Friday, February 10, 2012

Stephen Fry in America

I am one of those Americans who are often embarrassed by the behavior of other Americans, I honestly believe this is the same for many people no matter what country you come from, but I am an American and thus become embarrassed when someone from my country does something that I feel might misrepresent myself to those people.

I once sat two seats away from a woman in a sushi-go-round who loudly asked about chopsticks, about raw fish, about every little surprising treat that makes places like those a fun experience for first timers. The restaurant was full, and despite her complaints the woman was quite cheerful, never-the-less it grated. This was a woman looking for validation, “look at me and how uncomfortable I am in this place. Are you uncomfortable too? Let's be uncomfortable together.” I might be being unfair, perhaps she was just having a bad day, I don't think it's wrong to be uncomfortable, or dislike sushi. Plenty of people dislike sushi, but I'm sure there were more graceful ways to handle the situation.

Watching Stephens Fry in America is like watching a whole different country. I'm a fan of travel shows, I own all seasons of Anthony Bourdains No Reservations but something about this English gentleman traveling my own country pointing out things I would never have noticed, it's completely alien and wholly unlike anything you'd find on the Travel Channel. Stephen is kind and gracious to the quirks of people I might dismiss as being rude if I were in his position. He manages serious and interesting conversations with all walks of life from God (Morgan Freeman), to members of the homeless community.

I adore his opinion of Miami, with it's tall concrete buildings, and Miami Beachs blatant commercialism (Palm Trees are useless and ridiculous unless they grow dates or coconuts), he did like some of the art deco architecture though. He seems much at home in any wide open space America has to offer, something that is somewhat opposite of myself, when I think about it.

He visits Ben and Jerrys, the Gulla people, a Body Farm, found Mt. Rushmore silly, likes sitting in the bar of an Aspen hotel and drinking hot chocolate to skiing. Truly a man after my own heart. His trip is beautiful, heartwarming, and maybe a bit sad

It's refreshing to see someone, not from here who seems to finds us so charming, is comfortable with us flaws and all. I hope more people can be as forgiving, and in turn I hope we can be just as generous to others.

Currently you can watch the show on Netflix instant, the book can be found on

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