The People’s Narcissist…

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It is easy to sneer at Russel Brand. His shtick is just so cringe making half the time- that mix of awkward sweary truisms mixed in with 12-steps to recovery prophetic zeal.

Tonight Michaela and I took the kids to see the Guardian Live screening of Owen Jones and Russell Brand talking about revolution. There were many moments when I found myself cringing into my seat.

But I also cried.

Brand’s basic point is that having in theory won the celebrity/wealth/success lottery, he found that it was all hollow, shallow. He found that in consuming more than anyone could ever want he was destroying himself, and then as part of an on going process of recovery, he knew that he could not stay silent- he had to use the platform he had to raise some objections. He had to challenge the shallow emptiness, the unfairness, the unsustainability, the selfishness.

In many ways, he spoke like a religious convert, the other side his Emmaus Road experience. The meeting was screened from the Emmanuel Centre- a big church in Central London, and just above his left shoulder were the words of John 10:10 I have come to bring you life, and life in all it’s fullness. Brand himself has the words of Francis of Assisi tattooed on his arm Lord make me a channel of your peace.

And tonight, I think the prayer was being answered, in part at least. At one point he told all the audience that they were “..all Fucking Lovely, and it is all going to be OK…” if we just learn some humility and start to look for ways to help one another. Simplistic, emotional, naive even, but also a sweary echo of what Jesus was all about.

There were no real big ideas tonight- no complex processes of change, no economic alternatives to the Capitalist overarching evil narrative- but the clarity of the objection to what is, and the desire to change was all there.

There were 5 of us in the cinema in Dunoon. It was just like going to church. In a good way. The revolution starts here…

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Brand and Paxman expose the cracks in capitalism (and ourselves.)

Emily told me to watch this.

If you have an interest in politics/economics/inequality etc, please watch it. I find myself slightly shocked at recommending a clip with a narcissistic smart mouth being interviewed by someone who uses cynicism like a rapier.

But watch it anyway.

Firstly- hooray.

Someone is shaking the tree. The video has gone viral- young people are revolting (if only by clicking the ‘share’ button.)Questions are being asked again about injustice, the operation of power, the distracting divisive effect of the media.The Occupy movement is heard of again in the mainstream media- I worried that it had been blown away like an electronic leaf in a cyber storm of ephemerality.

And perhaps most of all, a voice is speaking for the next generation – my kids – about the possibility of change. No, the NECESSITY of change. I fear that these voices have been silent, overwhelmed by consumerism and the chasing after product; be that a physical thing or a commoditised experience.

But…

Where is the connection to action? What is the vehicle for change? What are the dangerous ideas that will inspire?

The only idea Brand seems to have is this one- do not vote. It is a waste of time.

He may be right- but what do we do instead then?

I hope and pray that my kids might start to find some real alternatives. That they might come to believe that a different world is possible.

Watching Brand and Paxman is like engaging in a conversation between myself and my daughter (in fact it resulted in just that.) Paxman and I failed; after our radicalism, things got worse. Thatcher skewed us ever further into a credit fueled consumerism. The world became more unequal, power more concentrated in the hands of the rich.

We might cast cynical glances at the ideas of the next generation, but it will be their world soon, if it is not already.