Posted by: anglopole | September 18, 2008

Russell, the new Brand of the famous British good manners?

It looks like it is not only the common Brtis that can be annoying with their behaviour perceived as weird by everyone, except by themselves, of course! 😉 Celebrities too have their infamouse moments – only their behaviour tends to stand out and influence much more people at one go.

Russell Brand is definitely a rather controversial British showman. When I see him on TV he always seems to be wanting to steal more than a little of the lime light! Mr Brand is so damn sure he’s the funny guy everyone should yearn to watch, admire and adore. Not long ago he was was asked to host the MTV Video Music Awards and treated the audience with his loud and blunt statements. A question came to my mind: what’s happening to the proverbial British good manners and politeness? It doesn’t look like the British are in any way full of remorse that people like Russell are the new BRAND of savoir vivre to be exported to other countries! Let me present you with one of his ‘super funny’ comments:

Some people, I think they’re called racists, say America is not ready for a black president. But I know America to be a forward thinking country because otherwise why would you have let that retard and cowboy fella be president for eight years.”

Well, I would love to see, let’s say Ben Stiller come to London to host a similar show and welcome the audience with tactless remarks…. perhaps about the British being into Brown-nosing a lot or some such. You know what I mean, I hope! 😉

Anyway, coming back to the charming and oh, ever so sexy, Russell Brand.

In case someone dared not to notice him after his American stunt, he also presented his knack for PR techniques and exploded before the audience with this self-loving proclamation:

“I’m famous in the United Kingdom. My persona don’t really work without fame. Without fame, this haircut could be mistaken for mental illness.”

He’s a natural, isn’t he? Would you hire him as your PR? I think, I’d pass – perhaps because I prefer short hair! 😉 Is his attitude really showing us some aspects of Britishness? There’s something in it, I’d say. Which nation likes to be told who to vote for? Which nation likes to be looked down on? Well, if you know some, please tell me. As Jeremy Paxman mentioned in the book I reviewed in one entry, the Britons have it in their nature to patronize and intimidate others, even (if not mainly) through their jokes. Yes, it is a generalization but proved by behaviour of so many people that it is hard to totally dismiss it, I’m afraid. Some folks would say that Brand is being honest. Oh, yes, he definitely is, but it is a pathological and vulgar kind of honesty .

The controversy Brand dresses himself with will, no doubt, boost his popularity in many circles, but will it sell Britishness to the outside world better? I am not so sure. What I am quite sure of is that the Britons love using the word ‘retard’ a lot…. Oh, yes, and then we hear how we just don’t get British humour (a fantastic excuse for actually having no sense of humour)! 🙂

 


Responses

  1. Awsome. i like it

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  2. Thanks for a good word, Patrolofclubpenguin – that’s an interesting nick, btw.! 🙂

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  3. The international stereotype of the polite, self-deprecating Brit is, like all stereotypes, just a useful fiction. Brand belongs to a long, long tradition of iconoclastic British comedians. Despite our image the British have never been conservative or traditionalist, or I should say British society has always had a strong radical element. It’s a great paradox about the perception of British society that we are seen as traditional and stuck in our ways when, in fact, we are inclined to revolution and invention on a monumental scale.

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  4. […] is nothing – the Biritish cynicism can be tamed! Some time ago I wrote about Russell Brand, a popular British comedian – well, popular here in the UK as he didn’t seem to conquer the […]

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  5. […] Russell, the new Brand of the famous British good manners? 5,798 views […]

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  6. i think its just a different type of humour that our two countries get and enjoy.
    us brits constantly take the piss out of ourselves – the people in it, around us and everything about it really! we also love people from other countries taking the piss out of us because its always so true!

    britain is just so laid back about comedy and sattire, and we take just about everything with hilarity. it can be hard for british comedians to judge the type of humour that can be aimed at a completely different audience than what they’re used to. and of course, they don’t want to change! they want to be themselves and see if they can make it. thats why so many brits haven’t had success in the US, because they are massive comedians in UK, and they dont change their humour.

    our countries just have different senses of humour thats all. maybe you ll just say ‘go back to england then russell’. fine! we’ll have him any day!

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    • Hi Anna! 🙂 Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment! Holidays are over now and I will be back online more regularly! I love your attitude! 🙂 I have a strong feeling though, your laid back attitude is not a common thing in the UK. Well, at least my experience of the British sense of humour in everyday life is that it’s more of a sarcasm or cynicism than just having a laugh…. It may well be, of course, that this is how I perceive the British sense of humour as it simply is sth different to what I grew up with! Yet, I have met many people who’ve lived here for a long time but are not born Brits, who have similar perception of the British sense of humour. It definitely is peculiar and I am not saying, it’s bad…. just peculiar. What I do find annoying is when some people here think only the British have the true good sense of humour as such a patronizing approach causes a lot of misunderstandings.

      I know Russel has many fans here and he’ll always be welcome here! 🙂 I think, I personally, prefer Catherine Tate or Little Britain kind of humour…. a lot is a question of taste, for sure!

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  7. I don’t see why Brand, of all people, needs to be singled out, except for the fact that he’s currently a hot item in many senses… ahem!

    If anyone wants to consider American examples of pathological and vulgar, be it in honesty or humor, try people like Artie Lange, Andrew “Dice” Clay, the late George Carlin and Robin Williams (the last two of these are a couple of our finest humorists, in my mind). Want haughty political and social satire? Check out Stephen Colbert. Love him, too. Heck, Ellen Degeneres may not be all-out coarse and vulgar, but she’s off-the-wall funny.

    Anyone want some off the wall and not so tongue-in-cheek British humor? I’m hard pressed to find many Americans in my generation who have never heard of the comedy team of Monty Python. Ricky Gervais also comes to mind. He’s mad as a hatter, especially if one ever views some of the bloopers from the “Night at the Museum” franchise or his television work! His laugh is ridiculously funny…

    Tongue-in-cheek and American can mix well too. Let us not forget one of the finest and most beloved pioneers of American humor, satire and basically, the all-out, stand-up comedy tour, Samuel L. Clemens (aka Mark Twain).

    It may be true that there is something a little condescending in the most typical/stereotypical British attitude, but they didn’t conquer a good deal of the world in their imperial stage by being wimpy, either. Tracing the Celtic part of the British bloodlines back into their pre-Chrisitan culture, myth and legends, you can find a subtle yet uplifting element of humor is present (despite some of the dark subject matter), that is a hallmark of their people’s endurance capabilities (referencing Peter Ellis).

    And never forget our American roots. Not all, but many of our founders were English (English, Irish, French, German and Dutch in my own ancestry). Consequently, we as a culture, while never totally forgetting the mother country, have developed our own particular creed in adaptation to the natural conditions of living in this land or we never would have succeeded in settling here, much less developing the country we have today. It makes sense that we also have the same underlying condescension of our predecessors while being less refined about expressing it, especially in our humor and passion. As it’s said by the character Ben Franklin (another noted and bawdy American humorist AND statesman) in Sherman Edward’s musical “1776”;

    “We’ve spawned a new race here…rougher, simpler, more enterprising, more violent, less refined… we’re a new nationality. We require a new nation”.

    Naturally, a little bit of an ethnocentric attitude can be found in any cultural union of people. Some just are more outspoken in expressing it than others.

    Finally, I find that these days, we Americans are seeing a desperate need to get beyond political correctness. Don’t mistake moving forward from the P.C. excess in our culture with wanting to revert back to old prejudices and our means of expressing them. Rather, in the 21st century, we’re finally seeing an increasing number of our population expressing the desire to all just be Human Beings and to bond on that level, even before being Americans. In essence, we finally are getting back on track about working toward the ideal of America on which we were founded with a 21st century, updated mindset to match. I applaud the attitude on many levels, but especially for the reason that we’ve grown so politically correct about not angering the voluminous number of particular groups in our nation that we’re afraid to speak among each other, much less approach anything with humor.
    Why are we so afraid to offend anyone? Americans, no mater what ethnic, religious, social or political group, have a pole of self-absorbed sensitivity up our kiesters to rival Jack’s magical beanstalk. It’s all flippin’ hilarious until one of our own particulars is addressed humorously. Then we get angry while everyone else being picked on earlier laughs harder! Frankly, we as a culture could lighten up, despite the wealth of famous humorists in our society. Thank the Eternal that unlike some other countries with similar attitudes, we (and Britain) technically still have our freedom of speech.

    Hope I don’t come off as being exceedingly angry or condescending. Just wanted to bring up a few different angles of looking at the matter of humor and expression, as well as some examples. I love seeing how the intricate little threads of so many seemingly separate things can connect together. But then, this is a cover-my-arse disclaimer, in case I’ve offended anyone! Totally no intent of attack or aggression here toward anglopole, my fellow Americans or our British cousins.

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    • Thanks for your comment, Singingsorcerer 🙂 When I have more time I’ll reply to it more extensively.

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