A friend posted a link to a shitty Gawker article (redundant, I know) where they were salivating over British comedian Russell Brand “destroying” some MSNBC anchors. The video is embedded below (Gawker doesn’t need a link, their article isn’t worth anything) and I recommend watching it before finishing reading this post if you haven’t already.
To sum it up, the hosts won.
“Brah you’re delusional” you might say. “How did the hosts win? Brand was smart and witty and ran circles around them and they were all mesmerized and caught unaware by his barrage.”
To put the video in context you’ll have to do a bit of light reading. I didn’t, because I instinctively comprehend reality as it is laid in all its nakedness before me, but I put in the five seconds of googling to confirm it. No worries, it’s nothing much. Even white people should have the patience for it. It’s the wikipedia entry for jester, from which I will quote the relevant excerpts:
In ancient times, courts employed fools and by the Middle Ages the jester was a familiar figure. In Renaissance times, aristocratic households in Britain employed licensed fools or jesters, who sometimes dressed as other servants were dressed, but generally wore a motley (i.e. parti-coloured) coat, hood with ass’s (i.e. donkey) ears or a red-flannel coxcomb and bells. Regarded as pets or mascots, they served not simply to amuse but to criticise their master or mistress and their guests. Queen Elizabeth (reigned 1558-1603) is said to have rebuked one of her fools for being insufficiently severe with her. Excessive behaviour, however, could lead to a fool being whipped, as Lear threatens to whip his fool.
Distinction was made between fools and clowns, or country bumpkins. The fool’s status was one of privilege within a royal or noble household. His folly could be regarded as the raving of a madman but was often deemed to be divinely inspired. The ‘natural’ fool was touched by God. Much to Gonerill’s annoyance, Lear’s ‘all-licensed’ Fool enjoys a privileged status. His characteristic idiom suggests he is a ‘natural’ fool, not an artificial one, though his perceptiveness and wit show that he is far from being an idiot, however ‘touched’ he might be.
That my Divine Mind made an instant connection between Brand’s performance on the show and the stereotypical jester scares even myself. Are my instincts infallible or what? I should be declared Pope. I most certainly intend to have people refer to me as “His Holiness” from now on.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, we see that Brand certainly acts the Fool. He is intelligent, socially perceptive, an excellent performer, and very much touched in the head. How then, does one distinguish between a fool and the nobility he is to entertain? At this I once again refer you to the video and the reactions. The hosts are calm and amused from beginning to end, blushing at his attention (yes, even the guy), throwing out friendly jabs. Brand however starts off friendly, then goes in the attack as he becomes slighted by the anchors’ talking about him like he’s not even there.
“Of course, they were being rude” you might drone on if you’re the typical youtube/gawkerer (I was going to include an insult but commenting on youtube or gawker is insulting enough on its own). But there was rudeness involved from the beginning, on Brand’s part too (attracting attention to the people working in the background, for example, and telling his hosts they were pretending to be a big time news organization). The rudeness is not what set Brand off. Rather the hosts analyzing him as if he was some sort of specimen is what did it. The hosts (likely unintentionally) telegraphed to Brand “you are not our equal”. It is impossible for someone like Brand not to pick up on the snobbery, at least subconsciously. And that is what caused a turn-around in Brand’s behavior. No matter how hard he worked to get where he is, at the end of the day he is still treated by the liberal aristocracy (who did not have to do anything beyond following the standard aristocratic plan of going to college, getting a degree, mouth off the standard platitudes, and usually, have enough connections that merely following said plan is enough to earn you a nice 6-7 figures) like he is their lesser. Liberal aristocrats like Brand because he keeps some progressive ideas, like Meghan McCain would say, “pop-culturally relevant”. He hits back against his own sometimes, like Queen Elizabeth demanded of her own fool, which just adds to his charm and credibility. He is useful, he belongs to them, but he is not one of them. And he will never be one of them.
And that is why I say the hosts won. They played their role from beginning to end. Brand thought he was playing the same role, but when he realized he wasn’t he lost it, and when he lost it instead of pulling away from the role to which he was actually assigned a long time ago, he conformed more and more to it.
And Russell Brand is not unique. Many, if not most people are just machines, following the path prescribed to them by whichever Overlords have power at the time. Few try to pull away, and even fewer succeed. This is the grim truth that can be gleamed from the video. Part 2 of my previous series coming soon.