Russell Brand, I am a convert!
THE world is clearly in flux. Men are women, women are men. Conspiracy theories are true, the ‘truth’ is a conspiracy. Perhaps most alarmingly of all, Russell Brand is beginning to talk sense.
I was certainly no fan of his for many years. Excessively verbose, I suspected his flowery language a thin veneer for various degrees of sophistry. No doubt his being vocally and often aggressively on ‘the left’ was the root of much of my displeasure. His Question Time appearance - of calling Nigel Farage a ‘pound shop Enoch Powell’ fame – cemented my opinion.
Yet we live in strange times. The bread-and-circuses of yesteryear, where Team Blue pitted themselves against Team Red - although there was not an iota of difference between them - has withered irreversibly over the course of the last few years.
No longer are people divided by left and right. Instead, the dividing line is those who swallow wholesale the narrative fed to them by self-appointed ‘experts’ and who willingly surrender their freedom and liberty, versus those who question what they see and refuse to blindly believe.
Many members of that second group find themselves with strange bedfellows, often erstwhile assumed nemeses. That we had more in common than we had previously assumed, and that we were merely playing into the hands of those who wish to distract us, is, one hopes, a lesson we will all learn.
For while I do not share many of Brand’s opinions on certain things, he is, at least, asking sincere questions and poking holes in ‘truths’ that are elsewhere accepted blindly. The obedient, sheep-like quality of so much of the media is a frequent target of his, as is the undue influence of a small cadre of the hyper-rich and ideologically driven, who increasingly decide every aspect of our lives without any accountability and for whom there is no democratic means of removing.
He bemoans the degradation of our culture into a narcissistic soup, where the vulgar trivialities of celebrity court cases are given greater weight than the greatest issues facing society (for example, his extremely funny commentary on the Depp-Heard court case [warning: language]). He questions the black-and-whiteness of the war in Ukraine, voicing alarm at the near universal desire to pour oil on the fires of conflict. He rails against the excessive influence of a certain computer programmer-cum-God of the Universe, whose pronouncements on pandemics and vaccines stand to become unassailable law.
Undoubtedly the Venn Diagrams of politics, culture and economics have shifted irrevocably in the last few years. The power grabs, the lies and the fundamental violation of body and spirit that have been pushed by governments, media and corporations across the Western world have seen to that. It has taken such violent ruptures to open the eyes of many, and to make them question just what on earth is going on.
And so here we find ourselves. Hopefully, one day, we can return to those halcyon days where we argued about nothings and got our knickers in a twist over topics of little import. Yet there is going to be much difficulty on the road ahead and to the luxury of such carefree times, and on that journey we are lucky to be in the company of those willing to question, to learn, to engage sincerely, and, crucially, to poke the hornets’ nest.
Mr Brand, I am a convert.