Russell Brand's interview discussing revolution has gone viral, but it has been studiously ignored in New Zealand. Blogs like The Daily Blog and The Standard continue to promote exactly the same old failed politics that Russell Brand has condemned.
Russell Brand's rejection of a moribund economic and political system is provoking a lot of comment and discussion in both the mainstream and the alternative media.
While Brand's comments are not dissimilar to what the socialist left has been saying for years, the difference is that he is a high profile entertainer with a global following. And he was given an entire issue of the New Statesman to devote to the topic of revolution.
Brand's interview with the BBC's Jeremy Paxman (see previous post) is wonderfully entertaining and inspiring. Here is someone telling an establishment media commentator that the game is up and its time for real change. Paxman, who has spent his entire career in the tearoom of polite bourgeois politics, is left with nowhere to go.
'What gives you the right to edit a political magazine when you didn't even vote?' sneers Paxman. Brand's reply is typical Brand: 'I was asked to take the editor's chair by an attractive woman'.
Paxman, who thinks the job on commentating on politics should be left to professional pundits like him, is left looking stupid and out of touch.
Brand's editorial emphasises the comedian's serious intent:
'We require a change that is beyond the narrow, prescriptive parameters of the current debate, outside the fortress of our current system. A system predicated on aspects of our nature that are dangerous when systemic: greed, selfishness and fear. These are old, dead ideas. That’s why their business is conducted in archaic venues. Antiquated, elegant edifices, lined with oak and leather. We no longer have the luxury of tradition.'
Brand's interview highlighted for me (again) the polite, ineffectual and facile interviews and panel discussions that we see on New Zealand television .
On shows like Q+A, The Nation and Citizen A the conversation ping pongs between the same uninspiring and flaccid commentators who chat away about parliamentary politics as if it connects with real life. Where's the urgency? Where 's the passion? Will anyone ever stand up and tear this tawdry sideshow down?
Of course not. Like contented dairy cows chowing down on green pasture, they all feed off the present system and they are the most rigorous defenders of a system that condemns ordinary people to poverty, to misery, and to little hope for the future.
But it's not also television - and radio for that matter - who are complicit in their support for the status quo.
I had a scan through the blogosphere to see if anyone had anything to say about Brand's interview or his New Statesman editorial.
The silence has been pretty much deafening.
Blogs like The Daily Blog and The Standard haven't even mentioned the interview. Politics for these Labour Party-aligned blogs is politics as it always been done - within the confines of parliament between parliamentary parties that are all united in the support of the neoliberal status quo. They discuss 'old, dead ideas' in 'archaic avenues'.
It is little wonder they clearly find Russell Brand's revolutionary politics discomforting.