Once upon a time there was a phone call broadcast on BBC Radio 2 that resulted in a slightly burlesque message being left on Andrew Sachs' answerphone....
The complaints that followed the live broadcast were, well, negligible, insignificant and inconsequential. "A BBC spokeswoman said the programme had received two complaints". Further, the "two complaints related to Ross's swearing - rather than the content of the phone calls." So, the issue that inspired all of two complaints was that Ross had said the word, "Fuck", not that Brand had carnal knowledge of Sach's granddaughter, nor the manner in which this information was conveyed. It soon emerged via Andrew Sachs’s agent that Sachs had been ‘terribly hurt’ by the incident and Georgina Baillie's mother, Kate, said: ‘It’s awful.’ That's the "two complaints" right there! Except that's not quite the full picture.
There it would have ended, until an anonymously penned editorial incitement of incendiary proportions was published in the Mail on Sunday, Ross, Brand and the BBC's gutter culture. Ignoring the fact that the Mail, aside from its historical support for fascism, is a doyen of the "gutter culture" it professes to despise, the outraged sentiment soon spread almost as if there were nothing much else going on in the world worth talking about.
As is usual when issues of alleged personal moral turpitude become opportunistic point-scoring political playgrounds, it wasn't long before the voices of "conservative" "decency" entered the fray. This time, possibly because he has nothing at all else of substance to say, it was in the form of David "Related to royalty, just like Boris" Cameron. Worth remembering also that Cameron and Ross have previously locked horns after Ross used his Friday night chat show on BBC1 to ask Cameron if he had ever masturbated while imagining Margaret Thatcher in stockings. Coincidentally, it was the Mail on Sunday that led the indignant outraged backlash against Ross that time around too. They say revenge is a dish best served cold and Cameron has kept his offering in the freezer for a couple of years before it was finally dished up.
Not to be outdone by the Tories, the boy's club currently in government joined the whipped-up witch hunt quick-style. First up was the despicable-as-any-Tory, Jack Straw, closely followed by no lesser mortal than the prime minister himself, Gordon BrNWO. So serious is the business of someone saying "Fuck" on the radio that BrNWO even interrupted an economic summit to pass judgement.
That this provocation occurred at the same time as details of yet another report appeared warning of "Teen yobs" and their antics is, perhaps, a "conspiracy theory" too far. (As everyone knows, the cause of all the ills of society are kids, not adult ruling classes whose interests and actions deliberately and wilfully conspire to create poverty, social deprivation and despair.) Pretty soon, in true Pavlovian mass media fashion, the likes of which Goebbels would have been most proud, the public reaction began. It is now claimed that the BBC has received over 40,000 complaints about Ross and Brand in relation to a broadcast that most of the complainants probably hadn't heard for themselves, at least not until they actively sought out transcripts and audio copies of the answerphone messages.
"No one understood better than Stalin that the true object of propaganda is neither to convince nor even to persuade, but to produce a uniform pattern of public utterance in which the first trace of unorthodox thought immediately reveals itself as a jarring dissonance."If the pen is mightier than the sword, then it logically follows that words are mightier than deeds. Ergo, it is acceptable to do certain things but not to use words and language to talk about them in any meaningful way. It is acceptable for Russell Brand to have slept with Georgina Baillie, but it is not acceptable to talk about it, especially not if the word "Fuck" is used in the process. This is the nonsense logic underlying the 'scandal' and so the bone of contention becomes Ross's use of the word "Fuck", even though the statement in which it was used happened to be the truth. So, truth becomes a crime of verbal immorality, pre-judged by those with the most dubious morals of all. Lenny Bruce turns in his grave and a witch hunt similar to the witch hunts and persecution endured by Bruce after a decade of McCarthyism, becomes its own self-justification after a decade of New Labour.-- Leonard Schapiro
Some are calling the backlash against the BBC and its Radio 2 presenters the new puritanism, but in a world where the current paradigm requires the commodification, objectification and fetishisation of everything, sex is always good for business. Even within such confines it is certainly an odd form of puritanism where the supposed moral high ground is alleged to be held by an ex-pre-marital-bedmate of Brand that also happens to be known for her role as a burlesque dancer, the Satanic Slut, Voluptua. Imagining that such an alter-ego might secretly conceal a lady filled with particularly virginal and conservative tastes, decency and overt prudishness is quite some challenge indeed, but let's not let that get in the way of a hysterical witch hunt.
As is usual with mass media frenzies whose main thrust is something of no consequence, somewhere among hyperbole and hysteria is at least one other story that the facade conceals. In the case of the Brand and Ross radio show and prank call, aside from its stochastic coinciding with the yob report, it's highly unlikely that many will be aware of any subtexts, unless they happen to have listened to the original radio show in its entirety, or unless they are already aware of Brand's politics.
A little more of the truth behind the persecution and witch hunt of Brand can be found through a better understanding of the nature of Russell Brand and his place in geopolitical space and time. Aside from being a popular stand-up comedian with a large and loyal following among the
"I was trying to open up a bit of debate about socialism, during the credit crunch, mate. I was thinking perhaps there could be a socialist alternative to capitalism, but if you can't take a bit of talk about economics and revolution, Jonathan, because you're up in your ivory tower on your high horse...."Before adding:
"The universe is using me as a conduit for revolution."It is these few words, and many other examples of Brand conveying similarly revolutionary intent and ideals, that provide a more coherent and legitimate explanation of the hugely disproportionate response to a few gags of dubious comedic artistry and integrity. After all, the initial "two complaints" were hardly sufficient to warrant the media and political maelstrom and witch hunt of Russell Brand that has followed. Whatever way other aspects of the story are spun, it is free publicity for all involved and there is, apparently, no such thing as bad publicity. As with all such things, one will find the media darling of the media darlings, Max Clifford, operating on behalf of both the 'victim' and the torch and pitchfork mob of outraged complainants that seek to silence those whose words to which they object, whether they heard the original broadcast or not.
When the entire capitalist racketeering operation that is enduring the deepest and most international crisis in the whole of its brief and nearly ended history, you can't very well have the BBC facilitating the promotion by popular, young, working class upstarts of revolutionary Socialist ideals as an alternative to Capitalist barbarism. Such things cannot be on the agenda of the broadcasting company of a state that is inexorably wedded to the Capitalist paradigm, especially when the show is pre-recorded and its contents have been approved by those higher-ups in the editorial process whose job it is to censor what is and isn't acceptable for broadcast.
What matters to the controlling political interests is that other messages of political opposition and significance that Brand has to offer -- particularly relating to the opening up of discussions about socialist revolution as the only sensible and final reaction to the unfolding Capitalist Armageddon, and particularly opening up this debate among his large audience of young people who have little or no faith in the existing system of Capitalist 'democracy' run at the behest of inbred Oxbridge graduates and their international counterparts -- remains buried and without a public forum.
After a time Russell Brand filmed a video apology, in addition to issuing verbal apologies, specifically addressed to Andrew Sachs rather than the outraged minorities, for an explosive issue that never should have been. In the video, Brand -- the creative, ingenious demagogue that he is -- made another far more subtle political statement. His apology was issued as he stood in front of a black and white background, by all accounts a pretty bland background. Until, that is, you notice the black part of the backdrop is a telescreen and the white background is mostly created from a large picture frame, in the centre of which is a small photo of the Russian totalitarian dictator, moral arbiter and censor in chief, Joseph Stalin. In a bitter-sweet twist and the cruellest of ironies, and almost as if to prove that Brand's symbolic socio-political commentary about the totalitarian nature of life on prison ship Britain was correct, the video apology featuring Stalin was itself censored when broadcast by the BBC and Stalin was nowhere to be seen.
A whiff of conspiracy - a final word on Woss
Given Ross's long held position as the staple of all light entertainment fare, and that it was his saying "Fuck" that prompted the uproar, one might well be tempted to wonder whether his part in initiating the persecution of Russell Brand was an accidental oversight as he got caught up in the mood of the moment, trying to outdo his younger, funnier and more entertaining host, or whether it was by a somewhat more sinister design. Factor in the following:
- the involvement of the sensationalist publicist, Max Clifford as Baillie's publicist, whose life and infamy is based on the sort of devious cunning that can manufacture stories out of thin air, make a gay man straight and turn liars into paragons of virtue;
- that the incitement to national hatred was provided by an anonymous editorial in the Nazi supporting Mail on Sunday;
- that Andrew Sachs, being the consummate gentleman and professional that he is, although a little disappointed and nonplussed at the first interview effort in which the answerphone messages were left, had in fact graciously offered to participate in the Brand's show the following week so the intended interview could be properly recorded (see Andrew Sachs interview video);
- Russell Brand's post structuralist, revolutionary, socialist, radical rhetoric and politics and his rising popularity among large, youthful audiences to which he brings that message in a time of global financial crisis in which the State can only offer greater servitude and subjugation;
- the on-message cross-party political class unity in its universal condemnation of the non-event;
- that Satanic Slut Georgina Baillie was so incensed by the invasion of her privacy that she felt moved to flog the remainder of her privacy to the Dirty Digger's Sun tabloid, among others to exploit this "awesome opportunity";
- that Ross had been specifically asked by Brand to err on the side of discretion during the call;
- that the show was pre-recorded and approved by BBC editorial controls before being aired;
- that the original live broadcast on Radio 2 prompted only two complaints;
- that Russell Brand has been forced to resign from his BBC position;
- that the Radio 2 station controller, Lesley Douglas, has been forced to resign from her position;
- that the BBC itself is once again in the sights of a State apparatus that cannot tolerate anyone or anything straying too far off message, just as it was around the time of the mysterious death of Dr David Kelly / Andrew Gilligan affair,
- and that Ross, the sole public instigator of the uproar, has merely been suspended for three months and remains in the overpaid employ of the BBC at a time when his cryptically titled book is published: Why do I say these things?
Two thousand years ago, legend has it that Jesus was crucified for the sins of others. In modern times it is Russell Brand and his messianic and revolutionary aspirations that are being crucified. As with the tale of Jesus, Brand too is being crucified for the sins of others.