Stephen Fry is an idiot. Colour me surprised.

31 10 2010

Why? Why would you like this man?

Update: Fry has been tweeting his anger at the way he was quoted in both Attitude and The Observer, saying that comments he made in jest have been taken in all seriousness. While the hilarity of what he said escapes me, I suppose it is possible that he was attempting to be satirical – if that is the case further explanation than a 140 character outburst may be warranted. Having said that, Fry speaks in such a way that anything he says could be claimed as just a joke should it backfire at some time in the future. Then again, it is possible that wires were crossed and where the interviewer believed he was conducting a serious interview, Fry thought the complete opposite. To really get to the bottom of it we’d need a recording of the original interview, which I doubt will ever be available. My jury is still out on this one. What do you all think?

I realise I should be outraged by comments made by Stephen Fry in an interview in the upcoming November issue of Attitude magazine, but really it just leaves me with a powerful feeling of relief that I already dislike the man and all his pompously false posturing and attempts to inherit the crown of the infinitely more talented Oscar Wilde intensely. I dislike him almost as much, in fact, as the bizarre media consensus that has developed that he is some kind of “national treasure” for whom we are obliged to coo over every dull and inconsequential comment that comes out of his mouth or spews forth on Twitter. Granted I dislike him in the sort of way that your Grandmother might develop a sudden and irrational dislike for Eamonn Holmes far out of proportion to any crimes against humanity he has actually committed, but that doesn’t make the dislike any less real to me. I therefore don’t have to deal with the accompanying and crushing disappointment I always experience when people I respect come out with similarly stupid and misogynistic comments. Well, I say that. I may not be outraged, but I am pretty pissed off – if for no other reason that it annoys me that he is considered an authority on anything at all beyond “how to fake being a 21st century 19th century wit when you have nothing of any great significance to say about anything by doing nothing more than speaking in a particular tone of voice at all times and widening your eyes in a charmingly arch way.” Read on





Will frustrations never cease?

21 10 2010

Dianna Agron has just written a blog post on Tumblr responding to the controversy surrounding the “Glee Gone Wild” GQ photoshoot in which she and Lea Michele posed provocatively in stylised schoolgirl lingerie while Cory Monteith smiled goofily at the camera, like he couldn’t quite believe his luck. In her words, “Glee is a show that represents the underdogs, which is a feeling I have embraced much of my own life, and to those viewers, the photos in GQ don’t give them that same feeling. I understand completely.”

I won’t mince my words. The photoshoot was utterly gross in every sense of the word. The fact that Monteith was just standing gormlessly around while Agron and Michele pouted, preened and displayed their bras only heightened the essential message of the shoot, which was “how awesome that a guy gets to hang around with these hot girls all day. Yes, that’s right. They’re HOT. What more could you possibly need to know about them?” In addition, as has already been pointed out by some, it is deeply depressing that Glee is a show about inclusiveness and being proud to be different, yet the only actors who seem to be getting the celebrity treatment are the skinny white pretty ones who are willing to adhere to all the boring old Playboy gender stereotypes in order to move forward. To note, though, for this I don’t so much blame the actors as their agents and the members of the press who daily insist that they are only giving the public what they want, and refuse to change. Read on





RATM all the way, and also I am a loser

20 12 2009

Really? No one has thought to put a santa hat on this image? No one at all?

Well, I may be a little late to the party on this one, but I went and got all het up about the Rage against the Machine Christmas battle when I read an absurd blog in the Guardian, of all places, saying that the campaign to get Killing in the Name to number one was “negative” and denied X Factor winner Joe McElderry his “lap of honour”. Granted this made up about one sentence of the entire blog, but needless to say it is the only one any of us latched on to as a means to unleash our aimless hysteria. So, woe is me, I did the unthinkable and wrote in the comments section. Twice. In any case, while I bury myself under a duvet and try to cope with the shame, here’s a copy of both incoherently yet strangely appropriately rage-ful posts below: Continue Reading





Give us ze reaaal danz!

19 09 2009

strictlycomedancingThis morning, the blogosphere will no doubt be rife with discussion of the merits of Alesha Dixon as the new judge on Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 9pm). So much so that peoply hardly need my two cents. Suffice to say that I thought there was something intangibly creepy about the sight of one moderately clueless but beautiful and amiable young woman sandwiched between three middle-aged men thanks to an inexplicable decision on high by the BBC. I, like many, found Arlene Phillips irredeemably annoying, and would quite happily have accepted her replacement by someone with some comparable expertise. Yet the presence of Darcy Bussel in the audience, who Bruce favoured over Alesha when discussing movement and grace, only highlighted the gaping chasm in knowledge between Dixon and the other judges. Or why did they not go for the radiant and lovely Karen Hardy, tragically missing from the lineup of professional dancers this year? Surely a former world champion Latin dancer (as well as former winner of Strictly) could have more to offer by way of feedback and advice? More important than this, her criticism would be far more palatable to the professional dancers, who I saw straining time and again to be gracious in the face of a young woman for whom they were dialling down their own abilities to fit her lack of training only two years ago. I feel for Dixon, because she was a wonderful and deserving winner, but a winner of an amateur competition, and she remains an amateur. She is nowhere near ready to judge others’ efforts.

However, that is not what I really want to discuss. Before the broadcast of last night’s opening installment of Strictly my Mum, my sister and many that I know were having fits of excitement about its return, yet I remained curiously numb about the whole affair. Why was this? Because I love watching dancing. I love watching good dancing, and watching people who have never danced before stumbling Continue Reading





Are Derren Brown’s numbers up?

12 09 2009
Bit late to be coming over the innocent now, D-Dawg

Bit late to be coming over the innocent now, D-Dawg

Well, I won’t be the first to say this, but Friday night’s Derren Brown’s How to Win the Lottery (Channel 4, 9pm) was a massive disappointment, and I say this as someone who spent the two days preceding telling everyone who scoffed at the lottery trick to stop being such a killjoy. Lots of reasons have been put forward as to why it was so disappointing – the fact that, while elaborate, Brown’s explanation of “Deep Maths” and “the wisdom of crowds” for how he was able to predict Wednesday night’s lottery numbers had been discredited by Maths Professors across the country within minutes of the programme’s broadcast being the chief one, the other one being that his explanation was simply confusing. It was certainly incoherent. The idea that people become more suggestible when they are afraid sounds plausible and is probably true. It is a fact that Brown has utilised repeatedly in previous programmes. The ability of large numbers of people to make more accurate estimations than a single individual is also plausible, and also probably true. However, his attempt to link this emotional suggestibility to his lottery challenge – that the emotions of greed and ambition get in the way of our ability to make predictions of random numbers, or the fact that he equated “estimation” of an animal’s weight with “prediction” or more accurately “guessing” of a random sequence of numbers just didn’t make any sense. And frankly, the idea that we would accept this nonsense wholesale just plain insulted our intelligence.

So no wonder so many people were confused, as the responses on Twitter will attest. However, this confusion and frustration arises out of something more than the fact that it just wasn’t a very good trick. I mean, if any other magician had Continue Reading





The ones who hurt the most

26 08 2009

I’m going to be a little more serious than usual today, because I have just read an article by Melissa McEwan, who writes the Shakesville blog, that describes an experience so familiar to me that it has made me want to relate a story of my own, as apparently many people have all over the internet since the article was first published.

While I was at university, for my first year, my two closest friends were male. I was very, very fond of both of them. They were witty, intelligent and silly. The three of us would stay up and talk all night, joking around and chatting about our lives. We’d play practical jokes on each other, cook together and go to each other when things went wrong.

But as the year went on, I started to feel more and more alienated from them. In the halls, we spent all our time together, but they only went out with their male friends. They told me I was their closest friend, but I was never invited into their social group. I was expected only to go out with other women. I was not of their tribe. The jokes started to take on an edge, too. They started ganging up on me with their practical jokes. A couple of times one of them even hit me when he was drunk – all in the name of fun, of course. When we would sit and talk conversations started to consist of long protracted put-downs of me, in which I would sit silently listening and hurting at the onslaught. I remember waking up one morning and seeing that someone had written ‘CUNT’ by sticking sanitary towels on the wall at the foot of the bed. When I tried to challenge them they would listen silently, resentfully. They would nod, agree, apologise. Once they even bought me flowers, but then they went and complained to our other friends at how unreasonable I was being. They repeatedly told me that they loved me, that I was their favourite ‘girl’ in college – but not favourite person, never favourite person. They would make sexist jokes and I would refuse to join in – and they would tell me it was okay because of course they didn’t really mean it. Other friends told me I was being a prude. No one seemed to see that having my closest friends constantly insult my gender was deeply hurtful and was shattering my self esteem.

It was a pattern I saw constantly. A woman who tended to befriend men at university started out with their surprised but grudging respect. Everyone would talk about how they weren’t like other girls, how they were so funny, how they Continue Reading





Turns out, the Pendet Dance is Indonesia’s NHS

20 08 2009

If you’ve been on Twitter this morning, you will have noticed that “Pendet dance” and “#pendetindonesia” have become major trending topics in the last few hours. The topics are peopled by comments such as “Yo malaysia stop stealing and GET A LIFE!!”, “Pendet dance is from Bali! Stop stealing our culture, Malaysia!” and the passionate, if somewhat over-optimistic “PENDET DANCE REALLY BELONGS TO INDONESIA, IT’S ORIGINALLY FROM BALINESE! EVERYBODY IN THE WORLD KNOW THAT!”

For those that don’t know, which, obviously, is none of you, the Pendet dance is a traditional Balinese dance that can be performed by anyone, and in which offerings of incense, cakes, flowers and other items are made to a temple. (Alas, Wikipedia has little more than a stub, but you can get a bit more information here). The outrage has come about because the dance has been used in a tourism advert for Malaysia, with many Indonesians feeling that they are misleadingly appropriating an integral part of their culture.

Hmmmm, to British twitterers this will be starting to sound strangely familiar. Anyone who had a look on the #welovethenhs topic in the last few days will know that, when it comes to Twitter, there is no fury like a society faced by a rival nation making spurious claims about their institutions. To me, it marks this week out as an interesting chapter in the development of Twitter as a broadcast phenomenon. While its political importance was marked during the protests in Iran and China, when tweeters in both countries were able to broadcast their experiences to the world, the NHS and Pendet Dance phenomenons mark out something more understated. While these perceived wrongs to a country’s national identity have no concretely negative impact on its inhabitants, Twitter is clearly acting as an outlet for people’s feelings of powerlessness and Continue Reading








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