Left-Wing Dogmatists Dislike Russel Brand For Not Being A Left-Wing Dogmatist (And For Being White, Heterosexual And Male)
If you’ve occasionally browsed some liberal websites and facebook pages in the English-speaking part of the internet during the last week you’ve probably witnessed much praise for the British comedian Russel Brand for criticising, among few other things, the creation of huge inequality between the rich and poor, the ecological destruction of our planet and the enforcement of particular interests of the financial elites by the current system and for calling for a revolution in an interview with the BBC. Although my own political beliefs might be not that far from Brand’s, I couldn’t care less about him or what he has to say. That’s why I actually ignored this whole story until I’ve stumbled over an Op-Ed by Suey Park and Isabelle Nastasia called “The Revolution will not be (Russel) Brand-ed”, (originally been published here) which caught my interest because of the really stupid wordplay in the headline. Their criticism of Brand and the attention wich he got starts off like this:
>>As young organizers and radical thinkers, the question on our lips is: why is Brand getting so much attention, while we – the “disenfranchised underclass” – been saying this shit for years?<<
Yes, they seriously call themselves “young organizers and radical thinkers”. This presumptuous self-description probably tells us more about the authors than the whole article tells us about Brand. Furthermore it is quite puzzling for me in wich “disenfranchised underclass” exactly a student of critical pedagogy and intersectionality (Nastasia) and an Ethnic Studies MA student (Park) could possibly fit into. Must have missed the news about the Obama administration disenfranchising students of liberal arts coming from a middle class background. To be fair, they themselves seem to have at least a notion of the absurdity of what they just wrote, otherwise you couldn’t explain why they’ve put “disenfranchised underclass” in quotation marks.
Although after reading this paragraph you could rightfully suspect that some student activists and wannabe intellectuals are just jealous and pissed about the fact that a comedian without a liberal arts degree is getting more attention than they do, they also seem to have a serious issue with Brand not really fitting into their hermetically sealed view of the world, as the next paragraph will reveal:
>>Natasha Lenard articulately described why she does not stand with Brand and his so-called revolution: his complete lack of attention to dismantling patriarchy and sexism. Many other holes can be pointed to in Brand’s personal commitment to justice for oppressed peoples, from his appropriation of Native culture to his sexual exploitation of women.<<
Brand fucked up in the eyes of the authors because he didn’t spoke about “dismantling patriarchy and sexism”, though he did not trivialize this issue or made any sexist remarks and it is not clear when exactly he should have spoken about that considering that he gave a rather vague and general overview of his beliefs, but if you know where the both authors ideologically stand you know that he already fucked up for being a white heterosexual man, whatever he does. And you definitively know with what kind of dogmatists you’re dealing when you read the term “appropriation of Native culture”. Disciples of so-called “critical whiteness” (allegedly studies about what it does mean to be white in a society and what kind of “privileges” white persons have, but actually it all comes down to that as a white person and especially as a white heterosexual man you are morally inferior to “people of color” and inherently racist until you fully embrace the ideology of critical whiteness and act accordingly) speak of “appropriation of culture” (not only Native culture) when white people (and white people only) adopt or use certain elements of non-white cultures. This is the case for example when a white person has dreadlocks or wears an Indian costume for Halloween. They consider this practice as racist because it is offensive. Or maybe it was the other way around. There are a lot of long and unwieldy explanations by people who take this nonsense seriously but it never made much sense for me. The only thing you have to know regarding this point is actually that in the eyes of Park and Nastasia Brand disqualified himself and revealed his inherent racism by wearing an Indian costume at Katy Perry’s birthday party (no, that’s not a joke, click on the link above if you don’t believe me). The last point sounds much more serious but as it turns out its only source is The Sun and therefore hardly reliable. I couldn’t find any other source wich supports the claims made in the article in question.
After this they continue to complain about Brand getting too much attention only because of his status as a celebrity and him being just a tool of “corporate media” while not realizing the irony of the fact that they themselves only bother to write an Op-Ed about him because he is famous and gets much attention. But if you think this Op-Ed can’t get much more absurd than this, you’re wrong:
>>Through limiting critical thought and radical action to the words of Russell Brand and denying the coverage of youth movements, the state and its media outlets are using preventative tactic for suppressing organizing. This tactic, along with the increased militarization of the police and increased surveillance, ultimately work in tandem to squash revolt in the mind, before revolt moves into physicality.<<
You see? Russel Brand’s interview and the media coverage about it are just all part of a great government conspiracy. “The state and its media outlets” are “suppressing organizing” by letting their top agent Russel Brand give an interview. It makes all sense now. Especially the connection with “increased militarization of the police and increased surveillance” is now so obvious that I can’t believe that I’ve been fooled for so long. But do not despair! The revolution is not lost yet:
>>Here are three movements that we should be following and looking to as the voice of the struggle for revolution, instead of Russell Brand:
1. People of color-led movements for transgender and queer justice […]<<
This is (in a very dark way) unintentionally funny in the context of people in Greece not being able to buy life-saving medication as one of many terrible consequences of austerity policy, hundreds of refugees drowning at Europe’s coast or thousands of sweatshop workers dying a wretched death in a collapsed factory in Bangladesh. This is a good example for the fact that certain dogmatisms are obviously destroying any sense of reality of their disciples.
I should have stopped reading when they started to talk about “appropriation of Native culture”. These people are worse than Maoist sects during the 70s. What they have in common is definitively the absence of the ability to critically reflect their own beliefs and the conviction to only follow the one true, pure and ideologically correct path. Actually no revolution at all would be better than a revolution, which would bring people like them into power. In the same way as liberal capitalism is preferable to the Maoist reign of terror during the 50s and 60s. But luckily I don’t have to fear that they’ll succeed in seizing power from their seminars and workshops about gender theory and “critical whiteness”. And if truth be told their “efforts” aren’t actually about changing things for the better but about demonstrating assumed moral and intellectual superiority. Their unwieldy academic language and their high requirements for being politically correct are not supposed to include but to exclude people – especially people who never had the privilege to go to university, not to speak of the luxury of wasting time in seminars about non-opressive language and “white privilege”. All their jabbering about intersectionalism can’t hide the fact they are the worst kind of classists.