10-12-2008, 05:18 PM
Did anyone else happen to watch this?
I thought it was absolutely fantastic.
10-12-2008, 05:23 PM
I caught most of it. But the gimmick is to visit all 50 states plus DC. What was with skipping straight over Delaware and Maryland? And I don't think I caught Rhode Island either but maybe that was where I had to go fix my mum's computer.
That Harvard guy who was a gay black Republican. Did Stephen ever find out... WHY?
ETA: shit, Connecticut too possibly. I couldn't have missed ALL of them. Buh?
10-12-2008, 11:53 PM
For my fellow Yanks who were wondering what the heck the OP's talking about, Stephen Fry in America is a six-part travelogue on the BBC. From their site:
In this six-part series he travels, mostly in a London cab, through all 50 states of the country that he could have nearly called home and which has always fascinated him.
In this first episode, he explores the states that make up New England, before heading south to the nation's capital and ending up at the civil war battlefield of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.
Presidential hopefuls in New Hampshire, witches in Salem, nuclear submariners in Connecticut, deer hunters, small time mobsters in NYC, socialites in Rhode Island, lobster fishermen in Maine, ice cream blenders in Vermont and card washers in New Jersey - Stephen meets them all as he takes the road through the autumn colours to uncover what really makes America tick.
The episode's available on the BBC's website, but not for those outside the UK, alas. Damn, I love Mr. Fry and would very much like to see this. Not sure if it'll be available on BBC America.
Here's an excerpt of a post on Stephen's blog about his experiences (http://stephenfry.com/blog/?p=58) and the whys/wherefores of the series.
I have often felt a hot flare of shame inside me when I listen to my fellow Britons casually jeering at the perceived depth of American ignorance, American crassness, American isolationism, American materialism, American lack of irony and American vulgarity. Aside from the sheer rudeness of such open and unapologetic mockery, it seems to me to reveal very little about America and a great deal about the rather feeble need of some Britons to feel superior. All right, they seem to be saying, we no longer have an Empire, power, prestige or respect in the world, but we do have ‘taste’ and ’subtlety’ and ‘broad general knowledge’, unlike those poor Yanks.
What silly, self-deluding rubbish! What dreadfully small-minded stupidity! Such Britons hug themselves with the thought that they are more cosmopolitan and sophisticated than Americans because they think they know more about geography and world culture, as if firstly being cosmopolitan and sophisticated can be scored in a quiz and as if secondly (and much more importantly) being cosmopolitan and sophisticated is in any way desirable or admirable to begin with. Sophistication is not a moral quality, nor is it a criterion by which one would choose one’s friends. Why do we like people? Because they are knowledgeable, cosmopolitan and sophisticated? No, because they are charming, kind, considerate, exciting to be with, amusing … there is a long list, but knowing what the capital of Kazakhstan is will not be on it.
The truth is, we are offended by the clear fact that so many Americans know and care so very little about us. How dare they not know who our Prime Minister is, or be so indifferent as to believe that Wales is an island off the coast of Scotland? We are quite literally not on the map as far as they are concerned and that hurts. They can get along without us, it seems, a lot better than we can get along without them and how can that not be galling to our pride? Thus we (or some of us) react with the superiority and conceit characteristic of people who have been made to feel deeply inferior.
So I wanted to make an American series which was not about how amusingly unironic and ignorant Americans are, nor about religious nuts and gun-toting militiamen, but one which tried to penetrate everyday American life at many levels and across the whole United States.
The post is much longer and quite lovely. I wish he'd write a book about his experiences. Should be interesting.
10-13-2008, 03:06 AM
I wish he'd write a book about his experiences. Should be interesting.
Wish granted. (http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/displayProductDetails.do?sku=6233116)
10-13-2008, 04:11 AM
When I first saw it mentioned in my tv-magazine I actually though it was going to be a 50 part series in which each state would have its own episode. But I guess that was a bit optimistic. stephen Fry is always worth a watch though!
10-13-2008, 06:43 AM
Here's an excerpt of a post on Stephen's blog about his experiences (http://stephenfry.com/blog/?p=58) and the whys/wherefores of the series. Thank you for posting about this! I adore Stephen Fry and now have a lot of reading to do to catch up on all his blogs.
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