Saturday, October 7, 2017

Peeved Messiah: on Russell Brand's "Recovery"


It is hard to dislike Russell Brand entirely. On the other hand, liking him more than a bit would probably be excessive. Not that an author’s likability should matter to a book reviewer. We are talking about higher things, after all. We are obliged to distinguish the work from its creator.

The trouble with Brand, however, is that he persistently goes out of his way to render this distinction meaningless. Everything he does is all about him, in the end – and in the beginning and the middle too. Whether he is calling for global revolution, or doing his jittery, artless version of stand-up, or proclaiming that we need to keep an “open mind” about who really felled the twin towers, or interviewing some expert he can’t wait to speak over the top of, Brand is always engaged in the same basic project – that of imposing his febrile, needy personality on whatever subject or medium is at hand ... [read more]