British comedian, breakout star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall
and generally entertaining person Russell Brand made millions of fans on the Internet when he figuratively knocked a well-respected British journalist across the goddamn room with revolutionary rhetoric.
Most impressively, he did so without saying anything new at all.
Brand, who recently did a guest editor stint on the revolution-themed issue of the New Statesman
, went toe to toe with BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman in an interview based around one question: Why should anyone listen to the political leanings of a guy who doesn't vote?
Admirably, Brand didn't stumble at any point throughout the interview; he didn't freeze, he didn't bend to Paxman's quality questioning, and he even found ways to stun the veteran journalist into silence, rebounding the hostility of the interview back into Paxman's lap.
The problem I'm seeing with his interview is that Brand isn't saying anything that hasn't been said a million times before by armchair anarchists the world over: Why bother voting? Corporations are ruling the Western world! We need change! I'm using large words to astound you, as your previous perception of me was one of a drug-addict-turned-comedian! It's time to wake up!
I'm not saying that Brand isn't an impressive orator, that he's not quick-witted, or that he doesn't understand the problems at hand in Western society; it's that his talking points could be (and have been) repeated ad nauseam
by members of the Occupy movement (which he references in the video), by message-board revolutionaries and by high schoolers looking to get a rise out of their teachers. His words just sound prettier.
Russell Brand is a sharp guy; he's well-read, and he knows how to crack a damn good joke, particularly in relation to Nazis and menswear designers
. But the day that a revolution is started on the back of a comedian throwing out the same ideas that are espoused in the dregs of Reddit's Politics forum is a sad day indeed.