Monday, January 19, 2015

Quite Interesting

Of all the odd and obscure things about me, high on the list is my love of panel-style British television programs. It all started with QI. The summer before last, my husband and I watched seven seasons in a row, huddled together over the iPad (as we watch most shows - another oddity).

If you aren’t familiar with it, QI (short for Quite Interesting) is a quiz show that highlights interesting, often unknown facts, and rewards wit along with correct answers. It’s hosted by Stephen Fry, who is well known for being incredibly gifted, amongst other things. He’s joined by four comedian contestants each episode, one of whom is always Alan Davies. These comics are rarely anyone in the US would know, but I love them all, anyway.

A few nights ago, finally well into the K series, my husband and I sat down to watch the "Keys" episode.

In it, Stephen mentioned that as a child, he adored typewriters so much, he copied an entire novel on one.

I will admit that, at times, Stephen can come across as a condescending jerk, but this confession melted my heart. Retyping a book, out of his love for the mechanical workings of a typewriter, is exactly the sort of thing my son would do.

But for more than a minute afterwards, Bill Bailey, one of the panelists (and a pretty bright guy, himself), launched into Stephen, making fun of him far beyond, it seemed to me, what could be considered a joke.

Stephen handled it with a sense of humor, as I would hope most of us would, when admitting the unusual obsessions of our past. In this case though, the ridicule seemed to go on an uncomfortably long time.

At one point, Bill said, "You really do live a different life to all the rest of us. You're not like us, are you?"

And Stephen replied, laughing, but completely serious, "No, I'm really not."

They moved onto the next question shortly thereafter - the show is only 30 minutes, after all.

But it unsettled me.

On a television program that celebrates obscure, interesting facts, gifted minds, and quick thinking, the host was belittled for sharing, what I consider to be, a clear behavioral example of a gifted child - the child he used to be.

I found it quite interesting. And quite sad.

I told E I was writing a post about a boy who loved typewriters.
He immediately came up with a plan to build one, complete
with a diagram and instructions. Sharing with his permission.

Linking up this post with the GHF Blog Hop,
Gifted in Reel Life.


  1. I find it sad, too. It seems counterproductive to the entire premise of the show.

    I love the typewriter plans!!

  2. Oof. That's rough.

    I loved typewriters, too, as a child and got in trouble in 4th grade when the gifted teacher--right before booting me from the G/T program--accused me of having my mother type up my report. My mother was irate and I was deeply hurt. :-(

    Shaking that off, though, I must say that there's a BBC panel show--I forget the name of it--that does the most brilliant things with the news. And did so years before Jon Stewart took over The Daily Show, too.

    1. Oh, wow, Pamela. That's terrible. :-(

      Yes, they are very clever with their panel shows over there!

  3. Vulnerable confessions are the best antidote to condescension, and it's tragic that he was made fun of for it. People need to embrace the parts of them that are ridiculous, leaving nothing open to ridicule. "Oh, would you prefer I had no endearing stories from my childhood? In the name of what value would you like my life to be bland? I doubt you will gain my buy-in."

  4. I love Q.I. and yes, it is a real pity that Stephen was made fun of in an inappropriate manner for sharing a personal story. Comedians need to be very careful - it is so easy to tip over the line between humour and cruelty/disrespect.