special disco mention #8: Russell Brand
Russell Brand has been many things over the course of his career – low rent entertainer, famously reformed drug addict, Mr Katy Brand, uber womanizer, bully of elderly british comedians. The least likely thing for him to morph into would have to be political spokesman, revolutionary agitator, but, then again, its a mad old world. After that interview with Paxman, Brand has been criticized, nae mauled, by large sections of the press. His chief crime (among many) appears to be his willingness to talk from the heart about his political views. How dare he, the long-haired dandy, come crashing onto the scene with something like an opinion? How foolish – a grown man speaking with passion in public?! How naive, a comedian talking of revolution?!!
The sneering dismissiveness of the press towards his passionate televised tirade masks an inconvenient truth – the proper crtiticizm and debate over the state of politics in 2013 should be lead by the press themselves, but they are too bound up in propping up the status quo, too rotten and cynical to open up a meaningful debate, too in bed with one political party or another to form a balanced opinion. The right wing press simply do all they can to keep a right wing government in power, the left wing press (whats left of it anyway) simply attack the policies of the right to bolster support for the left. Its like a game of ping pong. Russell Brands impassioned tirade when sitting face to face with Paxman was as much in frustration at the apathy and uselessness of the press as it was at the corruption in modern Politics. He took Paxman to task (a brave thing in itself) for not being open or honest about his own (obvious) frustrations with politicians and in doing so caused the rest of the journalism industry to pull up the shutters.
The truth of the matter is that its a sad day when a light entertainer has to become the face of a revolutionary movement – but perhaps its just a reflection of the way the media works these days. There are surely many great thinkers out there – political activists, social scientists, agitators – whos ideas can help forge a future away from this horrible, corrupted mess – but in a world so obsessed with the cult of the individual, perhaps we need a well known face, preferably with lots of twitter followers, to be the one to galvanise support for ideas outside the conservative mainstream. If thats the case, then let it be Russell Brand. In real terms, he has a lot more to lose than he stands to gain – so good on him. Well stand beside you, Russell. Special Disco Mention goes out to you, you big over-sexed, highly-preened, millionaire revolutionary.