Perfumed revolutionary Russell Brand has launched an astonishing attack on Queen Elizabeth, snarling that the 90-year-old royal figurehead should be put to work as a cleaner to earn her keep.
In an extract from his new book, Revolution, published in The Guardian, Brand describes Queen Elizabeth as a little old lady in a shiny hat that the British public paid for, and then proceeds to make his feelings clear on everything that is royal and regal.
“In England, we have a queen. A queen! We have to call her things like “your majesty”. YOUR MAJESTY! Like she’s all majestic, like an eagle or a mountain. She’s just a person. A little old lady in a shiny hat – that we paid for. We should be calling her Mrs Windsor. In fact, that’s not even her real name. Her actual name is Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
“Mrs Saxe-Coburg-Gotha!! No wonder they changed it. It’s the most German thing I’ve ever heard – she might as well have been called Mrs Bratwurst-Kraut-Nazi.
“I’m not calling her “your highness” or “your majesty” just so we can pretend there isn’t and hasn’t always been an international cabal of rich landowners flitting merrily across the globe, getting us all to kill each other a couple of times a decade. From now on she’s Frau Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
“Come on, Frau Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, it’s time for you to have breakfast with Herr Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. And you can make it yerselves. And by the way, we’re nicking this castle you’ve been dossing in and giving it to 100 poor families.
“Actually, you can stay if you want, they’ll need a cleaner. You’ll have to watch your lip, Herr Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, some of ’em ain’t white.”
Brand’s epic rant against Queen Elizabeth seems born of a desire to impress his new best friend, Matt Stoller, who, according to Brand, has a cunning and revolutionary plan to get rid of all titles.
Stoller believes that capitalism relies on titles to justify treating some people better than other people.
“One of the most remarkable things you learn when you work in a position of political influence is just how much titles separate the wealthy and the politicians from citizens. Ordinary people will use a title before addressing someone, and that immediately makes that ordinary person a supplicant, and the titled one a person of influence. Or if both have titles, then there’s upper-class solidarity. Rank, hierarchy, these are designed to create a structure whereby power is shaped in the very act of greeting someone.”
Getting rid of titles might sound all radical and revolutionary when you’re hauled up in your mansion reading a dog-eared copy of Marx for beginners, but Brand seems to forget that the modern world tends to have a sycophantic attitude more towards celebrities like himself than it does towards anyone with a dusty and boring old title. Fame is perhaps the only title that carries any real clout any more. So how is Brand using his to set an example for all us obedient and servile plebs to follow?
“I’m rich, I’m famous, I have money, I have had private security on and off for years. There is no doubt that I as much as anyone have to change. Revolution is change. I believe in change, personal change most of all. Know, too, that I have seen what fame and fortune have to offer and I know it’s not the answer. Of course, I have to change as an individual and part of that will be sharing wealth, though without systemic change, that will be a sweet, futile gesture.”
It’s exactly this sort of wooly thinking that makes Brand’s “sexy revolutionary” spiel attractive to those who think wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt is a bold statement and liberating experience.
Brand’s political posturing can be pretty much summed up by the manner in which he and Hollywood hipsters such as Johnny Depp put Guevara on a pedestal.
“We need heroes like Guevara in our culture when we are awash in a sea of meaningless trite. People who are prepared to die for what they believe in.”
Not only was Guevara prepared to die for the right to tell other people what to do and how to live, he was prepared to kill for it to. And he did. Lots of people.
Yet a handsome face, a charismatic personality, and a PR job that would impress Hollywood has transformed Guevara from a communist revolutionary who lived in a mansion and executed people out of “revolutionary conviction,” without concern for “archaic bourgeois details” like due process or judicial evidence, into a poster boy for anyone who wants to scream revolution but doesn’t want to concern themselves with tiresome details such as practicality, consequence, or hypocrisy.
Like Brand, Guevara may not have been so keen on titles either. He imprisoned gays, burned books, killed people that didn’t agree with him, and was so uptight he wanted to ban rock n’ roll, but his face looks good on a t-shirt, so viva la revolution.
Morally vacuous idealism is never a good thing no matter how it’s branded. We live in a celebrity-driven world where it’s not so much what you believe in but how passionately you believe in that counts.
Still, if Brand has plans to topple the monarchy and condemn Queen Elizabeth to live her twilight years in a life of servitude, god alone knows what he’s got in mind for Kate Middleton.