Russell Brand Pens an Essay on the London Riots

6:45 PM PST 08/12/2011 by Lauren Schutte
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The comedic actor calls the violent protests 'sad and frightening' in a missive titled 'Big Brother isn't watching you'.

Many celebrities and native Brits have spoken out via twitter, but Russell Brand took to UK newspaper the Guardian to air his thoughts on the many days of rioting in London. 140 characters wasn't enough for the comedian-turned-actor. 

"I no longer live in London," Brand writes at the opening of his nearly 1,800 word essay. "I've been transplanted to Los Angeles by a combination of love and money; such good fortune and opportunity, in both cases, you might think disqualify me from commenting on matters in my homeland."

Brand goes on to admit that when he was younger, he too rioted in England and was even arrested for "criminal damage" years ago.

"I  found those protests exciting, yes, because I was young and a bit of a twerp but also, I suppose, because there was a void in me. A lack of direction, a sense that I was not invested in the dominant culture, that government existed not to look after the interests of the people it was elected to represent but the big businesses that they were in bed with.

I felt that, and I had a mum who loved me, a dad who told me that nothing was beyond my reach, an education, a grant from Essex council (to train as an actor of all things!!!) and several charities that gave me money for maintenance. I shudder to think how disenfranchised I would have felt if I had been deprived of that long list of privileges.

That state of deprivation though is, of course, the condition that many of those rioting endure as their unbending reality. No education, a weakened family unit, no money and no way of getting any. JD Sports is probably easier to desecrate if you can't afford what's in there and the few poorly paid jobs there are taken. Amidst the bleakness of this social landscape, squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity. That daily, hourly, incessantly enforces the egregious, deceitful message that you are what you wear, what you drive, what you watch and what you watch it on, in livid, neon pixels. The only light in their lives comes from these luminous corporate messages. No wonder they have their fucking hoods up."

Read the rest of Brand's piece here

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