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Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Fry & Laurie on Patriotism

Since our English friend Tobe (sadly only intermittently posting these days) last posted a piece called "On Patriotism", I couldn't help thinking of him when I saw this sketch:

And yes, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are atheists. But of course they are.

(I know, I know, danger zone: not posting for ages and then coming up with random YouTube videos. I've got ideas -- on this eclectic blog, who wouldn't -- but I keep second-guessing myself. I have been a little busy this week. I'll blame that.)


Anonymous said...

Great clip. It looks and sounds too much like American politics for comfort.

Lynet said...

Yeah, I kept imagining how it would go in an American context and then realising that an American version really wouldn't sound nearly enough like a parody!

L.L. Barkat said...

Hmmm.... why of course?

Lynet said...

Little things here and there. I'm not precisely sure where I got the impression that Stephen Fry was an atheist -- something about his line in bawdy humour, perhaps, coupled with something I saw or read him say (I checked before stating it here, of course, but it was just a vague guess I had).

Then, too, there are the elements in this particular sketch which echo vaguely some of the complaints people have about atheists:


"Oh, it's ridiculous, is it? It doesn't agree with his pet theories, so it's ridiculous!"

[creationist accusations to biologists/geologists, anyone?]


"I suppose you'd rather read books about England losing the cricket than winning, wouldn't you?"

"Well, yes, if it's true!"


"You with your snide university ways . . ."


"These so-called 'clever' people who just can't wait to tear down and destroy . . . but do they ever have anything to put in the place of the things that they destroy?"


Also, while Dr. Gregory House isn't the most flattering picture of an atheist on television, I still end up wondering if Hugh Laurie's oddly sympathetic portrayal might not be helped along by sympathy for the character -- and House's unvarnished devotion to science and fact is pretty much central to his personality.

There are also the probabilities: Fry and Laurie are British (less religious than America) and both went to Cambridge (there's a high percentage of atheists at top level academic institutions, and yes, I'd bet that goes for students as well as staff). It's just, well, likely. The probabilities wouldn't mean anything if they weren't backed up by other impressions, but they do act as supporting evidence.

Anonymous said...

I've honestly had a terrible case of writers' block. Literally a mind-numbing case. I think I've gotten through most of it though.

Psychodiva said...

Hi, I'm a Brit- I aodre Fry and laurie- Stephen Fry is an atheist- he used to be into the church but is no longer - his website can be seen here

Not sure an=bout Hugh Laurie but whenever either of them is on TV over here they do talk very sensibly about atheism and religion - Stepehn's series 'QI' is where most of his philosophy comes out- he is a brilliant scholar and it shows.

Psychodiva said...

sorry about all the typos above :)
anyway- I found Hugh's site- and he mentions a book by Daniel Dennet as one of his favourites

"Darwin's Dangerous Idea

By Daniel C. Dennett

Dennett looks at Darwin's idea of evolution in a philosophical and logical framework instead of a biological one. The book points out that if we truly wish to know what we are in the scheme of things, Darwin is the place to start. You think you can grasp the magnitude of Darwin's leap and its implications for all human life and thought. And then Dennett shows you that you're only on the ground floor of a majestic skyscraper. Beautiful."

I think we can safely assume he is an atheist or at least agnostic

his (unofficial) site is here

Lynet said...

I did some googling to check my facts before I wrote this post and found this interview with Hugh Laurie where he says he doesn't believe in God, but I don't actually know what label he prefers.

I also found this cool video of the two of them parodying Uri Geller. Evidently they've put some work in for the skeptics :-)