Open Letter to Stephen Fry

Richard Drake on another thread links to this video exhortation to support Extinction Rebellion by Stephen Fry, Aug 25th 2020

Here’s a transcription:

Hello there. I’m Stephen Fry. It’s sickening how much money is being spent on think tanks and professional lobbyists to spread confusion lies and doubt on the subject of man-made climate change and its horribly real threat. These people and the huge corporations funding them are utilising exactly the same playbook that big tobacco used to sow doubt and confusion over the clear scientific evidence that had emerged about smoking and health. It worked for a while, and hundreds of thousands who could have been saved died early as a result. The truth will always out in the end though. Eventually even the vested interests trying to discredit Extinction Rebellion and its supporters, even they won’t be able to keep lying. But by then, so much terrible damage will have been done to our planet and to millions of its citizens. We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand. It’s an affront to truth, reason, and facts. We have to stand up, expose the lies, and make sure that this cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed – that they’re countered before it’s too late. So stand up with the writers, and with Extinction Rebellion, Wednesday 2nd of September. Thank you.

Playbook” … “sow doubt and confusion” … I hear the echoes of Naomi Oreskes or Naomi Klein or some other spambot Fury out of hell. This is not the prose of one of England’s finest minds.

I’ve been out of the country for forty years, so my knowledge of what’s going on culturally may be ropey, but I believe Stephen Fry is still someone who counts – a national treasure, like Richard Attenborough. For me, Stephen Fry is an actor renowned for his portrayal of the typical thick upper-class prat in Blackadder. He also comperes QI, which is the only programme I try and watch when I’m in England. If, in the early to mid 20th century, England’s finest were busy discovering penicillin and inventing radar, the jet engine and the Turing machine, by the time of my adolescence our brightest and best were conquering the world in the form of the Beatles, Monty Python and Mr Bean. Lately, the ablest minds of my country have turned to stand up comedy (which is naturally incomprehensible to foreigners) and like to appear on QI like the clowns in Shakespeare as a foil to Mr Fry’s genius. I watch QI when I can – spellbound – since I only understand a quarter of the jokes, conscious of being in the presence of the finest intelligences in England (and the colonies of course.)

So I assume Mr Fry is someone to be reckoned with intellectually, and I’ve penned him this letter:

Hello there. I’m the eight thousand and first person to have linked to your August 25th 2020 Youtube puff for Extinction Rebellion, and I’ve just transcribed it at our website, Climate Scepticism.

If you google “Climate Scepticism” you’ll be led straight to the Wikipaedia article on “Climate Change Denial,” a long article with 291 footnotes, (number six of which is a scientific paper by Dr Paul Matthews, one of our founder contributors, by the way.) So I suppose it was us you were referring to when you said in your Youtube: “We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand. It’s an affront to truth, reason, and facts. We have to stand up, expose the lies, and make sure that this cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed – that they’re countered before it’s too late.”

Given your determination to expose our lies etc., and the fact that you say “We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand,” I hope you will accept and invitation to debate the subject of climate change with us, in any format of your choice, live by Zoom or whatever, or via an exchange of emails, or any other method. This will be your opportunity to “expose our lies, and make sure that our cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed is countered before it’s too late.”

One of the oddest features of discussion of Climate Denial, whether it be by you, Extinction Rebellion, Boris Johnson, the Guardian, or the 97% of scientists who agree with you, is that the enemy, whose lies and “cynical, brutal, and terrifying dishonesty and greed” must be stood up to, is never identified by name. Well, it’s us. We are Spartacus. Look forward to seeing you in the arena.

I found this contact address:

Stephen cannot be contacted by email personally. Please address your postal mail in the following manner: Mr Stephen Fry, c/o Hamilton Hodell Limited, 20 Golden Square, London W1F 9JL

My wife recently posted my anti-cholesterol pills from France to England and they took a month to arrive, so I don’t expect a reply straight away. But I’ll keep you all posted.

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October 9, 2021 at 08:30PM

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