Why The Left Needs To Reject Russell Brand

russell brand 2Whenever I open Facebook and start scrolling through my feed, I almost inevitably see some link shared that is about Russell Brand. From what I am able to see, he’s become a darling of some factions of what is left of the Occupy movement, as well as some libertarian types.

Quite honestly, I don’t see the big deal about a guy whose greatest accomplishment otherwise is being married to Katy Perry, and has been on a few talk shows or Youtube videos where he “DESTROYS” someone or something. For example, this headline from the clickbait site Elitedaily which claims that “Russell Brand Destroys Fox News With Intense Rant And Finally Puts Them In Their Place (Video)” – because he compared Fox News to ISIS. Yes, because spreading misinformation to millions of people is literally as bad as beheading journalists and massacring civilians. Give the false equivalencies a rest, seriously.

The latest stunt came recently when his appearance on the Sean Hannity Show was canceled, and he decided to film outside Fox News studios as some sort of publicity attempt or protest.

In the latest post on The Trews video channel the comedian-turned-political campaigner unsuccessfully attempts to film outside the Fox News headquarters in New York before being threatened with arrest.

While trying to film, Brand is told to leave by a security official who comes out onto the pavement and asks him: “Do you want to get arrested?”

Prior to the confrontation, Mr Brand had begun explaining why he and his camera crew were there.

“Here we are at Fox’s headquarters, all the greats are here – Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity – all the people who refuse to have us on the show.

“Sean Hannity, who booked us and then cancelled us. So we are going to do a Trew special from here, in the heart of the establishment.” (Source)

I’m pretty sure that just about everyone on the left has realized that Fox News is little more than a conservative fear and disinformation machine, so why are we subjected to the latest ridiculous thing said on Fox on a daily basis? If Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin or any other politically irrelevant conservative troll went on Hannity and claimed that Ebola was a punishment from God for gay marriage or abortion, would any of us really be surprised? After all, making liberals angry with outrageous commentary from their guests certainly has to be part of Fox’s marketing strategy. It allows them to claim to their viewers that since they make liberals angry, they must be telling the truth.

At the same time, creating this latest confrontation in his ongoing feud with Fox News allows Russell Brand to do the exact same thing; claim that he must be telling the truth since Fox News kicked him off their property. The sad thing is, a lot of people on the left really buy into his celebrity bullshit. Yes, that’s right, it’s bullshit. For anyone on the left to take him or his stunts seriously is a waste of time. Oh, and did I mention that the conspiracy nuts love this guy? Here’s the conspiracy nut website collective-evolution.com gushing over the guy:

Russell Brand has be getting a lot of attention due to his mainstream media appearances in which he has made bold statements that are getting people thinking. Whether he is speaking about the Illuminati, reptilian overlords, or revolutions of spirituality, Brand is making people reflect. (Source)

Why anyone takes this guy seriously when it comes to politics is beyond me, and my greatest beef with his message was his long, rambling column in NewStatesman last year. In it, he discouraged voting and suggested that we should “completely renounce the current paradigm” instead:

I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,” and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one.”

I don’t vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance; I know, I know my grandparents fought in two world wars (and one World Cup) so that I’d have the right to vote. Well, they were conned. As far as I’m concerned there is nothing to vote for. I feel it is a far more potent political act to completely renounce the current paradigm than to participate in even the most trivial and tokenistic manner, by obediently X-ing a little box. (Source)

Guess what? The same people who watch Fox News – which Russell Brand has used to continue promoting his image – those people also vote. If we were to actually take this pretentious, narcissistic former heroin addict who was fired from his job at MTV for dressing up as Osama Bin Laden after 9/11 seriously, then we might as well just hand our government over to the likes of Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann or even Rick Santorum. He’s a celebrity who, like Sarah Palin or Ann Coulter, must keep saying and doing things that keep him relevant and in the public eye. The sad thing is that far too many folks pay attention to the words and actions of Russell Brand and irrelevant political celebrities, and not on things that matter – like keeping Republicans from taking control of the Senate next month.

The apathy toward voting and the calls to “renounce the current paradigm” were probably my greatest contention with the Occupy movement, in addition to the Ron Paul supporters and the anti-Semitic conspiracy nuts who crept in and ended up becoming the most vocal faction. Sure, I would still like to see some of the issues Occupy was protesting addressed, but if we refuse to vote, things like income inequality are only going to get worse.

There are millions of dollars being poured into the 2014 mid-term elections, which are every bit as important as 2016. There are also political operatives out there doing everything they can to keep people from voting, whether through voter ID laws or convincing them that their vote doesn’t matter.

Refusing to vote won’t make things better, it will actually make things far worse. Refusing to vote isn’t a victory, it is surrender, and don’t let anyone like Russell Brand tell you otherwise.


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