Russell Brand: poseur, prat…or person of principle?

October 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm (anarchism, BBC, celebrity, Jim D, libertarianism, middle class, New Statesman, revolution, strange situations, television, wild man)

Having watched, pondered and re-watched Paxman’s interview with comedian Russell Brand on last night’s Newsnight, I’m still not sure what to make of it. My initial response was that Brand is a pretentious, incoherent idiot, spouting a lot of pseudo-revolutionary hot air and half-digested anarchistic platitudes. But several people I’ve spoken to today told me they were impressed by him. So I’ve watched it again and have to admit that, after a facetious start, he becomes more sympathetic as he gets angrier. But I still think he’s a prat – and a banal prat at that – and wonder what the hell the New Statesman is playing at, hiring him as a guest editor this week.

Judge for yourself…

…and feel free to let us know what you think.

23 Comments

  1. ted edwards said,

    I think that he is well intentioned but forgets that he is a millionaire himself now. And given his latest girlfriend clearly mixing with the type of people with very little sympathy for those of us suffering in the working class.

  2. Russell Brand: poseur, prat…or person of principle? | OzHouse said,

    […] Oct 24 2013 by admin […]

  3. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    If you ran that interview backwards it would actually be considerably more impressive as the nonsense is mostly at the beginning and the passion at the end is real.

    And for the New Statesman its presumably a whole bunch of new buyers in the younger demographics some of whom might possibly even carry on buying it.

  4. suppg02 said,

    At 645,000+ hits, don’t knock him too much. Alright , so he’s not steeped in revolutionary history, but he can learn on the job.

  5. dagmar said,

    He might double the Staggers’ circulation for a week, which shouldn’t be difficult.

    Otherwise: if Mr Brand being on Newsnight and in the New Statesman means he won’t be on the front page of the Guardian website for at least a week, it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Babs said,

    He maybe a prat but at least this prat speaks of the underclass, socialism, egalitarianism, the massive divide between the haves and the have nots world wide and the environmental destruction we are wrecking on this planet. How many politicians mention those taboo words?

    Our moneyed politicians are just a bunch of middle of the road centre centre liars in the pockets of the wealthy few with no guts to speak out and challenge the status quo.

    Not surprised the elitists and their servants in the media have gone after him on Twitter et al but the rest of us should cut this man some slack (unless you like the status quo and disaster capitalism in which case it makes perfect sense to attack him).

    One of my main qualms with Russell is he’s been on Alex Jones radio talk show which I’ve not yet listened to, I only hope he’s not a deranged conspiracy theorist like Jones is.

  7. dagmar said,

    “He maybe a prat but at least this prat speaks of the underclass, socialism, egalitarianism, the massive divide between the haves and the have nots world wide and the environmental destruction we are wrecking on this planet. How many politicians mention those taboo words?”

    Indeed, Babs. I saw an interview he gave on Channel 4 News (I think) (Channel 4 News has dumbed down a lot in recent years, hasn’t it?) and to be honest, it was more political with a capital p and more left wing than most of what gets put out as ‘current affairs’, ‘analysis’ or ‘politics’ on British television these days. Which was, in some sense, quite sad, but also suggested there’s more to Brand (from Grays, like myself brought up in Dagenham, so I can imagine he can’t have had an easy time in his youth) than the “Sachsgate” stuff suggested, which was when he first arrived (unfortunately, I’ll be honest) on my radar. It still doesn’t mean the Guardian need to run a ‘story’ (usually a non-story) about him daily, but I suppose it brings them the clicks they need to get advertising revenue/one of the website editors has a severe crush on him and thinks this will mean he or she will be able to get into his pants. On that front though M. Cyrus looks set to banish Brand from the Guardian front page. maybe a sub-editor is on holiday?

  8. dagmar said,

    And: prat and poseur, yes. But less annoying, in my opinion, than Owen Jones, who has probably never been asked, “What you want is a revolution, isn’t it?” or led an interviewer to say “I’m not having a go at you because you want a revolution. A lot of people want a revolution.”

    • Tim Childs said,

      Owen Jones is just another Middle class academic saying what most Working class people know anyway, and aiming it at Middle class people who want to be seen as being ‘concerned’ and caring as long as nothing fundamentally changes.

      Will there be a revolution? No, thank goodness! Who wants a violent revolution anyway? We need a seachange in the way our culture works, we need to stop lionising people because of their high social status whoever they are, and start challenging why Oxbridge types and private school types walk into powerful jobs even if they have little talent and the rest of us are set against each other fighting for the crumbs. And most ‘revolutionaries’ are usually Middle class types living in a fantasy world playing at being anarchists or anarcho-syndicalists or whatever pretentious bollocks it all is, when most people just want a fair minimum wage, decent chances to get on and to be able to pay their bills adequately.

      • dagmar said,

        Labour’s five point pledge for the next election:

        1. The right to ask Sir, for some more (please)
        2. Half a sixpence
        3. That’s it.

        That’s all we want, ain’t it?

      • Babs said,

        “when most people just want a fair minimum wage, decent chances to get on and to be able to pay their bills adequately.”

        But power has to shift. We can’t just have the above, a dictator could provide that. We really need to empower the the masses, educate, change the system we live in to be more egalitarian, democratic and fairer to us all. Also it needs to be taking place worldwide not just here in the UK, it has to be an international effort and it needs to be taking place in the worlds most powerful countries such as then US otherwise such movements will face stiff foreign opposition.

  9. jschulman said,

    I don’t think that Mr. Childs has a very good idea of what a socialist revolution in an advanced capitalist country (or continent) would entail. The point is NOT to start a literal civil war.

    As early as 1895 Engels noted how conditions in Europe had “become far more unfavourable for civilian fighters and far more favourable for the military.” Conditions for insurrection today are even worse, frustrating the old vision of splitting the armed forces and/or arming workers. The average worker does not know how to use Abrams tanks, armored personnel carriers, or fighter-jets or bombers. The achievement of socialism now requires a truly critical mass; as Engels said, “Where it is a question of a complete transformation of the social organisation, the masses themselves must also be in on it.” Again, the transition to socialism requires the winning over of the majority of rank-and-file soldiers — not merely splitting them — in order to ensure that they will disobey orders given by right-wing putschists against the socialist supra-majority. Hence, socialists must take seriously recruitment and education within the armed forces, and even among the police(!), as the movement re-grows. (We therefore ought to be committed to universal public service and — as Engels was — to universal military service.)

    So the point is not instigate violence, but to build a movement of such a size that can ensure that counterrevolutionary violence never has the chance to occur, at least on a mass scale.

  10. rawlinsview said,

    So I would not vote for him for public office, though he would be in most places an improvement (at least he’s funny), and he is encouraging me not to vote, and I would not vote for him to represent my views on the executive or political committee of my organization, well actually I don’t have one at this time anyway. To his credit he is clear to say that he does not have a solution and is not running himself for anything.
    In a different context I could pick apart everything he says line by line and show how it is inconsistent with the best practice interpretations of scientific socialism. But….
    From my point of view he is more than welcome to go on in that way for almost as long as he wishes. If it opens the door to one good conversation with a co-worker, or adds a student reader to your or my incurably dense blog then he has done a job well.

  11. finbar said,

    Russel,.Your present adulation as a artist will not differ under a socialist care, as our care does not afford oppression.Our care does not extend to exploitation, and strives for human betterment for all.,without stardom and its wealth!s trappings, adulation of expense.and its privilege,what you recon Russel,are you one of us or just a ranting comedian with nothing but your ego to shine against a question of your class being.

  12. Sue R said,

    I was intrigued by the comment above re Russell Brand’s girlfriend, so I did a bit of googling. He was dating Jemima Khan (although it is now reported that they have broken up as of 30 September). now doubt that goes some way to explaining his half-digested revolutionism. I don’t know Brand’ssocial or class background, but if he comes from Dagenham he probably has a working class background or petty bourgois. It’s not surprising that he should be anti-establishment as most working class people are, the problem is getting them organised. My daughters tell me that he broke up with Katy Perry (who seems a very nice person) because he wanted children and she didn’t. Don’t know if it’s true.

  13. Sue R said,

    That should be ‘He was dating Jemima Khan….no doubt that goes some way to explaining…. (Nothing is as sexy as a bloke who agrees with you. Take note, nerds.)

  14. Pinkie said,

    “Russell Brand: poseur, prat…or person of principle?”

    It is possible to be all three.

  15. Mark said,

    Too much the outraged liberal/anarchist/hippy here. No real analysis or explanation. Rubbish upon stilts.

  16. Jim Denham said,

    • Andrew Coates said,

      Yes Jim I think she said all we’d want to say.

      I mean why the fuck would we spend all those days in union and political meetings if we could all Get To the Greek.

      • dagmar said,

        Having considered the interview a bit more, it was a bit strange, to be honest. The content may have been ok, in some ways, but the *way* he spoke made it either sound like he’d rehearsed it all and had learned a load of lefty soundbites by rote, or he is a 17 year old who’s just joined the SWP and is still experiencing the ‘bliss in this dawn to be alive’.

        As he isn’t the second, I am left wondering what the Redgraves and De La Tours and the rest of the WRP luvvies were like when they made political speeches. Did it come across as if they really meant it (of course, they were generally good, classically trained actors with experience at the likes of the RSC, quite unlike Brand), or could they have just been doing an advert for Corn Flakes or British Rail etc.?

  17. jimmy glesga said,

    He starts of with saying he does not know much about politics and has never voted. Then goes on a political rant. The true Celeb. Newsnight must have been stuck for news that night. I wonder if he Brand was aware of the situation at Grangemouth.

  18. truelabour said,

    Reblogged this on truelabour.

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