The fictional Marguerite St Just was the “cleverest woman in Europe” according to her creator, Baroness Emma Orczy, yet she took about 10* chapters before she realised that her husband, Sir Percy Blakeney, was the Scarlet Pimpernel. That is despite it being PATENTLY OBVIOUS.
And so brings us to today’s subject: being clever. Or being too clever. Or being so clever, you are blind to any of your faults. Yes, u speak of you, Stephen Fry.
On my telly right now is ‘The Girl from Rio’. It is some forgotten romcom from 2003 with Hugh Laurie. Out of curiosity, I google Hugh Laurie. Huh, Wikipedia turns up. It links to Stephen Fry. I read Stephen Fry’s page and see he is president of Mind, a U.K. mental health charity. So far, so good.
But what’s this? He’s not been on telly much recently, so to speak out about anything, he has decried trigger warnings, saying “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 because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity”.
I understand it is hard to live in the public eye, where everything you say gets media scrutiny and you haven’t a moment’s peace, but let’s pick this apart shall we…
“I’m sorry your uncle touched you” – well that’s ridiculous. It’s like the evil uncle in The Who’s ‘Tommy’. Uncles are easy targets. Next, please!
“You get some of my sympathy” – cheers, oh bountiful and benevolent Stephen Fry! I have some of your sympathy? Gosh, let me write that down. (For the record, I have never been abused by a family member). But ‘some’ of your sympathy? That’s great! I hadn’t realised we had to ratio out sympathy, but I’ll give you ‘some’ when you end up alone and unhappy.
“But your self-pity gets none of my sympathy because self-pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity” – hmm. Let’s say, for an example, there’s a girl who, ooh let’s call her Brigid, has an Absolute phobia of her father raping her. It’s a phobia. It’s an irrational fear. She also has an Absolute phobia of injections and therefore doesn’t watch ‘Trainspotting’. She has never seen it. She never will see it. Because injections upset her.
Anyway, this Brigid has a phobia of her father touching her. To clarify: he never has, or will do. It’s an irrational fear. But needless to say, she doesn’t like reading about incest or abuse, because it awakens the demons in her brain.
She is upset she doesn’t have a fully-functioning relationship with her father, but in no way is she self-pitying about it; indeed, she strives to get better and have a relationship with him. She just reeeeeeeeally doesn’t like reading about incest or abuse.
I would therefore appreciate it if there were some sort of ‘trigger warning’. It doesn’t have to be big, but she opened the newspaper the other day to a headline saying ‘Woman Keeps Dad Alive With Breast Milk’, and was sick. Wouldn’t it have been better if it had had some teeny weeny trigger warning?
There’s a quote going around next to Stephen Fry saying the following:
But he gets offended. He’s left Twitter because he’s so offended by it. I’m sure he gets offended by Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. He doesn’t live a life that smells of roses. He gets sad. But it’s ok when it’s him. When it’s you, you trying really hard to overcome some trauma, only to have someone trample all over your recovery, that’s that acceptable. It’s acceptable for Stephen Fry to leave Twitter because people had a go st him, but you, trying to get over abuse, depression,addiction? Being upset by Stephen Fry and all his Ivory tower ilk taking the piss? You’re ‘self pitying’. And that is not accepted.
This is from the president of Mind! Or, to me, it’s the absolute epitome of hypocrisy. Hope his young husband absconds with his millions soon. And he remembers his bullying at school. Then he’ll have ‘some’ of my sympathy.
*It may not actually be ten. It’s been a while since I read it. Still, it’s a fair few.