instead of voting, russell brand wants a revolution


Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

EN­TER­TAIN­MENT CELEBRI­TIES of all po­lit­ical stripes have al­ways had to deal with the fact that their opin­ions are rel­e­gated to some spe­cial re­cep­tacle for nitwits and buf­foons of our world.  This is re­gard­less of their merit or the ra­ti­o­ci­na­tion and re­search in­volved at which they ar­rived at them.

One such celeb re­ceiving undue crit­i­cism is Rus­sell Brand, a par­tic­u­larly smart, ed­u­cated, and ar­tic­u­late co­me­dian and actor:

“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 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.

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). Brand at­tacks greed and stu­pidity and flawed rea­soning wher­ever he sees it—except when he looks in the mirror. The ar­ticle quotes him:

“Like most people I am ut­terly dis­en­chanted by pol­i­tics. Like most people I re­gard politi­cians as frauds and liars and the cur­rent po­lit­ical system as nothing more than a bu­reau­cratic means for fur­thering the aug­men­ta­tion and ad­van­tages of eco­nomic elites.

I don’t vote be­cause to me it seems like a tacit act of com­pli­ance. As far as I’m con­cerned there is nothing to vote for. I feel it is a far more po­tent po­lit­ical act to com­pletely re­nounce the cur­rent par­a­digm than to par­tic­i­pate in even the most trivial and to­kenistic manner, by obe­di­ently X‑ing a little box.”

Like most people I know, I con­sider people who don’t vote to be part of the problem, not part of the so­lu­tion. And the ex­pec­ta­tions of Brand and the ar­ti­cle’s two writers is typ­ical of sup­posed “lib­erals” everywhere—especially those too hip to vote—who ex­pect their can­di­dates to be he­roes, not merely better politi­cians than the ones we elect them to replace.

Well, at least that’s what those of us who ac­tu­ally vote ex­pect: a real lesser of two evils.  It’s funny that here in the US the bla­tant in­com­pe­tency, cor­rup­tion, and stu­pidity of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is making our “lib­eral media” re­vise up­wards their opinion of the hor­ror­show that were the Bush Years. But these same people are not noticing how bril­liantly the Obama Era stands out from the id­iots that sand­wiched his presidency.

The Branding of Arthur

I have not ac­tively watched tele­vi­sion nor fol­lowed its cul­ture for decades. Thus, my ex­po­sure to Rus­sell Brand has been very lim­ited, in­deed. I have never watched him on his show nor as a gust on others’ shows. I 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. ~

Evan and Reid’s—who also claim they have never voted!—article shows Brand as ar­tic­u­late and in­formed, even if I com­pletely dis­agree with his methods of dealing with the many prob­lems he and I agree upon.

That said, I en­joyed Brand’s per­for­mance as Arthur in the 2011 re­make of Arthur. Granted, Dudley Moore will for­ever be the “real” Arthur for his per­for­mance in the 1981 orig­inal, 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 per­haps too childish at times. Un­for­tu­nately, as a whole the rest of the movie was ex­ces­sive and unnecessary.


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