Why Russell Brand is right

I should work for the guy, seriously, I really should. I think he talks plenty of sense, and I can learn something from him.

In his article, titled  ‘Why I oppose Anti-Semitism’  which he wrote after he was accused of anti-Semitism for supporting a boycott of European businesses profiting from the Gaza conflict, which is on Avaaz.org , actor and comedian Russell Brand had some undeniable truths to say, which if you think about it, are quite obvious. For example, he states that:

It is worth considering though that the sanding down of inconvenient facets of an argument allows a prejudicial version of reality to dominate. In its most extreme form this mechanic facilitates tyranny, more extreme in nature.

Removing the nuance of the civil rights struggle, slavery, the shooting of Trayvon Martin and failure to convict his killer, the social unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of teenager Michael Brown can be condemned as unacceptable violence. With those details brought rightly to the fore the unrest is totally reasonable.

Media is of course where this form of tyranny is most obvious. When the Daily Mail present a story on benefit fraud or the consequences of “spiraling” immigration no nuance that interrupts the tide of their righteous rage is allowed to survive, no mitigation, or broader context, all that remains is a salient nub, pulsating with poisonous data.

I don’t see Israeli military action in Gaza as a religious issue. For me it seems to be the action of an extreme right wing government that has strong economic ties to right wing organisations in the US. These affiliations are economic, not theological and are defined here with typical expertise by Noam Chomsky.

It is the exclusion of the sane majority that allows extremists to prosper. The insanity across the Middle East is so deeply terrifying and giddyingly futile that most people, despondent and bilious want to look away. We know the US can’t be trusted. We know the UN are inactive. We know something has to be done to stop the violence in Gaza and the new medieval horror of ISIS but who can we trust? Our own governments, about who we know nothing for certain except they lie and pursue their own ends, sexing up and dumbing down, arming then attacking, fair-weather friends but perennial weapons suppliers?

Surely, even Brand’s accusers must agree with him here??

Tell me whether it isn’t the case that most if not all of the troubles of the last several hundred years around the world have been as a result of a prejudicial version of reality dominating. A result of poisonous ideas which were perpetrated, and which gained traction simply because those who were asking the moral questions, who dared to challenge the absurd, hegemonic, discriminatory and religious taradiddle, were pushed to the side. In most cases until when it was too late.

So to Brand’s list of Civil rights struggle, Slavery and Trayvon Martin etc., I can add the Chartists, the Suffragettes, I can add the Anti-imperialists and freedom fighters. The likes of William Wallace, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara. I can even add Yasser Arafat, the Arab Spring leaders in Tunisia and Algeria, and dare I say Julian Assange.

It’s unfortunate that politicians have created a ‘dictatorship’ on ideas. A system whereby the truth is heavily compartmentalized depending on who is speaking, where they are speaking from, on whose side they lay, etc. The big media houses are accomplices in this deception, and  have been infected with this cancer that you don’t report the truth if it puts your interests in a negative light, if it compromises a country, some ally, some powerful (often horrible) people or if it reveals some uncomfortable facts about the owner of the media group. Before you start, your mission is defeated, unless if your original intention, in reporting  whatever it is you end up reporting was  to mislead, twist or muddle the facts.

Its bullshit because then what you remain with are labels on people by virtue of their background, status, education, skin-colour, etc, and not because of the content of their character or even substance of their argument.

Which results in media not reporting the truth, but the prejudicial version of reality dominating. So, some people who have quite a lot of sense to contribute to matters that affect the world are wrongly perceived as the other, trouble makers tinkering with the status quo, fiddlers out to accrue power, with little of real value to contribute to societal discourse. And when that happens, the insults and false accusations begin.

No wonder some of us turn to the Guardian, or the likes of Vice or Slate when seeking unsanitised, unbiased news, and not to CNN, BBC, FOX or Al Jazeera.


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