Stephen Fry Talks Dork

The marvelous English actor Stephen Fry (Oscar Wilde, Jeeves and Wooster, etc. etc. and the impending ITV series about a solicitor, Kingdom) has a new column for the Guardian Weekend all about his obsession with gadgets and things techie. The first column, “Welcome to dork talk“, sets the table for what is bound to be a run of highly entertaining — and knowledgeable — columns on thing that might well interest more than one reader of Slaw. Fry says:

stephen_fry.jpg…[W]hat kind of devices might I be discussing over the coming weeks? Including, but not confined to: mobile phones, smartphones, music players, media players, cameras, electronic books, satnavs, computers, peripherals, TVs, games machines and any digital device or grown-up toy that may take my fancy. And not necessarily all that grown-up, either.

I won’t be writing about hand-helds and hardware only, however. I have to confess that while gaming as such is not my first interest, and I don’t spend much time in World of Warcraft, Halo or Manhunt, I do have a Second Life existence (you’ll never find me, so don’t look. Lord, there’s a thought: “celebrity avatars exposed” – fair chills the blood). I have a secret presence on Facebook and a public one, too, which I don’t have the time to pay much attention to. So, yes, I’ll undoubtedly have a look at Web 2.0, social networking and other contentious and contemporary digital issues.

It appears, alas, that there’s no way to subscribe to this column via RSS. If anyone finds a way, please do let us know.

As a bonus, I’ve discovered from the column that Fry has a blog seemingly about his relationship with technology and which, because it’s powered by WordPress, does have an RSS feed.

Oh, and I would have said “nerd” rather than “dork.” What do you think?


  1. Ummm…I’d go with my usual preference, “geek”. As in definitions numbers 2 and 3 for the entry in Merriam-Webster’s online, for example:

    2 : a person often of an intellectual bent who is disliked 3 : an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity

    (But having nothing to do with number 1:
    1 : a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake)

    And note the contrast with M-W’s “geek”:

    : an unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially : one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits

    Intellectual pursuits aside, not quite Stephen Fry, IMHO. :)


  2. Simon, The Guardian appears to be including this column in its Technology section RSS feed, to which one can subscribe here:


  3. Hi Kim,

    Thanks for the Guardian RSS. It does kinda work. And as a added bonus, I am going to try out the Guardian Tech feed on top of the BBC one.


  4. No Fry is neither geek nor dork. He is simply nonpareil.

  5. Hi Simon

    Living in the UK, I would say that nerd is seen as an americanism, and dork is a much more English term for that type of person. This may ring more bells with the older generation, of which Stephen is one – having his 50th birthday celebrated on BBC4 recently with a weekend of entertainment featuring him in many roles over the years. And the Guardian readership would most likely identify better with a dork!!


  6. I should clarify two things lest I offend anyone (particularly Stephen Fry): My usual preference for “geek” comment is self-referential (please don’t call me a nerd – had enough of that in jr. high!) :)

    And my contrasting quoted M-W entry is, of course, for “nerd” – my error!

    Cheers all

  7. But Ruth isn’t dork much more of a swat term for that sort of a bloke. Don’t we need some sort of cyber equivalent of anorak.

    anorak n (1984) a boring, studious, or socially inept young person (caricatures as typically wearing an anorak); especially, one who pursues an unfashionable and solitary interest with obsessive dedication.

    Actually, the AskOxford website gives both geek and nerd as having passed into BritSpeak.