Monday, November 3, 2014

Russell Brand’s Revolution For Morons

Russell Brand is a very mixed bag. Michael Moynihan has some decent observations at Daily Beast on the smelly part of the bag:
Russell Brand is done with acting. Let’s be honest: how could he indulge the frivolous parties, the sacks full of cash, the slobbering fans demanding photos and autographs, when the planet is being molested by capitalism? When an economic chasm has opened up between rich and poor? The trappings of fame and the comforts of extreme wealth are utterly boring, especially considering that he already has them and, as he told a recent interviewer, it “makes me feel guilty.”...the multimillionaire actor recently declared that, “Profit is a filthy word” and promised to dedicate himself exclusively to revolutionary politics, with the aim of consigning capitalism to the dustbin of history...

Brand is now doing the rounds promoting Revolution, a meandering and pretentious mélange of student politics, junk history, and goofy mysticism. Now he will just proselytize and wait. He’s Lenin in Switzerland, Mao on the Long March, Castro in the Sierra Maestra.

Many of Brand’s critics have noted that Revolution is full of vacuous nonsense, like his argument—if that’s the right word—that the economy “is just a metaphorical device. It’s not real, that’s why it’s got the word ‘con’ in it.”

And there is always the easy-but-true charge of Hollywood hypocrisy. Sure, it’s amusing that Brand rages about corporations and an economic system that has allowed him to loaf around a mansion muttering about the rich. More low hanging fruit: the $37 Russ-as-Che-Guevara t-shirts available on his website. Or how about when he was ejected from a Hugo Boss event for a spittle-flecked rant about Hugo Boss’s complicity with the Nazi regime, never recognizing the irony of his triumphant escape in a black Mercedes?...

Brand proclaims himself “a big fan of [Fidel] Castro and [Che] Guevara” because “they were sexy, cool, tough” and the fetid autocracy they imposed on the Cuban people “was a remarkable success in many respects.” (Fidel is also described as being “double cool” for a four-hour, filibustering courtroom speech, while Che Guevara is described as a “dear, beautiful, morally unimpeachable” revolutionary.)

And what were those successes, in a country that routinely ranks as one of the least free countries on the planet? “Education for everyone, land sharing, emancipation of women, and equal rights for black Cubans.” This latter achievement would come as a welcome surprise to black Cubans, who are second-class citizens—equal only in the sense that, like all Cubans, they too have no rights. And yes, education is for everyone—provided they want to read wooden agitprop about how education in Cuba is for everyone.

Ironically, Brand sees himself as an ideological soulmate of George Orwell, whose books are banned in Cuba.

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