Let’s say you are a white male benefiting from the position your species has had for the last few hundred years with a world tour going on, wide coverage in most grand newspapers and a couple of Hollywood movies in the bank. Why would you possibly want a revolution?
Given my previous knowledge of Russell Brand, I’d say the answer is one of the following: He wants to save the world. He wants to be acknowledged as something more than a former drug addict with a sense of humour. He thinks the development has gone to far and feels the need to tour the world telling you about all the white male heroes responsible for it. Or, and this is very likely, he wants to shag someone who wants to save the world. Maybe I take that back and say all of the above. To some extent I believe in Russell.
I think he means well. He expresses a frustration that exists in a large portion of the working class today, and he does it beautifully by referring to his own past. He tells us how the politicians distanced themselves from the people in favour of large corporations and in the end made him, and many with him, so apathetic they became junkies. He also tells us how we are all on the same planet and should take care of each other instead of supporting global colonialism, and of course we support him. We supported Absolute Zero too, didn’t we? Still, I can’t help but ask what Russell wants to do about the situation and what is supposed to happen after this well financed revolution of his? Are we all just to bury our voting ballots along with our needles, go to a sold out stand up show and shout fuck the world? Does that so called ‘change in the way we think’ change the world?
Sadly for us writers, writing is never enough, and a revolution is not just personal. Neither can it only be based on your own personal experience. In the very nature of the word revolution lies the need for it to be productive on behalf of the people as a whole. A successful revolution should create a fundamental change in the political system and power structure it attacks – it tears down to be able to rebuild. Saying you don’t want to vote isn’t going to do the trick in itself if you don’t have an alternative. It’s like saying all your sexual desires will vanish when you enter a convent, and to be honest I’ve never believed in that. There is too much sodomy going on.
Turning to abstract figures like Che Guevara and Jesus for entertainment seems counter productive and not just because they are all men that look like Russell. We need more than that and we need it fast. At his best, I think Russell Brand can be a sharp voice for need for change on behalf of his generation of the unemployed with way too much time spent on cultivating their frustration in the large community of the internet needle in arm. At his worst I think he can only be adding up to the growing apathy of the world that he himself sees as the problem. That doesn’t leave us with a sense of revolution going on, that leaves us in the unconscious state of disillusion and neglect while not believing anyone can fix it. Still, I guess he’s got a lot right. Truth to be told: We all have to take action for a revolution to happen. And after all: Who doesn’t want to sleep with Russell Brand while saving the world?