By Chris Marsden in Britain:
Revolution: The witch-hunting of Russell Brand continues
3 December 2014
There are few public figures in Britain who have been subjected to such a torrent of abusive comment by media pundits as Russell Brand.
Camilla Long, in Rupert Murdoch’s Sunday Times, was one of a list of right-wing and pseudo-liberal commentators who utilised the launch of Brand’s new book, Revolution [London: Century, 2014], to denounce the comedian and actor for raising the fact that there is no one worth voting for in a political set-up dominated by big business and for urging that there should be a “revolution” to change the world.
Long ridicules Brand for his “mincing tintinnabulations [!], his squawking convulsions, his constant garbling of words,” for being “the herpes of geopolitical debate” and “mediocre, hypocritical, dancing, prancing and arrogant.”
The basis of her outrage is made clear when she complains of Brand’s “reductive child’s ‘them’ and ‘us’ narrative”. By this, she means the numerous occasions where he has railed against grotesque levels of social inequality and corruption to make his case for a revolution that cannot be accomplished through existing political mechanisms.
This is Brand’s crime of crimes in the eyes of every one of his accusers. A few celebrities have been roped in to hopefully counter Brand’s charismatic appeal. Richard Bacon, advertising his own programme about wealth inequality, insists that Brand telling people not to vote is “very unhelpful”. His own criticism of “wealth disparity” is “not a left-wing student tirade… We’re not sitting around saying let’s put a great big tax on wealthy people, We’re not communists. It’s not something crazy.”
In every case these layers simply provide window dressing for the editorial message of the big business media.
Significantly the collected ranks of Guardian journalists are the only ones more incensed than the right wing over Brand. …
Anyone with a shred of political integrity or class consciousness understands that Brand must be defended against such loathsome, conformist bile, articulated by the smug, self-satisfied upper middle-class media servants of the ruling elite. Individually, they hate Brand because he has dared to challenge the status quo from which they benefit. And all references to Brand’s wealth to demonstrate his supposed “hypocrisy”–coming from this quarter–are simply jealousy, combined with a real sense of shock and outrage that someone can so readily bite the hand that feeds them.
But there is a broader social and political impulse to the formation of such a chorus. Brand is attacked because his message, however confused, is closer to political reality and to the sentiments of broad layers of the young people who are his main audience, than the thousands of column inches produced by the innumerable media hacks assembled against him. It is not Brand who is the main target.
Of all the charges levelled against Brand, the one that stands out as most false is that of being a hypocrite. Nothing he has said or done in the recent period appears to be anything other than genuinely motivated. He is someone who came from a working class background, sought escape in drugs, then through fame and fortune; got it in spades and then, by his own admission, found it all somewhat hollow and unsatisfying. Perhaps because of his origins and his position as an outsider, even though at times having been reduced to being the modern-day equivalent of a court jester, his reaction has been to look again at the fate of those he left behind in his personal journey of social advancement.
Unfortunately, Brand is not in a position to match his sympathy for the working class and oppressed layers with anything approaching a perspective through which to oppose the corporate elite and the economic system he now finds to be repugnant.
His Revolution, because it seeks earnestly to explain what he means by the term, is in many ways far weaker and more problematic than his generally engaging encounters with the reptile-like figures that people Fox News in the US or with Evan Davis and his egotistical right-wing forerunner, Jeremy Paxman, on Britain’s Newsnight.
Russell Brand should have spoken to some actual revolutionaries rather than just left-wing writers for his book Revolution, says SOLOMON HUGHES: here.
The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson has penned an extraordinary attack on the comedian and activist Russell Brand: here.
No More Page 3 step up their campaign against the Sun. Feminist writer argues that editor David Dinsmore and owner Rupert Murdoch are terrified of campaigners: here.