|Russell Brand in Newsnight's Danish studio (perhaps)|
Newsnight's decision to hand over 17 minutes on Thursday night to Russell Brand hasn't gone down too well with some.
The hirsute ex-Big Brother's Big Mouth presenter-turned-revolutionary hero (to Owen Jones and the like) outed himself on Newsnight as a 'truther' about 9/11..
I see that BBC defenders are putting it about that Ol' Russ was outed as such Evan Davis, and his new, understated kind of questioning. Others, however, think that Russell rang rings round the former Today man.
Here's a flavour of some of the criticism.
The Left-wing intellectuals at The Guardian and BBC, not least Newsnight’s Ian Katz, who have embraced Russell Brand or even given him house room, should hang their heads in shame.
Time was when Newsnight was a serious programme – indispensable viewing for serious people and an important part of the national discourse. Today, obsessed with juvenilia and gimmickry it’s become a gravitas-free zone. How sad.
‘I’ve no idea what the BBC are up to. If they think that the general public want to see this kind of nonsense on a serious political news programme they need to get out more. It is bewildering why they have given Russell Brand a platform to display such ignorant views. One might wonder what expertise he brings to this subject. The answer is none. The BBC have taken leave of their senses.’
For Liberal Conspiracy's Sunny Hundal (not one of the usual suspects),
The establishment humours Russell Brand because he poses little threat to the system. Newsnight has him on because he’s good for their ratings, not because they want to bring down the system too.
That short selection of views show a range of suggested reasons for why Newsnight invited him back for his second extended Newsnight interview in a year.
For Stephen Glover, it shows left-wing bias - the left-wing BBC getting a buzz from interviewing a 'radical chic' celeb. For the Mail, it's more a case of dumbing down. For Sunny Hundal, it's all about ratings. For Philip Davies, it's simply inexplicable.
I'm going with the ratings option mainly. Newsnight editor Ian Katz has often cited Russell Brand's previous interview with Jeremy Paxman as his idea of what a Newsnight interview should be like or the sort of thing his new Newsnight should do more of. He's immensely proud of it and the interview itself was a huge hit on social media (of which Ian Katz is also a huge fan), and very widely discussed in the mainstream media too. For Ian Katz, it was a triumph. So why not repeat the trick and get the world talking about Newsnight again?
Well, if that was his intention it certainly seems to be working. Social media has exploded again and the mainstream media is up in arms again. Another triumph.
Of course, it probably does help that Russ is espousing half-baked radical chic politics. If he were a right-wing 'truther' (an Alex Jones), I'm doubting that Newsnight would have had him on twice within a year. Such views would fall well outside of their comfort zones - unlike their left-wing/Islamist counterparts, even though the latter sound very similar (about 9/11) as the former. (It's the US government, the Bushes, the Jews).
Russ himself was there to plug his new book, which brings me to a joke I saw on Twitter. (Mysteriously, I won't quote the source though):
Russell Brand says the economy is an illusion. His new book contains the line, "The economy is just a metaphorical device, it's not real, that’s why it’s got the word con in it" - a bold call for a man whose name ends with "SELL BRAND".
Update from Sue:
I've been looking at the clips of Russell Brand and Evan, and I'm thinking "Katz - what was you thinking?" I mean Brand's over-long piece with Paxo was bad enough, but who thought Newsnight needed another performance by this repulsive narcissist? Talk about cringeworthy. Then I saw that the Guardian had hosted a live-stream even with Russell and Owen. Can you imagine anything more annoying?
I find Russell brand physically repulsive. I can't understand why anyone of either gender could find him attractive. (Even if he didn't start making those preposterous remarks) The way he speaks reminds me of when little girls dress up in their mother's high heels. Sort of like an unconscious parody of a grown-up.
Update from Rod Liddle:
The issue is not that Russell Brand seems to believe that 9/11 was some sort of joint effort between George W Bush and the bin Laden family – that’s sort of a given, no? The man is a drug-addled idiot with the geopolitical knowledge and awareness of a tub of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’. The issue is, given these facts, what he’s doing on Newsnight, again.
The BBC, defending the decision to interview the fool, said that he is representative of the ‘anti-politics’ movement with which Westminster is trying to engage. No. He’s. Not. But even so, what utter cant – he’s on there because he’s famous and Newsnight, with its plummeting ratings, is these days in thrall to celebrity. Mind you, if I was Russell I’d begin to catch the whiff of a conspiracy. Isn’t it collusion between the BBC and politicians to discredit the ‘anti-politics’ movements by allowing a halfwit to represent it? [Spectator]
P.S. ('nother update from Sue)
Fanks for sandwiching me in between you and Rod Liddle.
After some thought, Dr. Sue’s diagnosis falls within the ‘Histrionic personali’y Disorder’ paradigm.
Throughout that interview, Russell showed a complete inability to listen. Russell repeatedly turned away, arranged his body into that non-receptive slouch, while emitting streams of blustering, histrionic dialogue, during which Evan was lamely failing to make himself heard.
A couple of over-protective reviewers have praised Evan’s fortitude and patience, but I thought he looked like a wabbit in a panic.
Sometimes Russell invaded Evan’s personal space, touching his leg or patting his hand as if to say, “watch out, mate, I’m dangerous, I’m volatile, I’m a one-man reincarnation of the notorious sex pistols ‘whatever will they do next’ shock horror *live* on dark ages National Television”.
Now and then he got so excited that he forgot the glottal-stop. Some reviewers astounded me by describing him as ‘eloquent’. Others said ‘intelligent’.
Not everyone though. Here’s the funniest one so far. Polly Toynbee and Jonny Lydon didn’t think much of Russell and his antisocial call for people not to vote.
“I want to hug you for what you said about Russell Brand, You called him a Bum hole.” said Polly.
Gales of laughter, mate.
I looked up ‘paradigm’, a word no-one but Russell Brand actually uses in conversation. Glad that’s cleared up.
1. a typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model."society's paradigm of the ‘ideal woman’"
2.LINGUISTICS a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles."English determiners form a paradigm: we can say ‘a book’ or ‘his book’ but not ‘a his book’"
Is Russell Brand 1.) the idiot’s paradigm of ‘intelligent’? or 2) is ‘Revolution’ a book, his book, or a his book?. English determiners (that’s me) say it forms a paradigm and it is definitely a ‘his book’.