A Quiet Conversation: Stephen Fry & Craig Ferguson

By Last Updated: August 9, 2014Views: 2451

This is from way back in 2010, a conversation between Craig Ferguson and Stephen Fry. It proves that a quiet, erudite conversation can be immensely entertaining. The bit about social media and Twitter is very insightful. Not to mention the bit where two Brits talk about the greatness of America.

The things they talk about are things I think we as natives forget sometimes. Sometimes we just wrap ourselves in the flag and regurgitate jingoistic slogans and call that patriotism without really remembering why this country is really great. And it is really great.

But this is beside the point.

Basically, the reason I like this and wanted to share it, is because it is quiet. In the episode Craig Ferguson talks of it being an “experiment” but at the same time makes reference to other shows where this happened often, if not being the model of that show itself. There was a time where it was okay to be quiet.

We are very loud now. An “interview” usually consists of two people taking opposing views and screaming at each other till time runs out. We call this balance. But there is no benefit to this. It simply serves to reenforce one’s own opinion and to think the other is wrong/insane. Now imagine two intelligent people with differing views calmly trying to convince each other the points and nuance of their argument. Oh, that’s boring, I hear you say. At least screaming at each other is fun to watch.

And you know what, I don’t disagree. It is kinda fun. In small doses. If there is an alternative.

Look, I’m a loud person. And I tend to shout/yell at you at varying volume levels depending on my beer intake and depending on how wrong you are at the time. But this sort of thing happens rarely or, as I like to call it, Thanksgiving Dinner.

And its not as if TV in the past was this intellectual wonderland where everyone sat around discussing the minutia of every philosophical argument with a Cambridge or Harvard level demeanor. Far from it. Old time TV was just as loud and crass and offensive as it is today. But here’s the key, not all the time. Sometimes it was crass, sometimes it was intellectual.

But there was balance, or at least the attempt at it.

I guess what I’m attempting to say is we should be less bombastic, less confrontational. People with opposing views should not be seen as an enemy to be defeated, but instead someone to listen to and engage with.

In the end there is always going to be loud opinionated fluff, and sometimes that’s kinda fun. But sometimes we need quiet conversation. You don’t learn from loud, you learn from quiet.

So this is a long-winded way to say listen to two smart people talk about stuff. Craig Ferguson calls it an experiment. I think it should be called routine.


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