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Stephen Fry's blogulosity

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"Blogging," British actor/writer/blogger Stephen Fry blogs, "leaves little time for dilating on the subjects which really move and enliven me. So here is the first of a series of blogulosities in which I try and share a personal delight."

Fry, who now is a fixture in the small constellation of celebrities who are secret tech nerds who blog, and blog well, famously played Oscar Wilde in "Wilde" and was a fixture in British television comedy, known for his role in "Blackadder." He started out starring in a TV version of P.G Wodehouse's Jeeves comedy series, playing the ever-correct butler, with Hugh Laurie as the daffy Bertie Wooster (the same Hugh Laurie we Americans now know as the cranky Dr. House).

When Fry was young, he read "The Story of Art Pocket Edition," originally published in 1950 -- the current version weighs in at more than 1,000 pages, so it's built for big pockets. An art fan, he's a member of the Royal Academy, where he gave a speech earlier this year that touched on how he engages with art.

While I could not be more delighted that we live in a verbal world, I do understand the pleasure in occasionally laying language aside and letting some other non-verbal part of our brains take over. For you cannot explain a work of art in words. A painter makes a painting out of paint – paint is its language. If you can define it, nail it, comprehend it in words then something is rather wrong. A work of art is precisely that which remains when you have run out of words to describe it.

In his latest post, Fry makes a plea for the Royal Academy, which despite its name gets no government funding. Fry is one of its trustees.

What's interesting is that Fry, who, as he says, is delighted to live in a verbal world, seems to be reaching to engage where today's words falter. Art, which can move beyond language. And blogging; his very post is an attempt to provide a counterpoint to the typical blog post, which forces rapid response about the news of the day. "Political events, ideological disagreements, rants, apologies, defensive screeds and coverage of techno launches, political scandals and general media excitements have often been the meat, drink, potatoes, peanuts and popcorn of my blogging space," he writes. He hopes that his "blogulosity" is something more, perhaps something more meaningful.

Fry is the author of a new memoir, "The Fry Chronicles," which details his early years and his stint on "Blackadder." It came out last month in the U.K. and is not yet available in the U.S. Which means Americans will have to content ourselves, for now, with his reading his blog. Not that there's anything wrong with blogging, which, Fry writes, "is fine and well and high and dandy and adorable in its own way (one hopes)."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Stephen Fry speaks at press event prior to appearing on the panel, "How and What and Why do Writers Write?" at the 2010 Hong Kong Book Fair in July. Credit: Alex Hofford / EPA

 
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Ok, Stephen Fry did not start out on Jeeves and Wooster. Black Adder was before that, and he also appeared with Hugh Laurie on their show, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, before they did Jeeves and Wooster together. IMDB is a nice resource.

Poetry intermediates between verbal and visual. Children who are trained to write on a computer have no signature anymore today. Non-verbal parts of our brains are part of the dynamic of reading as well as writing, like reading in between the lines. Carlos Fuentes is a writer who still writes pen on paper, I see the poetry of that. Painting also requires pauses of reflection to be able to insert a personal insight.

Interesting article, but I feel the need to make one tiny, rather unimportant correction: Jeeves was not Bertie's butler, but his valet. Both characters would be horrified to see you refer to Jeeves as such. : )

His new b00k does not go up as far as to Blackadder but to the commissioning of A Bit of Fry and Laurie.


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