SARAH VINE: Russell Brand's online empire of the deluded and deranged shows the old world order is at breaking point

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There is a certain irony to the predicament in which Russell Brand, former ‘comedian’ and now self-appointed, bare-chested guardian of ‘truth’ (lately a highly contested concept) finds himself.

On the one hand, he proclaims himself a victim of cancel culture, persecuted and reviled on social media for his alleged sex crimes, pre-judged without fair trial, condemned without due process.

On the other, he harnesses the feral power of the mob to his defence across multiple platforms, demanding that his millions of followers open their minds to the notion that he is not, in fact, a grubby sex pest but a brave and noble warrior whose actions have made him the target of a nefarious old-world cabal of murky government agents, big pharma, ‘legacy media’ and very possibly some lizard people, too.

The double standards are impressive. Brand invokes ‘free speech’ as both proof of his innocence and as justification for his paranoid ramblings; and yet seeks to deny it in the case of his accusers and alleged victims.

He rails against the ‘cancel culture’ that jeopardises his lucrative online revenue streams, seemingly oblivious to the irony that the vast and unregulated power of social media is the very thing that enables these virtual lynch mobs against him in the first place.

SARAH VINE: There is a certain irony to the predicament in which Russell Brand finds himself

SARAH VINE: There is a certain irony to the predicament in which Russell Brand finds himself

On the one hand, he proclaims himself a victim of cancel culture. On the other, he harnesses the feral power of the mob to his defence across multiple platforms. Brand is pictured in 2014

On the one hand, he proclaims himself a victim of cancel culture. On the other, he harnesses the feral power of the mob to his defence across multiple platforms. Brand is pictured in 2014

Live by the sword, die by the sword, you might well think. But there is more to this than one man desperately clinging to his magic money tree as the storm engulfs him. This is about a fundamental shift in the way society works.

The internet has created a whole new class of human, defined not by hard work or intelligence or kindness or bravery — or indeed any of the qualities by which we used to measure humanity — but by a simple ability to appeal to the deluded, the paranoid and the dispossessed.

READ MORE: SARAH VINE: No army has ever matched the massed ranks of keyboard warriors backing Russell Brand online

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The internet was never conceived as a tool of destruction: it was meant to make life easier, to connect minds, to usher in an age of utopian wonder. And in many ways it has succeeded: life in the online age has many advantages that those of us who grew up in an analogue world could barely have imagined.

But the deeper the tendrils of digitisation infiltrate all aspects of our existence, the more the dark side begins to emerge. From primary schoolchildren being exposed to hardcore porn to all kinds of extremism and abuse, the total lack of any kind of civil, moral or legal boundaries online have encouraged the more depraved aspects of the human psyche to flourish.

And as the lines between virtual reality and actual reality have become ever more blurred, the infection has spread. Increasingly, success is no longer sought in philosophy, art, academia, literature, philanthropy: it’s measured in numbers of social media followers, or whether the algorithm approves.

Skills and education seem increasingly meaningless; experience, wisdom, dedication, hard work and loyalty matter not a jot. The old world order is slowly but surely breaking down, and society in all its forms is being reshaped.

We are caught in a never-ending downward spiral of mindless TikTok-ification, where the more you are prepared to expose yourself — and the more you push the boundaries of what is decent, moral, honest and truthful — the more you are rewarded, financially and socially.

At the end of the day, Russell Brand is just Andrew Tate (right) in ripped jeans

At the end of the day, Russell Brand is just Andrew Tate (right) in ripped jeans

Why get a real job in the real world which requires real work when you can earn good money by just turning on your computer and feeding the hungers of the billions of humans on this planet — for porn, for conspiracy theories, for viral dance trends — or whatever gets the clicks and views?

From Kim Kardashian to Bud Light’s trans poster girl Dylan Mulvaney, via every wannabe sensation in between, the internet has turned civilisation into a grim circus of grotesques, a pageant of pointlessness with about as much intellectual nourishment as a triangle of processed cheese.

At the end of the day, Russell Brand is just Andrew Tate in ripped jeans, a prince in this new empire of the depraved and deranged. He honestly believes that his virtual power places him above all scrutiny and renders him immune to the laws and strictures of the real world.

And the saddest truth of all? He’s almost certainly right.

 

Have you ever done something so spectacularly stupid you fear you may be losing your mind? The other morning I stepped out of my front door and panicked when I saw my car was gone. I summoned my daughter and her long-suffering boyfriend, who scoured the immediate area and confirmed that it was nowhere to be found. I rang the police and reported it stolen.

Some time later, I was trundling along on my bike when I suddenly had a flash of realisation. I knew exactly where my car was: I had left it in an underground garage near my office. There followed an extremely uncomfortable call to the police to un-report the theft and an eye-watering sum to pay at the car park.

Now I understand what people mean when they talk about ‘senior moments’.

 

A leg up with Posh and flex

Remember a few years ago when Victoria Beckham went through that weird phase of being photographed lying down with one leg in the air?

Is this just an extension of that? Or maybe it’s just what happens as you get older — you can’t quite get it up like you used to.

Either way, it’s an awfully odd way to advertise perfume.

Victoria Beckham models for her beauty brand unveiling new fragrance line

Victoria Beckham models for her beauty brand unveiling new fragrance line

 

The other day, I was driving around a part of the countryside that’s been dug up to make way for HS2. 

All I can say is that if the Government had come along and made such an godawful mess of my neighbourhood, I would be furious at the idea that it had all been for nothing. 

 

Last week, Iran approved a law that allows women to be jailed for ten years if they are dressed ‘inappropriately’. 

In November, it takes up its role as chair of the UN Human Rights Council Social Forum. 

That’s right: a regime that rapes, tortures and kills women for not wearing headscarves in a leading human rights role. 

No wonder Russia thinks it should rejoin, having been expelled for invading Ukraine. Why stop there? Kim Jong-un hasn’t got much on at the moment…

 

I don’t understand why Sir Keir Starmer thinks imposing VAT on private school fees will ‘shatter the class ceiling’. 

Surely it won’t affect the elite, but middle-class parents will be forced to take their children out of private schools and put them in the state system. 

So that’s the modern Labour Party: protecting the super-rich, penalising the aspirational middle class and stretching public services even further. Keep going Keir, you’re on to a winner!

I don't understand why Sir Keir Starmer thinks imposing VAT on private school fees will 'shatter the class ceiling'

I don’t understand why Sir Keir Starmer thinks imposing VAT on private school fees will ‘shatter the class ceiling’

 

Avanti goes backwards…

Stand-up comedian James Nokise’s account of a farcical three-and-a-half-hour cab ride to Edinburgh after his Avanti West Coast train service from London was terminated at Preston due to a ‘track defect’ was hilarious.

After what sounds like a terrifying journey in which his cabbie ‘decided to change lanes without indicating and almost crashed into a mini-van overtaking him’, Nokise concludes: ‘Perhaps . . . throwing money at cab drivers and getting them to drive several hours in the middle of the night might not be the best contingency plan for train companies.’

Indeed. But at least they tried. The same cannot be said of companies like British Airways which, when they leave their passengers stranded — as they increasingly seem to do — just dump them outside the airport, often in the middle of the night, without any assistance.

It’s been weeks since they did this to me in Marseille — and still not a hint of reimbursement or a breath of apology. Lost in the post, perhaps?

 

Isn’t it interesting how after a couple of weeks of the liberal media wailing about Rishi Sunak’s so-called ‘lurch to the Right’ (aka a few minor adjustments to the Government’s green policies) he has shortened Labour’s lead in the polls by eight points? 

Could it be that voters want a Tory prime minister who does conservative things? 

 

How do you know when someone has lost the argument? When they start calling you names. 

To wit, the leader of the Lib Dems, Sir Ed Davey, saying that ‘clown’ is the ‘wrong C-word’ for the Conservatives. Pathetic.

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, during the party conference in Bournemouth on September 26

Sir Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, during the party conference in Bournemouth on September 26




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