Thursday, April 11, 2013
Russell Brand: A Man I Love
I've always had a mad crush on Russell Brand. I've sat through every one of his movies, even though most of them were crap, just to watch him. His gypsy-boy physicality is dead sexy: the unruly hair, licorice-whip legs, yoga-toned torso, the manic energy his wiry frame can barely contain, those black eyes glinting with mischief...
But as we all know, physical attraction isn't enough to sustain a long term relationship, even one as unilateral and unrequited as the one I have with Russell Brand. No, it's his brain that really turns me on: the cliche "rapier wit" was invented to describe Russell Brand..
When did I first know that it was love, not just lust? Perhaps it was when he hosted the Westboro Baptist Church on his talk show. It's hilarious. He is irrepressible, and yet so sweet in his mockery. He shreds them, but in the kindest way. One imagines that it would be impossible to have a real quarrel with Brand: in minutes, he would have you on the floor laughing at yourself in spite of yourself. He would kill you with kindness.
Then yesterday I read his remarkable essay on the demise of Margaret Thatcher. It was one of the best things I have read for a long while. Although I am neither British nor of Brand's generation, he made me understand what it was like growing up under her administration. (Actually, liberal Americans who have been living with the post-Reagan legacy will relate equally well to what Brand writes about Thatcher).
The entire essay is a masterpiece -- anyone with the slightest interest should read it in entirety -- but this bit really stayed with me:
It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of Girl Power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly, a product of the freak-conomy of her time. Barack Obama interestingly said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women." Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.
And this! This is when I knew beyond any doubt that the love I felt for Russell Brand was no passing fancy, but The Real Thing:
Interestingly, one mate of mine, a proper leftie, in his heyday all Red Wedge and right-on punch-ups, was melancholy [upon hearing of Thatcher's death]. "I thought I'd be overjoyed, but really it's just... another one bites the dust..." This demonstrates I suppose that if you opposed Thatcher's ideas it is likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies.