Getting Rusty


If you’re reading this blog you obviously haven’t been living under a wi-fi inaccessible rock. In all likelihood you’ve seen Russell Brand’s interview with Jeremy Paxman which aired on October 23rd. The exchange was remarkable in that it was a celebrity interview which was NOT comprised of complete twaddle. Here’s the link just in case you missed the hype.

Rusty's pen is mightier than his sword.

Rusty’s pen is mightier than his sword.

Rusty gave us something meaty to get our chops around and I mean that in the most cerebral way possible. I applaud him for that. Yet I take issue with some of the things he has to say. He needs a good talking to and I’m just the one to give it (a talking to that is).

Before I launch in I need to qualify that I too, have been seduced by Russell Brand. Initially I thought he was a just dirty Katy Perry dumper but I read a couple of his articles and was completely blown away. The dude’s a wordsmith. His pen is indeed mightier than his sword. Given Rusty’s reputation as a pants man extraordinaire that’s quite a statement. Even Alain De Botton constantly retweets him, affording him a status higher than Proust. (Sorry – a pretentious reference to Alain’s How Proust Can Change your Life which I haven’t read. My life has stayed the same).

Here's a celebrity love in. Jemima Khan is allegedly dating Rusty. Alain de Botton wants to bromance Rusty and Harry Styles gets more action than all of them put together.

Here’s a celebrity love in. Jemima Khan is allegedly dating Rusty. Alain de Botton wants to bromance Rusty and Harry Styles gets more action than all of them put together.

In the interview Rusty states that the western system of governance is broken and calls for a revolution. Time for some direct quotes.

Paxman: “In a democracy that’s how it works.”

Brand: “Well I don’t think it’s working very well, Jeremy. Given that the planet is being destroyed, given that there is economic disparity of a huge degree. What are you saying? There’s no alternative? There’s no alternative? Just this system?”


Paxman: “You don’t believe in democracy. You want a revolution don’t you?”

Brand: “The planet is being destroyed, we are creating an underclass, we’re exploiting poor people all over the world and the genuine, legitimate problems of the people are not being addressed by our political class.”


Paxman: “What’s the scheme, that’s all I’m asking. What’s the scheme? You talked vaguely about a revolution, what is it?”

Brand: “I think a socialist egalitarian system, based on the massive redistribution of wealth, heavy taxation of corporations and massive responsibility for energy companies and any companies exploiting the environment…I think the very concept of profit should be hugely reduced. David Cameron said profit isn’t a dirty word, I say profit is a filthy word. Because wherever there is profit there is also deficit. And this system currently doesn’t address these ideas. And so why would anyone vote for it? Why would anyone be interested in it?”

Listening to this titillated my inner social democrat. Isn’t it wonderful however that he is questioning the nuts and bolts of our system and inviting us to do the same thing? It would all be as dandy as Rusty’s attire except for one small point which rubbed me the wrong way. (I’m sure that Russell is unused to women telling him his point is both small and rubbing ineffectively. Honk!).

Russell Brand does not vote. Russell has intellectualized his choice but it is still WRONG.

Brand: “ But it’s not that I’m not voting out of apathy. I’m not voting out of absolute indifference and weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery, deceit of the political class, that has been going on for generations now. And which has now reached fever pitch where you have a disenfranchised, disillusioned, despondent underclass that are not being represented by that political system, so voting for it is tacit complicity with that system and that’s not something I’m offering up.”

Its understandable. “They are all as bad as each other”, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for, you’ll only get a politician”. Such cliches are true and getting truer with each election we have to endure. Still I strongly, strongly believe we should respect our democratic right. In fact I feel we are acting like spoiled first world brats when we don’t.

In our malaise we forget that throughout the course of history hundreds of thousands of people have died for this right. People are still suffering immensely for the sake of democracy – Arab Spring anyone? Yet Russell would have us waste this invaluable privilege. Having to chose from our sorry crew of leaders every three years is a royal pain in the arse but imagine having no choice at all?

I am sure that if Rusty was living under the regime of say Robert Mugabe, Colonel Gaddafi ,General  Pinochet  or communist China he would not be so down about voting. Similarly had he been a woman at the turn of the last century he’d undoubtedly be all for universal suffrage.

Emily Davison sacrificed her life for woman's suffrage.

Emily Davison sacrificed her life for woman’s suffrage.

Yes Russell – our system leaves much to be desired but refusing to vote is NOT the answer. I’m going to lean on another writer I admire deeply to help make my case. Veteran journalist PJ O’Rourke headed the foreign affairs desk at Rolling Stone throughout the 1990s. During that time he travelled to pretty much every third world fracas going. Lebanon, Libya, South Korea, the Philippines, Gaza, Managua – you name it PJ was there. He writes;

“I can sum up everything I’ve learned about trouble in a few words and I will. Civilization is an enormous improvement on the lack thereof. So called Western Civilization as practiced in half of Europe, some of Asia and a few parts of North America is better than anything else available”.

I regularly go to bed with Ph O'Rourke

I often go to bed with PJ O’Rourke

You can wag your finger about corporate greed and environmental destruction until it falls off but you cant deny this statement. Russel I urge you to speak up, agitate for change, take the to streets and hold our system accountable. But when polling day rolls around man up, get your skinny-jeaned arse to the booth and tick all the right boxes.

Did Russell Brand make you feel a little heated last week?



Get on your bike and VOTE Rusty!

Get on your bike and VOTE Rusty!

32 thoughts on “Getting Rusty

  1. Well written. I’d also argue that apathy is actually quite well described as indifference, but hey, that’s just semantics. He was hypnotic in that interview, no doubt, but the more I think about it, the more faults I see with some of his arguments.

    But he’s got people thinking about it and talking about it. Job well done.

  2. There were definite faults in his arguments – I agree, but as you say, the fact he’s got people thinking and talking is awesome. Apathy is the biggest problem, and his passion and his HIM-NESS is an ideal motivator for change. He’s arrogant and idealistic though… not great when it comes to grounding anything into a workable system. Nothing’s perfect. We get the best system we can get with an amalgamation of ideas. Being absolute and resolute is a difficult fit in that mix. STILL. All of these thoughts were only possible after my blood pressure turned to normal and my brain was able to re-engage. Great one Mumabs.

  3. I agree that he’s undervaluing the right to vote. Reminds me of how cranky social media was making me during the federal election.
    At the same time I was explaining the importance of the secret ballot to the Big Sister, everyone was whoring their political views around like, well, Rusty before his revelation.

    • I was just listening to a Richard Fidler conversation (Richard Fidler brings me closer to God) with two Westerners who recently visited North Korea.
      Apparently a senior general in the North Korean Army was tied to a stake in a field and had mortars fired at him because he did not observe the proper mourning period following the death of Kim Jong-il. If that’s not an argument in favor of voting I dont know what is.
      I cant stress enough how much I love Richard Fidler.

  4. I love Rusty. There should be so many more wild eyed eccentric literate people like him making a noise on the public stage. But, he also reminds me a little bit of an undergrad arts student who has just taken Philosophy 101 and doesn’t think anyone else in the world has ever understood it in quite the way he does. It’s like some of the minor party candidates in our neck of the woods who shout ‘down with taxes’ but don’t have an actual plan about how to make money any other way. Rusty has a very important job to do in this life, however, which is to make people think and talk and take notice. And he does it with such style! Great post Brenda.

    • Exactly – he reminds me of a couple of guys I knew at uni. Such a hoot to be around but as Paul Keating says “all tip and no iceberg”. That’s actually a little harsh on Rusty who really is such an eloquent writer but he doesn’t have the answers. Hopefully he’ll help inspire some people to work on finding them however.

  5. I agree, NOT voting is not the answer but I do believe he does speak for a disillusioned generation and much of what he says is true. BUT he also isn’t putting forward any answers either!

  6. Excellent post Mumabulous. Yes I agree with all points you make regarding Rusty and also what This Charming Mum said about him, he thinking he’s the first people to understand the world. But aside from Rusty Rockets you also mentioned one of my favourite bedfellows – PJ O’Rourke. One of my favourite PJ books is Holidays In Hell. I think I read it once a year. Love the way he thinks and writes.

    • I’ve been a PJ fan since the late 80s when some of his articles were published in the long defunct HQ magazine. The dude is around the same age has my parents but so so so much cooler than my parents – one wonders who such a coolness disparity can occur within a generation. Its funny how I have equal admiration for the folk singer Billy Bragg who sits on the opposite end of the political spectrum to PJ. I’d like to see these two jelly wrestling. I’m probably the only person in the world who wants to see this but…

  7. Good on you for getting this off your chest lovely, and in such an intelligent way. I never realised he had such a brain on him, and had completely written him off as someone I didn’t need to listen to. It’s true the right to vote is precious. But I do agree with his sentiments.

  8. I luff him, and I am totes all for a revolution but I reckon you could revolt by forming a new political party and trying to get people to vote for you and when you get voted in THEN you can redistribute the living shizz out of wealth and tax the fuck out of big corporations. Social democrats unite!

  9. Wow so much food for thought. I do love it when celebrities use their powers for good instead of evil, or worse still, self-profit.

  10. Really well written and researched post! Russell is doing a great thing in using his celebrity status and he is obviously well read, he is getting the people to talk. I do think however he should jump off that self-righteous fence and use his right to vote. Things will never change if all we do is talk and not vote.

  11. This makes me so cross – if there is no one party that has a single policy you like, then the answer isn’t not to vote – one of them will still get in. The answer, especially for a cashed up, media savvy individual like that guy, is to get someone to run, or run your self. Be the change you want to see, Mr Brand, do just whine internationally and do nothing. You want the underclass to change? Do something? You want corporations to give a sh*t about people and then envirionment, then get in the system and create the legislation. Or just complain on tv to sound cool.

  12. My first literary crush was PJ – though I struggle with him now he’s older and ULTRA conservative…

  13. I’m confused. Isn’t he worth mega millions?

  14. I’m not convinced with Russ. I found it very repetitive. None of what he was saying are new thoughts, they are age-old revolutionary ideals. I don’t like his general demeanor of aloof, intelligent arrogance. And isn’t it hypocritical to argue so many problems with the world and refuse to use the system of democracy which is there to facilitate change and opinion – namely voting?? Russ has not wowed me at all. I think he just managed to shock a few people who thought he was just a dirty thug.

  15. I ‘sort of’ agree with what he says in that the current system is not working, especially seeing how the UK govt have made such a mess of the country since being in power but I wholeheartedly disagree with not voting at all. How does that change anything? I feel like his message is diluted somewhat by the fact that apart from moaning about it and using some big words to talk about revolution it doesn’t really seem like he is actively doing anything. I do like him though and think we need more people like him in politics (ones that vote though). And as an aside I LOVE Jeremy Paxman he is my weird crush!!!!

  16. Best post I’ve read today, Mumabulous. You have a talent for writing that I’m truly envious of. I have to admit I didn’t know much about Russel other than his treatment of Katy and his rep for being a total womaniser. It’s actually good to hear that he’s also a thinker with some interesting things to say and that he’s not afraid to say them. I agree that not voting is not the answer. And “get your skinny-jeaned arse to the booth” made me laugh out loud, thanks!

  17. I completely agree not voting is not the answer!
    They might be all shades of grey but some are much darker than others and it is your right, your secret chance to have your say and sometimes seats are won by so little!
    If you don’t vote to me that is like saying oh guys do whatever you like I don’t really care.
    I DO agree with a lot of what he sais though and think it is vital that we make accountable corporations, especially those destroying our environment, because it is our environment, all of ours, not just the highest bidders.

  18. All I can say is if nothing else he has got people thinking, talking, asking questions and looking for answers.

  19. Viva la Rusty Revolution. He’s the Renaissance/pants man of the new millenium and I’ve gotta admit I’m in deep smit with that man’s mind.

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