Finally made time to watch the Russell Brand, Jeremy Paxman interview. A bit tragic it took me so long, guess I am a bit stuck in work mode at this time of the academic year. My thanks to digital photographer Derek Rangecroft for reminding me to watch it, I get why he was excited.
Brand comes across with a passionate immediacy and ease with Paxman, it is almost shocking. I did feel for Paxman when his tears over his ancestors are condemned as emotional porn, though I would have to agree on many levels.
Does Brand offer an alternative I can take seriously? That is harder to evaluate. He certainly is articulate about the many ways the current political class fail to offer a believable sense of engagement with the deep structural problems we face of the environment, or the escalating and disastrous unequal of distribution and of resources and opportunities.
I certainly think this debate is good watching, not just for the fireside manner of Brand (in a posh hotel room), with his funny asides about beards and armpits hair mingling, nor just for Paxman trying to get at what a revolution would look like, but for getting the viewer to think. What would Make a difference? What matters in the choices we make? Can we do better?
These questions have both gut instinct responses and more long term, and thoughtful responces. I suspect the interview was so galvanising, partly because the appeal of Brand and Paxman are so opposite. Brand really does grab our emotional outrage, at the patent unfairness of much about how the western word works, Paxman articulates the long view “what would it look like, this revolution?” Yet as television talkers, they share a common capacity to have us participate in their conversations.