Russel Brand is someone whose book I never thought I would read. Having only been exposed to him through his brash English comedy in movies and his eccentric appearances in popular tabloid media, I think I had the same initial impression of him that we all have. That of a broken man.
Stories abound of his alcoholism, his drug and sex addictions, his failed marriages and other general frivolity around Hollywood. He is someone who never looked like becoming a role model.
But I'm here to tell you that such an impression is false.
Over the last few years Brand has experienced somewhat of a spiritual enlightenment (at least publically) and has started to speak out against the devisive desire towards fame and fortune. That's when I started to listen, and started to take notice of what he was saying. It's not often that you get a Hollywood star, one of the chosen ones, denouncing the fame that so many today would kill for.
In listening to what he was saying, I discovered that the alcoholic, sex-addicted character that was portrayed in the media could not be further from the truth. Brand is a true intellectual behind that brash, eccentric facade. A man who has struggled through a broken childhood, an addictive personality and a multitude of bad decisions - yet has emerged the other side with a poise and optimism that is truly inspiring. If you only take one thing from this - it's this.
Now, onto his book. 'Revolution' is the amalgamation of many philosophies, ideologies and societal ideas that Brand weaves together into a revolutionary framework. The basic message of the book is to stand up against a corporate system that rewards materialism, economic oppression and fear-mongering. It seems so simple when you use those words - it sounds so patently bad. Obviously that is not a system we would support!
But then what Brand does brilliantly, is exposes those concepts in our every day lives, showing how that's the exact system we live in today. One that is ruled by a greed for profit and status - one that doesn't serve a community of humans, but rather an arbitrarily selected elite.
It is a difficult read I must admit, because Brand is such an eccentric character. The book is filled with dramatic hyperboles, verbose vocabulary and vulgar jokes - which makes it one that is difficult to stomach. But it is hard to begrudge him for that, it is simply who he is. He is brash. He is vulgar. He isn't 'politically correct'.
It definitely does not degrade the message he wants to convey. In fact, I would argue that it enhances it. In a lull of duplicative popular culture, a fresh voice with a clashing personality is what is needed to break the pattern and to wake us up. Politically, economically and socially we need to re-examine the processes that run our world and objectively assess the evidence that caused us to enact them. Democratic capitalism, or the crude interpretation of it that rules majority of our world, needs to be broken down and analysed part by part - to ascertain whether it actually is serving the collective needs of humankind. We need a reboot.
Politically, I don't have an opinion on this just yet - I am still digesting it. But even so, I encourage you to read 'Revolution' if for the only purpose of disturbing the status quo in your mind and introducing you to alternatives in the way our society is run. Look past Brand's brash candour and see the message for what it is - a spiritual, collective utopian dream. One we can all learn from.