One of the reasons I joined Twitter was to be able to tweet to Russell Brand about how much I appreciated all he has done to increase the amount of truth and compassion in the world. He does it in such a humorous and eloquently entertaining way, too. I used to post occasional updates on a writing site to let my followers know that he still hadn’t tweeted me back. Even though I’d hoped he really might, I enjoyed making his never replying into a running joke. I pretended to be a celebrity stalker convinced that no matter how long it took, he would one day tweet me back and then my life would have been worthwhile. Pure schtick.
Desperate to escape corporate-owned trickle-down media, I watched many episodes of his news program “The Trews” on YouTube. I was sad when I learned there was to be a final episode because he wanted to take some time off from public discourse. He likely needed some solitude to recover from the condemnation and ridicule heaped upon him both by corporate media and members of said media’s appointed and anointed “intelligentsia”, most of whom could never even hope to achieve Brand’s level of logical discourse. Happily, he re-emerged with a new podcast called Under the Skin .
Since I knew it was highly unlikely he would ever tweet me back, ‘I had to be satisfied with writing him an open letter. There were a few people I admired in my naive youth that I’m now horrified to admit I ever admired. Ayn Rand is one such person. Her self-proclaimed intellectualism was irresistible to anyone capable of original thought because most aren’t and that’s a lonely capability to have. She also played on people’s egos–they believed that if they understood her writing, why, they too must be intellectuals! Unlike her books, his books acknowledge our connectedness and mutual dependence upon one another.
Happily, now that a few years have passed since I wrote this letter, I find that I still feel the same way. I say happily because the world seems to be experiencing an increasingly short supply of admirable people. That’s probably because the liars in power keep killing them off. I’m glad that, at least for now, Russell Brand is still alive, despite his telling the truth so often. Here’s the letter I wrote to him:
Dear Mr. Brand,
Whatever the reasons that you decided to use your powerful voice in the service of humanity, I thank you for it. I appreciate the courage and strength of character you displayed even while being publicly persecuted, shamed and ridiculed. Indeed, watching your character being forged in the fire of public opinion served as an example to young people around the globe. How to remain firm in one’s principles in the face of bullying, name-calling, and other such tactics deployed by those possessing power yet lacking intelligence and/or principles is a skill that we all must learn if we are to realize real change.
With the advent of planes and weapons of mass destruction , the power and influence of bullies has grown to immense proportions. No longer reserved for an unpopular child getting a beating on an elementary school playground, or high school students not being allowed to sit at the popular table at lunch, bullying has become the foundation upon which our whole society is built. Until very recently, this fact remained unquestioned. People adapted their behavior to avoid becoming targets, which effectively granted bullies the power to continue ruling society.
You had the courage to question, and keep questioning. No senseless yet revered custom was beyond an analysis of its source, a revelation of the reason for its existence. What I am most grateful to you for, though, is for being a public figure that I, and the young people of the world, could admire and emulate. You encouraged people to actively work for positive change and not just continue to accept corruption and injustice as the inevitable and inescapable results of human nature. It is the worst of human nature that these bullies appeal to and spend millions to cultivate. You challenged us to refute their power by cultivating compassion instead
It was an inspiration to watch your character being forged in the fire of public opinion and emerge from it not only intact, but stronger. You stripped the glamour from fame and fortune, and demonstrated that responsibility should come with it. Your actions will continue to have a ripple effect on the youth of the world for quite some time. Sir, I thank you for your years of service, and look forward to your return to the public sphere. In the meantime, enjoy your privacy. You have more than earned it.
Andy Lee Parker