Stephen Fry often listens to podcasts on long walks, head in the wind, inhaling the fresh country scents. But that is starting to bother him more and more, he says in his own podcast series Stephen Fry’s 7 Deadly Sins† Because, especially the American ones, they are always about people who are against something. It’s a huge parade of queers, statue-destroyers, antivaxers, flat-earthers, shouting and canceling that it’s a nature. They all choose simplifications of the truth.
Fry, and millions of people with him, are not on one side or the other. And yet they always turn on those actually incredibly boring and annoying podcasts.
Fry thinks it should finally be over now. “Fuck it, everyone, all that nonsense. Fuck all that erasing people from the history books. Fuck all that clumsy throwing balls of shit at the people on the pillory. Fuck all this meanness, malice and lying.” It’s time to understand whose fault it really is that the world has gone so wrong.
Fry is in the fortunate position of being able to tell us that. He has looked at the problem long and intensely from all angles, he can now say with confidence that his conclusion is correct, it is no one else’s fault than that of… Stephen Fry. It’s his fault the world is going to hell. Mahatma Gandhi once said: Be the change. And so it is time to look within the dark turbulent waters of the human soul. Why keep on whining about what’s wrong with others, stop it, Jesus and Fry are in complete agreement, and so it’s time to start looking at those slimy mean demons inside us, the sins. The human project is failing, we are lost. We are all, as WH Auden put it, scared children who have never been happy, or good.
Sins are now safely medicalized into syndromes and disorders. Wrath is an anger management disorder, pride is a narcissistic disorder, lust is sex addiction and so on.
Let’s just assume that we are all scared kids who want to be happy and better, better for themselves and better for others. Let’s start listening more to our inner voice, which we all have. In the past, that inner voice spoke the imposed morality inspired by God. The seven sins were swords of Damocles hanging over your head. If they fell, you were doomed for eternity.
They have changed in meaning over time, in fact they are now more like boulders to trip over, banana peels on the road to happiness. There is no penalty for confessing them, but they can destroy you and they are very attractive.
Fry puts them all on the examination table. Pride, which has made the devil the devil, but also has thousands of queers parade through the centers of major cities every year. Greed fuels our material ambitions, destroys ideals, turns cool startups into listed companies.
Desire, that overwhelming desire that blinds you to the consequences. Jealousy, unashamedly exploited by capitalism. Gluttony, if it was a country, Fry would be president of it. Wrath, which every morning when you read the morning news is poured into your stomach like boiling lead. Finally, laziness, which for Fry is the cardinal sin. Not that he’s lazy, he actually works hard. He writes books, articles, scripts, narrates books, but still… If he hadn’t so quickly turned his back on academia and plunged into showbiz and led a sinful life, he could have done a lot more with his talents. and he would have come a lot further in life. Now, he concludes in the latest podcast, he is nothing more than a good dilettante. A good dilettante, must be added to that, with a brilliant podcast series.
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