“British comedian and arch provocateur Russell Brand has been causing quite a storm of late. Having mocked the corporatization of global media networks on MSNBC in the United States, he proceeded to upset organizers of the GQ [also known as “The Magazine Formerly Known as Gentlemen’s Quarterly”] awards with an historical quip about one of their more illustrious sponsor’s sordid fascist affinities, only then to have the audacity to make a public call for a revolution.
While Brand’s call to revolution has invariably been met with the usual derision by the ruling political classes and wealthy elites with whom he has long had an uneasy relationship, what has been particularly notable about the backlash is the vitriolic nature of the attacks from leftist intelligentsia. This is to be expected. As Brand, like many would-be radicals quickly learn, there are few things quite as venomous as the offended liberal. [emphasis added]
But what is it about Brand’s revolutionary calling that so offends? Or to put it in more explicit terms, what gives this flamboyant, sexually extroverted, self-confessed ex-junkie, comedian and public celebrity, who is not a recognized expert in politics, nor established member of ‘the Left,’ the right to speak about politics and revolt?”
The comments above are from the lead-in paragraphs to an article titled “Branding The Revolution” by Brad Evans and Julian Reid for Truthout (November 25, 2013). The arguments against Mr. Brand’s arguments against the establishment are argued by Mr. Evans and Mr. Reid at length in this interesting and well thought-out piece.
Celebrities of all political stripe have almost always had to deal with the fact that their opinions—regardless of their merit or the ratiocination and research involved at which they arrived at them—are relegated to some special receptacle for nitwits, buffoons, and the iodine deficient Alfred E. Neumans of our world.
What, me worry about Charlton Heston and Dennis Miller?
While we on this side of the aisle castigate Charlton Heston for his stance on gun control—actually, the near total lack thereof—we embrace Robert Redford for his stance first on wolves and whales and then on the environment as a whole.
For example, we—you know, those of us who know that the damn liberal media may be damned but it certainly ain’t for being liberal—frown at Dennis Miller’s fact-challenged attempts at “conservative humor.”
And we may agree that the term conservative humor—Hell’s Belles, the very concept!—is oxymoronic, but we should hold him accountable for NOT being funny (or factually accurate), NOT for NOT adhering to our belief system.
There are facts and there are opinions and occasionally the twain shall meet
Quoting former US Ambassador to the UN and India and then US Senator (D-NY) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” That is, Mr. Miller is entitled to the opinions that underlie his humor—despite their lack of factual basis in consensual reality . . .
Back to the “Branding” issue at hand
I have not actively watched “television” nor followed its culture—and this is not the first time that I refer to the fact that one of my personal heroes, Harlan Ellison, termed the medium and its message the “glass teat”—for decades. (Actually, since they removed eliminated damned to oblivion the original Star Trek, but that’s another story).
Thus, my exposure to Russell Brand has been very limited, indeed. I have never watched him “on the telly,” but have been exposed to his exploits via excerpts from said show that appear on The Upworthiest video newsletters and being steered to bits and pieces of his appearances on YouTube.
Be that as it may (love that idiom), the reading of the article herein linked shows Brand as articulate, informed, and downright, well, accurate! And the piece by Evans and Reid insightful and provocative—and, yes, definitely argumentative. Check it out but give yourself the necessary time to wade through its more than 3,700 words . . .
An unnecessary postscriptual confession
I must also confess to having enjoyed his performance as Arthur in the remake of the movie of the same name. Granted, Dudley Moore will forever be the “real” Arthur and Helen Mirren, delightful as she may ever be, can never replace John Gielgud in or collective cultural consciousness.
But I thought Brand’s interpretation of Moore’s original performance brilliant (if even more childish), even if the movie as a whole was excessive and unnecessary.
(And have you been checking out the photos of Ms. Mirren as a young devotchka making the rounds of the various internet entertainment outlets? Hubba hubba indeed!)