When the elite lose our respect

When the elite lose our respect

by Christopher Anderson
article from Tuesday 26, February, 2013

 ONE OF THE SORROWS and disappointments in life is in the frequency that we see rare talent, one might even say, without employing hyperbole, real genius, being wasted by some in our society. I refer, of course to that number of gifted individuals who have a self-destruct character flaw which, it is evident, they cannot contain or control.

This problem obviously affects people in a variety of ways and to a lesser or greater degree. Extreme cases we find often are outstandingly brilliant in their chosen field, but find it difficult, or well nigh impossible, to come to terms with the ensuing fame and fortune that comes with success. In many instances, these individuals are constantly in the public eye and exposed to the glare of the media, which increases the pressure they feel.

Professional footballers Paul Gascoyne and the late George Best are sad examples of those who tragically have failed to deal rationally with celebrity and wealth. Many more have turned to drugs, or sought solace in their own choice of alcohol, to attempt to alleviate the stress they feel under, with inevitable and disastrous results.

There are also many less afflicted examples of the gifted among us, who nevertheless apparently feel the need or compulsion to behave in such a self destructive way, as to tarnish their own image and reputation. It is little wonder that ordinary mortals feel irritated by the abuse of personal ability by this elite. I was reminded of this strange human phenomenon when watching, on television, Stephen Fry compere the BAFTA ceremony. This is a social function at which beautiful luvvies are presented with various awards by other beautiful luvvies, while those in the audience, who are not on the prize list, applaud madly with rictus smiles and gritted teeth.

Now Stephen Fry clearly is an immense talent, who is blessed with a commanding but genial presence, allied to an engaging personality. He is supremely intelligent, has had the benefit of a first class education and possesses a wonderful, sharp and extremely clever wit. This is a man we would expect to enjoy unlimited success and show impeccable taste when appearing in public in his chosen career in entertainment. So what, you might ask, could possibly go wrong with his simple gig at the BAFTA event?

Stephen Fry is gay. So what? Most rational people couldn't care less. He makes no secret of the fact and indeed why should he? His sexual orientation is neither here nor there and matters not a jot in what we like to call our modern enlightened society. Unfortunately, Fry appears to be compelled to persistently include intrusive and boring homosexual innuendo into his work. In this day and age, it is difficult to think of any subject which is sacrosanct where humour is concerned and sex is no exception. That is not the point. It is simply a matter of taste, to determine if, when, how and where humour should be delivered for a man who has proved himself easily capable of enthusiastically descending into the depths of what can only be described as smut. Perhaps he is being advised by the wrong people, to the detriment of what could be an unblemished, as well as a great career.

The BAFTA audience overwhelmingly is connected, in one way or another, to an industry which can hardly be described, in any sense, as prudish or be accused of being homophobic. When the camera focused in close-up on the audience, however, the facial expressions of an appreciable number of those attending clearly registered annoyance, impatience and irritation at Fry's unsuitable nudge-nudge-wink-wink suggestive remarks.

When he cares to, Stephen Fry can be funny, slick, clever and a pleasure to watch and listen to. He should care much more and try to resist the urge to dabble in the cesspool of humour. It really does not befit a man of his great talent and polish.

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