Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Russell Brand 'Revolution'

So Russell Brand has been making some ripples. It seems people are either elevating him to legend status or are completely disgusted by the attention his recent interview has been given after going viral. And if you ask me, I think both sides of this argument are wrong.

I wouldn't go as far as suggesting he 'started a revolution' during his recent interview with Jeremy Paxman. And some have been claiming this, despite the fact rhetoric of this particular variety has been prevelent in culture for decades, likely centuries. But I also wouldn't suggest he is an evil socialist puppet either, like the other side of the coin has been. I thoroughly enjoyed and respected what Russell eloquently stated during the interview. This would probably be the tidbit that is pissing off the activists:
 
“A socialist egalitarian system based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment. I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced.”
 
Some of my fellow conspiracy nuts and activist freaks got an extreme case of butthurt, offended most by the use of the word 'socialist.' Certain words seem to trigger such disgust in the community, to the point of sending some of them into tirades and the very black-and-white thinking that is ironically highly reminiscent of political parties. Take the word globalization, for example.
  
A lot of the members of the activist / conspiracy communities immediately assume that any future case of globalization would lead us to an oppressive, New World Order controlled dystopia. Why would globalization always have to wind up as a negative, though? Is the hope of a world united together in peace working to move forward as a species that far fetched?

Globalization would make complete sense if all the worlds nations worked together cohesively as a planet, unified in its goals of the betterment of the species, the advancement of technologies, the abolishing of prejudice and oppression, the equality of all people from all walks of life. No more "third world" or "first world," just "one world."

 
It could obviously g
o the other way, of course, with us all getting face-raped by Reptilian shape-shifters in FEMA camps while the elite enact every bullet point on the Georgia Guidestones through devious and dangerous means. But it could also go the other way, with petty wars between nations being abandoned in favor of the necessary pursuit of planetary self-defense against the inevitable future threat of alien beings flying in to mine the DMT from our fluoride soaked pineal glands. Here's a thought...
  
How about we ignore what blanket terms he uses to describe his ideal political system, and instead listen to the bullet points he uses to strengthen his argument?
  
  • A massive redistribution of the wealth
  • Heavy taxation of corporations
  • Responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment
  • Marginalizing the importance of profit
 
They all seem like legit points to me.
   
A system based around warring political parties is so depressingly juvenile. When I hear a person discussing the state of the world, about social reform, I'll usually listen with an unbiased mindset. But when they start using terms like "liberal," "conservative," "democrat," "republican," "far left," "far right," "leftist," they almost immediately lose me, in that it almost invalidates whatever points they're trying to make. Why pigeon hole someone you disagree with a label? Most of these words aren't intended to be used as adjectives. Unless someone self-identifies as a liberal, calling them one in an attempt to trivialize their argument is fucking stupid. Don't attempt to mask the fact you can't debate the points they're making by dishing out tired political-themed insults, you generic asshole.
   
If you ask me, people of all walks of life, SPECIFICALLY POLITICIANS, need to speak personally, from their own perspective. They need to speak through experience vs. speaking peripheral opinions of whatever political party they choose to self-identify with. They need to stop using political parties and group mindsets to "strengthen" their arguments. They need to speak honestly and from the heart....not deceitfully and from the wallet.
   
When the conspiracy / activist community starts to ostracize any voice of dissent that doesn't align 100% with their views, it gives me a headache. Maybe you want to live in a peaceful anarchy and disagree with Russell Brand calling for a socialist system....but who cares? He is still calling for change, he is still voicing his discontent on the current government, he is still attacking mainstream media, literally mocking them on live TV. He is on our side of the fight. 
   
  Now in voicing this opinion, I must also admit I'm being somewhat hypocritical. I absolutely loath Rage Against the Machine, who are arguably also 'on our side of the fight.' But I also think Rage Against the Machine make sophomoric, garbage music that trivializes the voice of activism. Call me crazy, but mediocre angst fueled temper-tantrum rock rap isn't going to topple the machine. Nor do I trust a band who claims to be raging against the machine is actually raging against said machine when they are signed to Epic records. But that's a different discussion for a different day. Back to Russell Brand.
  
  
The most far-reaching and, in my opinion, most effective social commentary is usually comedic, satirical, musical, or artistic in nature. Wit, brevity, and artistic expression will always trump hyperbolic aggression. It's detrimental to the activist cause to merely bash people over the head in a condescending fashion, which is why comedy and music are so useful to offset the abrasive realities activists / social commentators are divulging to the general public.

People like Bill Hicks, Doug Stanhope, Douglas Adams, Frank Zappa, John Lennon, Trey Parker / Matt Stone, and others of their ilk have (or had) the ability to better navigate around censorship by 'masking' their messages with golden nuggets of comedy, music, and artistic expression.

That is why Russell Brand is making ripples right now - it's easier for people to relate to the guy making you laugh than it is to relate to the guy calling you a sheep through a megaphone.
I think the biggest reason I actually trust Russell Brand is on the correct side of the fight is because every time I've seen him get interviewed the interviewers attempt to take the piss out of him. It's absurd that the majority of journalists taxed with interviewing modern cultural figures trivialize any sort of dissenting thought. If you notice with these interviews, the dissenters always have impassioned, intellectually driven opinions they attempt to discuss. The interviewer then always goes on auto-pilot mode; acting smugly condescending, diverting the conversation away from the points the dissenter is making. Essentially they shoehorn the entire tone of the interview from an actual discussion to a mockery of whoever they are interviewing.
 
Look how they treated Ron Paul for decades. The journalists interviewing him never gave him the chance to share his opinion on matters. They manufactured this unwarranted aura of snide contempt for him. Any dissenters....honest politicians (which is practically an oxymoron), comedians who disguise potent social commentary as comedy to get away with it, celebrity activists like Jesse Ventura. They all get mocked by talking head journalists who lack the ability to have an amicable, spirited debate.

And that is why I don't appreciate seeing the same sort of behavior by activists, especially the smart, talented activists who are making waves and busting their asses for our rights. Don't taint the waves you're making, brahs, by balancing on the razors edge of activist and hipster. If you want to marginalize Russell Brands efforts and mock everyone inspired by his words, at least explain why you think he is an obvious puppet of the elite and everyone are such idiots for respecting his latest rhetoric. When I raged against Rage Against the Machine, I backed up my ridiculously hyperbolic rant with a number of reasons for having those opinions. Try doing the same, or at least add in a bit of comedy to off-set the smugness that is detrimental to our cause, is all I'm saying.

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