromised and my opinions on this matter, as in all others, are worthless. However, here goes.
The fact is that, on face value, these comments are fairly stupid. They are fairly ridiculous generalisations that are untrue and no doubt offend a lot of women, and gay men. And to say, "oh but there's a grain of truth there" is of course what is said about all ridiculous generalisations; maybe there IS a grain of truth, but a good rule of thumb is, if there's a grain of truth you wish to express, then express a grain of truth, not a wheatfield of wild exaggeration.
But Fry says he was misquoted, having given a "humorous interview". OK. I am willing to hear him out here. Maybe with others I wouldn't be so forgiving, and maybe that's the bias referred to above. But Fry has, I think, earned a certain level of esteem from me, so I'm willing to listen to any explanation and accept it if it's, well, acceptable. Some will not grant him the same indulgence - such as Germaine Greer, who replied to his stupid generalisations with some of her own; but that's Germaine for you, lovably ballistic as always. I don't blame them at all, for we each must make up our own minds as to what we accept and what we rail against. But I'll hear him out. Hell, I'll hear anyone out, really. It's only fair.
Because after all, I think I'm right in saying that Stephen Fry has not, in the past, established himself as an inveterate misogynist. Of course, he has established himself as a comedian, so if it was humour, it wouldn't be out of character. Even if you might not think it was very funny.
(as an aside, here is a video from some time ago, in which he speaks along the same themes, and does seem to be having a bit of fun more than anything; the old "differences between men and women" schtick, with a bit of "aren't men ridiculous creatures" thrown in. So if the interview he gave was a reprise of that routine...he would seem to have a case for grievance here. In my own, as we have established, worthless opinion.
But maybe it wasn't really a joke. If not, it did come across as the musing of a man who is somewhat baffled by matters sexual, which is pretty much the way Stephen Fry has come across for many years now. So maybe he needs some education.
And maybe, humorous or not, he was, as he says, seriously misquoted. But if so, I would like to know what he really said. I hope I get to find out. Unfortunately, everyone who says something idiotic always cries "misquote" or "out of context", so one craves something more if one is to have one's fears assuaged. This is terribly unfair for the genuinely misquoted, of course - to have done nothing wrong, and then have people demand you justify yourself for a non-existent act or sommen, is extremely frustrating. But still, these are disturbing comments, and it would benefit us all, including Mr Fry, to know his response in full.
So I hope he doesn't stay quiet. I hope he comes out and engages. I hope this even if he just puts this affair behind him and never mentions it again. Because even idiotic comments, while they may tarnish someone's sheen, don't destroy it. Stephen Fry, even with a blemish or two, will remain Stephen Fry. Much worse has been said by people who carried on blithely and without a care in the world. Basically, one stupid opinion does not a monster make. Even Spida Everitt has his good points. Even Kyle Sandilands...well, no, not really.
I think Fry is fragile and easily wounded, and retreats quickly in the face of attack. And to be fair, when you have 2 million Twitter followers, it must be somewhat overwhelming when the world comes down on you.
But I hope he comes back. And I hope, if he is able to set the record straight. And if the record we have is already straight, I hope he does learn the error of his ways.
And those are my thoughts, presented for your disposal.