The irony and stupidity of Russell Brand’s “revolution”

Brand

Lizzie Roberts criticises the rank hypocrisy of Russell Brand’s political stances.

The infamous Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman and Russell Brand has been bandied around social networks in the last few days, since airing on Thursday night, leading to cries of “revolution!” across the Twittersphere. Before we all get carried away by Brand’s newly found Che Guevara persona, let’s take a look at the irony and downright stupidity of his “argument.”

Firstly, since when was it normal to take political advice from a cheating, ex-addict, offensive-causing comedian such as Russell Brand? His controversial public rants and actions have never left him in the best light. For example, in September this year he clearly exemplified his idea of “comedy”. Brand spoke about the uneasy past of fashion label Hugo Boss, who was sponsoring the show, in regard to their history with Nazi party, cracking Nazi jokes and even performing a salute. As well as the even more infamous Sachsgate scandal, this racked up 40,000 complaints to the BBC, eventually leading to both Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross being dropped from the broadcaster. The scandal involving a “grotesque” phone call to Andrew Sachs, about his granddaughter’s relations with Russell Brand, caused extreme controversy. Though it seems his latest media escapade has led to this all being swept under the carpet, and himself hailed as a ‘hero of the common people.’

Secondly, I’m curious as to whether anyone has read the adjoining article in the New Statesmen, or simply watched the 10 minute clip on YouTube, before signing up to his Utopian revolution? After attempting to read it myself, I could not get past the first 1000 words of the 4,500 plus article, before beginning to see that it was just all meaningless dribble. One of the things that stood out to me the most was Brand’s far-reaching statement that “most people” are “utterly disenchanted by politics.” I agree it is fair to say that most people are disengaged with the parties of today in the UK, but that does not meant they are disengaged with politics all together. There are many ways to be involved in politics in today’s society, which do not have to be remotely connected to a particular party or political stance: signing petitions, joining pressure groups, campaigning or blogging to name a few. The 2011 London riots for instance, though they may appear to have been mindless acts of sporadic violence, are still a type of political participation in the form of public protest.

I could not get past the first 1000 words of the 4,500 plus article, before beginning to see that it was just all meaningless dribble.

Thirdly, I wish to focus on the irony of Russell Brand himself. During the interview Paxman asked him what his “utopia” would be like, with Brand replying “I tell you what it won’t be a like, a huge disparity between rich and poor.” Would you agree that this is slightly ironic coming from a man who has a net worth of $15 million? It is astonishing that he believes he is qualified to rant about the disparity between the rich and poor, and the “disenfranchised, disillusioned underclass,” when he is living a life of luxury. He goes on to proclaim that “profit is a filthy word,” meaning he must have conveniently forgotten his most recent purchase of a $2.2 million mansion in the Hollywood hills.

What has riled me the most about this interview is the hysteria he has caused. People seem to be jumping on the bandwagon against voting, forgetting the successes of our long established democratic system and tweeting in ill-informed support of his imaginary revolution.  To quote a few messages I have read in the last few days “so how do we vote for Russell Brand?”, “Listen to the man talk, I’ll sign up for that revolution!” and “he’s got my vote, bravo Russell Brand.” The irony of it all being that the man has never voted in his life. After his tirade over the “broken system,” Jeremy Paxman reminds Brand that “of course it (the system) doesn’t work for them if they don’t bother to vote.” Facebook pages such as “Jeremy Clarkson for PM” have shown up over the years after his controversial remarks or “Hugh Grant for PM after his acting role in Love Actually. Now a Facebook group with 60,000 plus likes entitled “Russell Brand for PM” has sprung up in the last few days, which has filled me with even more despair.

What has riled me the most about this interview is the hysteria he has caused.

Russell Brand may be able to give a list of all the things that are wrong in today’s society, as I am sure we all can, but he does not offer a clear nor coherent solution to such problems. He explains to Paxman that he wishes for “A socialist egalitarian system, based on a massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies exploiting the environment.” So Mr Brand, when do I get my share of your $15 million net worth?

Lizzie is a second year History and Politics student at Lancaster University, with a strong passion for American politics, equality and good old British sarcasm.

16 COMMENTS

  1. haha so basically Brand is a communist who is against private corporations. He wants a utopia with limited commercial output and competitiveness. Limited economic freedom / liberalism. No incentives to work due to no disparity between incomes. Inevitable corruption and the resultant classes of super elites. Inevitable economic ruin due to globalisation and uncompetitive commercial industries, and so on. Yeah…..that sure sounds like a utopia…….

  2. I actually came here to find evidence of Brand being an idiot but this article has totally killed my interest in degrading the man. The thinking pattern in this article is not productive. You are free to think as you wish though… but in the future if you have an idea, think critically about it. Don’t stop halfway, get to the bottom of it. There’s a bigger picture to look at.

    I agree fully with John Bull, Jack, Chris, Ukcia, and some others here. They’ve already completely explained all the thoughts I had while reading.

    Hypocrite or not, is what Brand says completely false? Perhaps he is stuck in the web he criticizes. Everyone has problems. A lot of us “bad people” know right from wrong, but it’s not always easy when everything around us is fucked up. If everyone acknowledged this, maybe eventually the world would start working TOGETHER to become better rather than criticizing a few hypocrites. If you see a hypocrite, help them. They know they’re wrong. Remind them. Remind everyone. Be productive. Help everyone become conscious.

    Reading your badly-supported criticism on Russell Brand reminded me to also not criticize others without really thinking. So thanks! I don’t mean to give you bad feelings. He probably is an idiot, but so am I. But I also know a handful of annoyingly horrid people and this man is no where near their level. Use your energy to pick apart the evil ones instead.

  3. You spare very little thought for what he actually says and just proceed to insult the guy Daily Mail style. Badly written, try-hard politic satire from someone that is barely old enough to vote.

  4. Russel brand has done a good job of getting people talking but thats all this is. He is very witty and has a great way with words but i’m afraid its quite clear that his understanding of social, economic and political issues are skin deep, generalised reiterations of the opinions of men and woman who have spent much more time and effort into analysing and exploring the issues of which he talks about. I think he’s watched Zeitgeist and Esoteric Agenda. Russell Brand is entitled to his opinion but should not use his celebrity status to trick people into believing he is an authority on these subjects when I really don’t think he has spent much time studying them, personally or intellectually.

  5. I can’t stand Russell Brand, I don’t find him in the least funny and his way of speaking crawls under my skin, but I’m sorry, he has touched a nerve because in essence he has a very good point.

    You write:

    ” I agree it is fair to say that most people are disengaged with the parties of today in the UK”

    Well, think about that a bit because of course it’s parties that we’re asked to vote for, we don’t get to vote for anything else. So what are we supposed to do? Vote for something we don’t want?

    Let’s be frank here, I’m nearly 60 and have always regarded it as my duty to vote. But more than that it’s my duty to vote for the sort of world I want to see, it is not my duty to vote to keep the other lot out. The cold, hard fact is none of the main parties represent me now, I can’t in all honesty support any of them.

    What Russell Brand has done, I hope, is to make public this disenchantment a large number of people feel and perhaps it’s time you lot – politicians – started to take it seriously. It is YOUR job to appeal to US, not the other way around. If people really are likely to stay away form the ballot box you can’t blame Russell Brand, you are responsible for it.

    So what I’m saying is if I have someone to vote for, I’ll vote for them. Right now I don’t. What are you going to do about it?

    Derek Williams

    • The problem is if you allow ‘anyone’ to be voted in then it will all just come down to social media / popularity contests. You’ll have idiots like Russell Brand, a person with no intelligent education at all, being in charge and running the country into deluded utopian ruins. That’s why the party system works.

  6. Russell Brand is a narcissistic adolescent, far too fond of the sound of his own voice and prone to flights of fantasy that really are nothing to do with the other seven billion inhabitants of this planet.

    He is dangerous because his silly ideas, fatuous attitude and offensive behaviour are given far too much airtime.

    Most worrying of all is that he is too dumb to see that way he is being manipulated by the forces of the establishment. If you get Russell involved in your next cover up (for instance the HASC drugs inquiry) you’ll be seen as hip, cool and down with ‘da yoof’.

    The man is a first rate prat and a waste of space.

  7. Criticising Brand for saying what an awful lot of people are thinking is fatuous.

    Add this ” which has filled me with even more despair” and we’re getting a definite emo vibe out there. 21? oh well, maybe in a few years..

    Yes, it’s ridiculous when people attack the messenger rather than the message, isn’t it?

  8. I don’t think his credibility or past is anything to help or hinder his current standing. His idea is what is important, not the man himself. Personally I think he speaks like a teenager with dreams of anarchism and ideal communism (Much like I did only a few years ago).

    If the system is going to change, it has to be by the rules of the current system. Democracy is a working system, it is just some of the issues within it need to be changed (In my opinion). This can all be sorted within democracy without the need for this social media ‘revolution’. A lot great thinkers, ideologists and so on start like he is however with a completely unrealistic absurd idea that gets a lot of support and criticism. With time I think he will see more of how to integrate his idea into the real world, make it more fitting to all people and could spark some interesting ideas.

    In summary social media make a big deal out of a small thing because it’s a trend to.

  9. I find it absolutely hilarious that you’re criticising Russell Brand for speaking freely about his opinions of politics today because of the position that he’s in.

    The brilliant thing about our country is that everyone is entitled to an opinion and is able to voice that opinion. Freedom of speech is a basic human right but you seem to have the view that Russell Brand isn’t entitled to speak about politics because of his past or the fact that he hasn’t voted.

    Just because you study politics, doesn’t mean that you have more of a right to voice your opinions than he does. This article has made you come across as entirely self-righteous and quite frankly a bit stupid.

  10. His cheating is irrelevant, his addict past gives him an insight into the lives of people on the fringes of society, and when you suggest his opinions are invalid because he is “offensive causing”, your underlying point is as spurious as your use of language.

    What you call ‘Nazi jokes’ would more properly be described as anti-Nazi jokes. I thought it was clear that the salute was part of a sustained attack on the company’s embarrassing past. Perhaps your love of sarcasm leaves no time for comprehending irony.

    This is rather brought into focus by your paragraph exploring ‘the irony of Russell Brand himself’, whatever that means. Please enlighten us as to how much wealth one can accrue before one’s concern for the welfare of others becomes ‘ironic’. Do you have an exact figure?

    Don’t you think his experience of living as a penniless drug addict for several years qualifies him better than most to comment on what life on the breadline is like? But what do I know, I’m not studying History and Politics. I must lack your academic rigor, which, by the way, oozes from every line of this piece.

  11. Let’s not forget that this is the man who was fired from US MTV for turning up for work the day after 9/11 dressed as Osama Bin Laden…

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