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.