David Heinemeier Hansson

February 25, 2022

Russell Brand is grand

While Joe Rogan has served as a magnet for all the wagging fingers of the world, Russell Brand has somehow so far managed to build a five-million strong channel pushing equally or more heretic views without much consternation. It can't be long before the fingers start pointing in his direction.

But I can see how he's been able to slide past the professionally outraged class of media watchers so far. I mean, look at him! He's the anti-Rogan persona from afar. Dressed like hippie, pontificating like a poet. Stepped in an ethos of peace, love, and harmony. You can't make a right-wing, meat-head, or dude bro accusation stick on that long-haired, occasionally-bearded artist.

In this age of identitarianism, this presentation is not to be dismissed. I think it's key why Brand has been able to escape the same unity of condemnation that has met Rogan. For the same reason that John McWhorter and Glenn Loury are able to tackle the questions of wokeness with a greater effectiveness than would many others of a different skin color.

Just watch Brand break down the problems with using the financial system as a form of political punishment against people who have not been convicted of any crimes. Not only is it funny, but it's poetic too! Brand has a way of articulating his position that makes it feel like you're listening to a mashup of poetry slam and the evening news. It's a novel and beautiful art form.

Or take this one, where he tackles the issue of homes being bought by corporate entities, and ties it with the "you'll own nothing and be happy" paradigm. Or this one, where he examines the pandemic rage, and advocates for a loving, brotherly acceptance and understanding.

He really does not fit in neatly with the false dichotomy of the culture wars. He's about as laughably far away from right wing as that signature crow of his could carry him. You can't squint and see his silhouette in a MAGA hat. Which really is deeply problematic to any attempt of putting him in one of the two boxes.

Which then again is key to his power to reach those who would have dismissed his message from any other. And it's clearly resonating with his "five million awakening wonders". It resonates with me.

You should take a look.

russell brand.jpg

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.