Last year, the comedy actor and activist Russell Brand did an eleven-minute interview with BBC Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman that was a bit of Rorschach test of one’s political sensibilities. Brand had full-scale political revolution on the brain, and he talked less than coherently on the matter, clearly exasperating the more practical (and more jaded) Paxman.
Scores of moderate and right-leaning pundits found Brand confounding and lacking in intellectual heft. Many on the left, however, thought the interview was a thrilling example of someone finally speaking truth to power, possibly heralding a beautiful dawning of the Age of
The excitement transcended national borders, with the YouTube clip
… being passed hand to virtual hand among Scandinavian intellectuals like a samizdat copy of Solzhenitsyn behind the iron curtain,
… in the memorable phrasing of David Runciman.