Aberystwyth Transitions Reading Group Blog

Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman


Generally, I can’t say I’ve been a fan of Russell Brand, but I was impressed by his 13 September piece in the Guardian after the Hugo Boss awards http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2013/sep/13/russell-brand-gq-awards-hugo-boss. Wednesday’s Newsnight interview with Jeremy Paxman didn’t disappoint that impression and I think it is worth sharing. You may all seen it already, it seems to be going viral, but you may equally have decided to give it a miss based on his past performances: http://gawker.com/russell-brand-may-have-started-a-revolution-last-night-1451318185

I don’t know if I can now say I am a fan of Russell Brand, but I like his passion and anger and I find it hard to disagree with him. I think he is an impressive speaker – and writer – and find it a heartening thought that he might reach many people who might not otherwise engage in politics.  AND he stopped Paxman in his tracks, no mean feat!

5 thoughts on “Russell Brand and Jeremy Paxman

  1. Brand’s interview with Paxman was genuinely thought-provoking. I’ve found Brand irritating in the past. But if I forgive him his celebrity – and my snobbishness about the sort of comedy/actigng he does, then part of the reason he irritates is precisely the same as the reason to listen to him: His voice doesn’t fit. And we are so used to public political figures being recognisable in looks, tone and (limited) political ambition. Brand isn’t be-suited (or even lefty/green open-necked), he’s not reasonable but passionate, bolshy and uncomfortably unpredictable. He is rational, however. And he wants a revolution (he should learn to answer questions about the nature of this by referring the questioner to the democracy of social movements – no one person can articulate a movement vision, strategy or tactics: that’s the difference, Jeremy and media-peeps, that you simply don’t get when you talk to climate campers, clowns and Occupy). Apart from the – after all, quite familiar political analysis – Brand broke the mould of what’s allowed in terms of reason and bland constancy of personality and message. He also made insightful comments about histories of domination and incorporation, very effectively citing Paxman’s own family history at the end of the interview. And he tellingly observed that the corridors of power run from Eton through Oxford to Westminster with the same decor, i.e. the whole mileu of politics is familiar to elites and uncomfortable for any outsider. I don’t have to like someone to respect them: And it respect seems an odd thing to accord to Brand, all the better.

  2. Yep, also really enjoyed this and enjoyed having my assumptions challenged, does voting fit with my other beliefs and values in the present situation? hmmmm….

  3. I like this editorial!
    Could we use it for a reading discussion, perhaps together with Stefanie Krasnow (Adbusters) No-Mo Manifesto? And, perhaps, something else…from the left….other….any ideas?

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