Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Russell Brand's intelligence undermined American TV host's ignorance

Jane Graham

Published 22/06/2013

Polite putdowns: Russell Brand
Polite putdowns: Russell Brand

I do like it when intelligence demonstrably undermines ignorance, especially in ignorance's own back yard. So thank you, Russell Brand, for your inspired performance on American TV breakfast show Morning Joe this week.

Discourteously introduced by sniffy host Mika Brzezenski, who said she'd "been told" Brand was a "big deal" but "sorry, I'm not very pop culture", Brand evidently decided then and there not to play the cute eccentric Brit he'd clearly been booked to be.

After quickly changing the subject when Brand explained his stand-up tour The Messiah Complex was about "how icons are appropriated and used to designate consciousness and meaning", Brzezenski was then treated to a concise and rather brilliant description of how the media focuses on superficial detail at the expense of serious analysis and manipulates information to create "stirs".

Brzezenski, who had begun declaring such proud disdain for "pop culture", turned the conversation to Brand's visible chest hair ("Thank you for your casual objectification") while her non-plussed sidekick said he couldn't understand "his"accent. "You shouldn't say 'he' when a person is present," informed Brand. "You should refer to the person by their name – that's basic good manners." Totally thrown, Brzezenski bailed out, saying she was "scared".

Afterwards Brand was accused of using his vocabulary "as a weapon", as if intelligence was something only vulgarians employed in public. But he couldn't have demonstrated his point about dumbed-down media any better than exposing the inability of his ill-prepared, contemptuous host to handle his fast – though always polite – talking.

Clever, sexy old bugger.

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