Brand’s path to divinity does not involve childcare, which he says he leaves to his wife. But a true revolutionary would look closer to home
OPINION by Suzanne Moore:
I am way too woke to be part of the backlash against Russell Brand, which was sparked by an interview this weekend in which he talked about fatherhood. I’m so woke I was part of the frontlash. But you don’t really want to cross a man whose revolutionary consciousness involves legal letters – so all I can say is well done Swami Russ for reproducing – and reaching a higher state of evolution than I imagined possible.
After all, it is certainly neither right nor sensible to prefer the womanising, drug-addled Essex thesaurus to his latest incarnation, but then I am not here to be right or sensible. His voyage towards sobriety may have helped many. He rewrote the 12-step programme in his book Recovery; married Katy Perry; told everyone not to vote in 2015 (before changing his mind); oh, and had sex four or five times a day. He was beloved by brocialists as he demanded revolution, but then he forgot how to be funny. He made the political YouTube series The Trews because the bad old MSM (mainstream media) was not to be trusted.
Now, though, he has “settled” down and had two children, as even a living saint must do. He married Laura Gallacher, a “lifestyle blogger”. In fact, it turns out her lifestyle is mainly looking after their two small children, because, not to put too fine a point on it, he does sod all. “I’m still of a romantic and reflective and, possibly, to give it its proper name, a religious disposition,” he says in an interview. It’s lucky, then, he has married someone who presumably isn’t a fellow mystic, because who does the childcare? “Laura does all of it. It turns out that she is extremely well versed in the nuances and complexities of child rearing.”
Amazing. This revolution does not involve childcare. Brand talks about his worries that other people might spoil the perfection of his daughters, but his wife has never, ever, had a night off from them.
I get it, looking after small children is dull. Instead, Brand gets up, prays, meditates, does a lot of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and goes to the gym. How can he possibly have time for these small beings? Plus, he just hasn’t had much experience of organising domesticity. Presumably it all just comes naturally to his wife. When he is alone with the kids he appears to manage so badly that an even bigger mess is made.
We all know relationships like this, where the husband is the most difficult child of all. But then not every woman is married to a seeker of the spiritual path.
So how does one learn to be a parent? Well, it’s a mundane journey all right, but one that dissolves the ego far more than any amount of chanting. It’s not unusual, though, for alternative saints to be entirely traditional. It’s easy not to sweat the small stuff if your mind is on the big stuff: revolution, ending world hunger, reaching the next stage of consciousness.
A true revolutionary, though, might point out that it is the small stuff, and indeed the small people, who matter – that this is where change happens. The labour of love that is cooking and keeping a household together and looking after children is hard and complex – and adulation-free. Women’s work is not seen as the path to divinity, and so Brand witters on, incapable of reflecting on what is happening in his own home.
If he really wants to change the world, or even himself, he could start by changing a few more nappies. I say this with loving kindness and compassion in my heart. Obviously.
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