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Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Powerful Reading Of Alan Turing’s Letter Before He Was Convicted For “Gross Indecency”

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch's Powerful Reading Of Alan Turing's Letter Before He Was Convicted For “Gross Indecency”

Having earned an Oscar nomination for his turn in “The Imitation Game,” Benedict Cumberbatch found the heart of the sometimes emotionally mechanical Alan Turing in the film. And while the film didn’t delve into Turing’s homosexuality as much as some would’ve liked (even though his conviction for “gross indecency” helped form the narrative structure of the movie), the actor isn’t done channeling Turning yet.

As part of the “Letters Live” series, Cumberbatch read a letter Turing wrote shortly before he plead guilty to the aforementioned charges addressed to friend and fellow mathematician Norman Routledge. It was penned two years before Turing would take his own life, and already he was plagued by the possibility that the conviction would be his legacy. His words are heartbreaking,  and also nicely performed by Cumberbatch. Below, the text of the letter followed by the video. [via Open Culture]

My dear Norman,
I don’t think I really do know much about jobs, except the one I had during the war, and that certainly did not involve any travelling. I think they do take on conscripts. It certainly involved a good deal of hard thinking, but whether you’d be interested I don’t know. Philip Hall was in the same racket and on the whole, I should say, he didn’t care for it. However I am not at present in a state in which I am able to concentrate well, for reasons explained in the next paragraph.
I’ve now got myself into the kind of trouble that I have always considered to be quite a possibility for me, though I have usually rated it at about 10:1 against. I shall shortly be pleading guilty to a charge of sexual offences with a young man. The story of how it all came to be found out is a long and fascinating one, which I shall have to make into a short story one day, but haven’t the time to tell you now. No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out.
Glad you enjoyed broadcast. Jefferson certainly was rather disappointing though. I’m afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.
Turing believes machines think
Turing lies with men
Therefore machines do not think
Yours in distress,
Alan

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