I’ve decided to pick up Moab is my Washpot again this afternoon, specifically the section on Falling In, where Stephen Fry talks about the “unhealthiness” of homosexuals and jews, and his midway acceptability for being neither-nor in both respects during his early double figures. He writes:
Jews, like homosexuals, are not quite healthy. They are a part of that parade of pale, clever men who, at the turn of the century, confused the healthy world with all that talk of relativism and doubt and those weird ideas about determinant history and the divided self…They’ll read anything into the most innocent pastimes, these Jews and these pansies. Reading things into things, if that isn’t the favourite hobby of the intellectual, I don’t know what is. Come to think, dim stirrings of old Latin here, doesn’t intellectual actually mean ‘reading into’? There you are then. People nowadays can’t look a plain thing in the face and call it plainly what it is. Intellectuals to the left of us, Intellectuals to the right, reading. Beastly, unhealthy swine….
……It is a cluche amongst healthy schoolboys to say “…In Braddy’s English set today, you won’t believe it, but he was going on about bloody Hamlet and his mother and he used the word ‘Freudian’ about them…I mean, Jesus, how stupid can you get? Doesn’t he realise Freud wasn’t born until hundreds of years alter? Shakespeare couldn’t have known anything about Oedipus complexes and all that rubbish. I can’t believe our parents may men like that to talk such pseudy wank”.
Not that argument could ever swerve the stolid Uppingham mind away from his settled conviction that art, literature, and the play of ideas werew anything more than ‘wank’. Indeed, the better one argued, the more it proved it was all words, words, words. “Oh, you can argue anything away with words, Fry. Doesn’t make it right”