I would like to begin by stating something that might shock you. Perhaps it will dismay you, or cause some of you to feel anger towards me or the words I write.
Russell Brand is dangerous.
More importantly he is dangerous in the worst possible way. When I was a teenager I had a huge crush on Russell Brand. This is not what makes him dangerous, although this might add to it. Those were days when the words that spouted out of his gregarious mouth were bible. How eloquent, I would think, he wrote a book called Booky Wook, how hilarious. That’ll show those conformist adults!
I have an issue now. Maybe it is because I am more aware, and maybe it is because I am no longer blinded by messy hair and a handsome face.
It is very easy to not take Russell Brand seriously. But there is a danger in that, precisely because Brand remains attractive and influential. Too often I see someone post on Facebook a video he has done for The Trews, alongside some caption passionately commending Brand for his stylish rants on current issues.
For those who do not know, The Trews is a vodcast on YouTube where Brand talks about current issues. The name is a portmanteau of ‘true’ and ‘news’, the implication being that his presentation of opinions about news events is perhaps more valid than what we normally see.
Take for example this video. about the shooting dead by Los Angeles police of a homeless man.
Brand has missed a number of vital points in understanding the events of the shooting. For example, you can hear the officer saying that the man is grabbing the officer’s gun. This is vital because it is lawful for a police officer to use lethal force if an individual is acting in a way which might endanger others or the officer himself. Brand repeatedly uses the word murder to describe this, when the video suggests otherwise.
Brand implies that the problem is that certain police forces are out of control in America, and that they treat certain members of the public as less than human. He claims with a surplus of weapons that the attitude is ‘to start shooting people that don’t show up on statistics or who don’t have any relevance.’
Now I would not be so high and mighty to declare everything Brand has to say is useless and dangerous. He is intelligent, that much is clear. At times he even has some valid points. Of course self-expression needs to be encouraged as we live in a democratic state and simply because freedom of expression is a human right.
The danger lies in the fact that people trust media. Perhaps sometimes a little too quickly. Brand for one, is a huge icon, especially in Britain. His reaches millions of people and has more than one million subscribers to his Youtube channel.
This is where the danger lies. When his version of events becomes fact. When his self-assured expression becomes undeniable proof that what he is saying is valid and infallible.
When someone names their channel The Trews it opens up a world of ethical and moral practice that should be adhered to.
The irony of Brand is that he is quick to attack news organisations for faulty news coverage, and yet there are a plethora of times that Brand’s own version of the news omits vital information.
– Natasha Reis