CONTENT WARNING: This post discusses rape and sexual assault.
This is not a good day, friends. It is a horrible, no good, why-don’t-you-just-hock-up-phlegm-and-spit-it-right-down-my-jugular-kind-of-day.
Stephen Fry – the delightfully witty uncle you wish you had and the closest thing this generation has to Oscar Wilde – said on UK TV that rape victims should stop feeling sorry for themselves.
While some people are arguing that his quotes about rape have been taken out context, they also haven’t *not* been taking out of context, either.
For example, this one, presented without context…
“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can’t watch Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.”
… can’t really mean anything other than if the trauma of a past sexual abuse means you’d like a warning to excuse yourself from watching a play about rape so you don’t experience further trauma, well, then Stephen Fry thinks you need to buck up.
In an interview on talk show Rubin Report titled ‘Political Correctness and Clear Thinking‘, the former QI presenter / Hugh Laurie‘s other comedic half told host Dave Rubin that he believes a “deep infantilism” in today’s society is responsible for an overblown PC culture, and that victims of rape should “grow up”:
“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place, you get some of my sympathy, but your self pity gets none of my sympathy.
“Self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity. Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”
His greater point that sensitive and / or contentious issues are getting censored – perhaps to our detriment – in the effort to maintain political correctness at all times got lost in a clusterfuck of ignorant and hurtful comments about sexual assault victims.
They were taken twice as badly by the public given that Fry has spoken publicly about his bipolar disorder and depression and fought those adding to the stigma of mental illness.
If Stephen Fry’s experience of mental illness is anything like mine then he’ll have been accused of ‘self pity’ because of depression
— Emily Reynolds (@rey_z) April 11, 2016
Stephen Fry and his moronic comments are making today a sad day for victims of sexual abuse and those with mental health problems.
— Lady Writes (@LadyWrites_Blog) April 11, 2016
I’ve been so disappointed with Stephen Fry lately. He succumbed to the natural life cycle: young liberals decay into old reactionaries.
— Klye Klgrlaen (@KyleKallgren) April 11, 2016
He wrote a blog post in June 2013 called ‘Only The Lonely‘ (this was two years before his marriage to Elliot Spencer), in which he was the very definition of feeling sorry for himself.
“But I can still be sad. Perhaps you might go to my tumblr page and see what Bertrand Russell wrote about his abiding passions (it’s the last section of the page). I can be sad for the same reason he was, though I do so much less about it than that great man did. But I can be sad for personal reasons because I am often forlorn, unhappy and lonely. These are qualities all humans suffer from and do not qualify (except in their worst extremes) as mental illnesses.”
He later added that he didn’t write this for sympathy, but rather because it “fascinates” him, but the point is irrelevant: he’s feeling sorry for himself. He spent 1,500 words describing that in elaborate detail.
Since he quit Twitter earlier this year, saying it “a stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous” after his joke about Mad Max designer Jenny Beavan backfired spectacularly, we likely won’t be getting a social media-led explanation of whether or not his comments were taken out of context.
Vale the Stephen Fry we knew. He is no more.*
*(FYI he once wrote a book called ‘The Hippopotamus‘ where a teenage boy honest-to-god thinks his cum has magic healing partners and so has sex with a sick horse, so to say the Stephen Fry we knew and adored is gone maaaay be a stretch.)
Photo: Rubin Report.