I've just watched a rerun of Russell Brand with Ed Millaband and all it did was confirm to me that this two bit headline grabbing idiot is a total joke!
How quickly the world forgets that this low life along with Jonathan Ross were sacked by the BBC for making offensive telephone calls live on air to the veteran actor Andrew Sachs telling him they shagged his grand daughter and now a few years on uneducated idiots are calling him some sort of revolution type hero. How sad is that? To me Russell Brand is a moron, and his ‘revolution’ is garbage!
A little context first. I don’t normally waist my time on this type political garbage on this blog or for tabloid BS, but I’m making an exception because it involves a movie star and the gross display of absolute idiocy here demands a response. So, before reading on, watch this interview that Russell Brand gave to the BBC’s “Newsnight” program in which, among other bits of drivel, Brand talks about how he doesn’t vote and seems to take pride in (not) doing so before going on to babble about “alternative structures” and so forth.
Need convincing??? have a look.
You must agree what a total load of drivel that is if you could understand what he was talking about?
Let’s break it down, point by point:
- At about the 25-second mark, Brand says he doesn’t vote, then Paxman asks how he has any authority to talk about politics. That’s a dumb question, in that anyone can talk about anything and just because Brand doesn’t vote doesn’t necessarily mean he’s unaware of political issues and doesn’t have opinions. However, Brand quickly goes off the rails by saying he doesn’t get authority from “this pre-existing paradigm” and says he looks elsewhere for “alternatives that might be of service to humanity.” First, there’s no way Brand would be editing a political magazine (he’s editing an issue of The New Statesman focusing on revolution) were it not for the fact that he’s a famous actor and “controversial,” to say nothing of rich (we’ll come back to that). Second, while there’s absolutely no doubt that the current system is messed up (Exhibit A: The government shutdown), Brand’s “alternatives” are so vague that he might as well not be saying anything at all.
- When Paxman presses Brand on his “alternative political systems,” Brand gives a cop out answer and says “Well I’ve not invented it yet.” If Brand is as smart as he thinks he is and has given his revolution the amount of thought he’s indicated, then he should be able to provide some sort of model for how things could be better. To just dismiss the current system outright without providing an alternative is no better than the tea party types who keep saying “no” to things like health care reform without saying how they’d address the issue of providing health insurance to those who need it.
- Brand does list a few things the government shouldn’t do: Destroy the planet, shouldn’t create massive economic disparity, shouldn’t ignore the needs of the people, capping it off with “the burden of proof is on the people with the power.” Brand is right: Government shouldn’t do those things, and they should be held accountable for their actions. But this isn’t revolutionary; this is basic high school civics. In fact, it’s the basis for the modern system. If you don’t like the guys in charge and what they’re doing, vote them out. Or, if you’re Russell Brand, just sit back, don’t vote and complain.
- When Paxman calls Brand on his hypocrisy and says that voting is how it works in a democracy, Brand says “well I don’t think it’s working very well.” Well, yeah. The system doesn’t work if people DON’T VOTE. If all of the disaffected hipsters who hate the system so much actually voted and made themselves heard, then we probably WOULD have a more responsive system and the people in power would probably do a better job of helping out those they represent.
- Brand says he doesn’t vote not out of “apathy,” but out of “weariness and indifference.” If he cares as much as he says he does, then that’s no excuse. You can still vote while fighting for your favorite causes, and given that his mythical alternative systems aren’t in place, he has to work with what he has. This is straight hypocrisy right here.
- Brand goes on to use a bunch of big words and say things like “voting for it (the system) is tacit complicity with that system.” No, no it isn’t. Voting is the bare minimum of engagement required of a citizen, and its the best way we have in our current system of working to create change. If you can’t be bothered to vote, then you have no right to complain that the system isn’t representing you.
- Brand says “people are voting already, and that’s what’s creating the current paradigm.” Ignoring the fact that he keeps recycling the same big words, the fact is everyone is NOT voting already. Presidential elections generate about 50 percent turnout in the United States. They haven’t topped 60 percent since 1968. That’s a whole 40 percent of the population that, for whatever reason, isn’t being heard. For local and state elections, which actually effect more people on a day-to-day basis, the turnout is much worse. Given the nature of voting demographics, the people who aren’t voting are likely younger voters and minorities, who are often the ones complaining the most about not being heard. I won’t go so far as to say all of them don’t vote because they’re lazy, but it’s likely true for some of them, and if they DID vote they might actually see some of the change they’re asking for.
-At about the 2-minute mark, Brand starts in on how an indifferent system “administrates for large corporations.” Now, I won’t be so foolish as to deny that corporations have major influence on government policy (see: Mitt Romney and his “corporations are people” remark), but part of the reason they have so much influence is spend a LOT of time lobbying officials, whereas most people don’t. But we also know that politicians listen to people; in the government shutdown, most Republicans in the House of Representatives ignored the advice of business leaders and voted not to end the shutdown because they were worried about tea party activists back home. The tea party may have been misguided in that instance, but there’s no question that they have influence, in large part because they’re loud, organized and VOTE in large numbers. If liberals got as organized and as vocal as the tea party, they could easily wield just as much influence.
-There’s a big underlying hypocrisy in Brand’s argument: He has gotten very wealthy off of the capitalist, corporate system he’s decrying. The movie studios that finance and release his films are owned by some of the biggest corporate behemoths in the world: Time Warner, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Comcast, Sony, etc. That same system allows him to charge whatever he wants for people to go see his live performances. For him to talk about socialism and equality while he’s one of the rich he’s speaking out against is gobsmackingly audacious and hypocritical.
- “Profit is a filthy word,” Brand says at one point. Oh, so is he going to work for free now? Somehow I doubt it. And those heavy taxes on the rich he’s calling for would likely hit him as well. Let’s see how happy he is were those taxes to actually take effect.
- To prove just how much of an attention monger he’s trying to be, Brand takes his eyes off Paxman at about the 5:30 mark to look at the camera instead and say “don’t bother voting.” It’s clear that he wants this to be his soundbite, and therefore that he wants to be known as someone being “controversial.” Make no mistake: This is all about Brand helping and hyping himself, not any real desire for change or inspiring new thinking.
- At about the 6-minute mark, Brand says “facetiousness has as much value as seriousness.” Again, if he’s as concerned about the system as he says he is, then he knows it’s no laughing matter and that taking these problems seriously is the only way that there will be any hope of fixing them. And when Paxman responds that, “we’re not going to solve the world’s problems with facetiousness,” Brand says “we’re not going to solve them with the current system. At least facetiousness is funny.” To reiterate an earlier point, we’d have a better chance of solving our problems with the current system if people voted and got engaged.
- A bit later, Brand says he’s just here to raise attention to some new ideas and defers to people who are “more qualified.” Then why note get those people to run for office and vote for them? If they’re the ones you want in charge, then put them there.
- After a few minutes talking about Britain-specific issues that don’t really bear going into here, Brand says “the change is not radical enough.” I’m sure I sound like a broken record at this point, but working within the system and voting and actually getting involved beyond just spouting off is one way to speed up the radical change Brand is looking for.
- Paxman’s one great point come near the end of the interview. When Brand goes into his “why bother voting until a real alternative shows up?” spiel again, Paxman comes back with “because by the time somebody comes along you might think it worth voting for, it may be too late.” This is the killer argument right here. Brand can wait for his revolution all he wants, but until it arrives, this is the system we have to work with. So rather than pretend to be too cool to get involved, he needs to shut up and start doing real work and activism. He can start with a voter registration drive.