By Saswat Pattanayak
Red Monthly | October 2013
Russell Brand’s allegedly humorous attempt at explaining away his motivation for editing a political magazine is not just sexist (“asked by an attractive woman”), it is also inherently elitist. At the risk of spoiling the ongoing “revolution” party at social media, let me quickly get to the point.
Brand’s “attractive woman” fixation is nothing new. Earlier this year, he had called MSNBC journalist Mika Brzezinski a “shaft grasper” for the manner in which she was clutching a water bottle. Commenting on her cleavage, when Brzezinski leaned forward to repair a collapsing table, Brand justified his ogle in this manner: “I’m only flesh and blood, I’ve got instincts.”
One would think such overtly sexist behavior towards a media professional would cost Brand’s career dearly. Hardly so. Turns out, his critics merely call him “lazy” and his sexism “dull”. Instead what always work for him by the European standard of beauty are his “big hair”, “10-mile high charisma”, “look like Jesus” and “lovely cheekbones”.
White Jesus as he is, he could still have a career after the ‘Sachsgate’ scandal. He remains wary only because the broadcast was made, which apparently hampered his image, but not because he finds it not funny that he would have “fucked” Andrew Sachs’ granddaughter. But that reference did not end there. What the media largely ignored was what happened afterwards. In a patronizing manner of a classic male savior, Brand then left another voicemail on Sachs’ machine saying, “It was a mistake… The truth is I am phoning you to ask if I can marry – that’s right, marry – Georgina, the granddaughter”.
The dig at the “granddaughter” did not end right there. Russell Brand then furthers that, “I said something I didn’t have oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter. But it was consensual and she wasn’t menstrual, it was consensual lovely sex. It was full of respect I sent her a text, I’ve asked her to marry me.”
This was a while ago. And the Brzezinski episode was a few months ago.
But even farther were his days of drug addiction, that he brings up in his most recent interview to project himself as a revolutionary. Except that he cleverly makes no reference to his sexism, his white male privileges, his multi-millionaire attitude of indifference.