Although derided by many on the left as an opportunistic celebrity interloper, we have both enjoyed and been entertained by Russell Brand’s political interventions over recent months. So we were saddened to hear that he is abandoning his Trews You Tube show. The ostensible reason given is that he feels the need to go away and ‘do some learning’, perhaps feeling he has exhausted himself and that he needs to replenish.
Russell announced his retirement to a film montage of people attacking and insulting him; from Fox News to David Cameron. It was possible to detect some pain in his eyes as the litany of insults played out – and why not? Beneath the bombast, or indeed the egoism, associated with his comedic presentation, lies a sensitive persona acutely aware of his own limited intellectual capacities. It is as if he has gatecrashed someone’s party, held court for a couple of hours, before realising he barely knows the host’s name.
And it is precisely this combination of irreverence and acute self-awareness that attracts us to Brand. His quest for truth and knowledge spring from love and he does not hide his inadequacies. On the contrary, a Trews video is typically comprised of confession, voyage, and exposure of the horrors and contradictions of the capitalist system. However, he obviously feels his ship has run aground and needs to be repaired.
Perhaps he will abandon ship altogether?
Compare such an approach with the more educated types that haughtily adopt a set of values at an early age and formulaically repeat them ad nauseam into old age. These could be members of political organisations or hubristic middle class progressives who have long since substituted books for the weekend Guardian; mediating their radicalism with ever larger dollops of ‘realism’.
Russell’s Journey is an exciting one and we would love to know with whom he consults and what he reads. Take all the time you need Russell, but we eagerly look forward to your return.–Dave