If Jesus strode into your meeting tomorrow and started talking about social justice, I dare say he’d get thrown out. For one thing, by modern standards he’d look a bit threatening – as many of you probably realise in that remote part of your brain used for thinking vaguely about things you don’t give a crap about, he probably didn’t look like a blond, bearded nancy in a dressing gown. He was a carpenter, a job requiring huge strength in the day, so he’d be a bulky lad, probably a bit dusky of skin, scarred of hand and a bit ripe, as was the standard back then. Oh, and hair was worn short at the time, especially by carpenters for health and safety reasons.
Even if we update him for contemporary society, the poverty, outspoken nature, challenging conventional views that polarised popular opinion and his use of unusual constructions of speech and thought would still mark him out as someone likely to be ejected by security.
Naturally, as I make this tenuous comparison between Mr Brand and Mr er… Christ, I’m fully aware that it’s a fatuous point made for the purpose of debate.
But here’s my point. I’m not a fan of Jesus and don’t wanna be in his gang, although not as much as I’m glad I wasn’t in Gary Glitter’s. Now there would be an offensive comparison. He does, (Christ, not Glitter) make some good points, though. You can’t argue with that stuff about loving thy neighbour. In fact, one can’t help but think that if every world leader took Jesus’ advice to heart, the world would be a substantially better place than it is now.
Not liking someone doesn’t make them wrong. In fact, even when someone you don’t like is wrong about something, it doesn’t make them wrong about everything and it doesn’t mean that you can just screen out everything that they say. I believe that law and government should be 100% secular but I can still find a great deal of wisdom in selected religious teachings. Much of what went into the evolution of religion was to help people, after all.
I happen to agree with the YouGov poll, although I don’t like anything about the organisation and I think that the poll is part of an organised part of a smear campaign to discredit Brand. I still, personally, don’t find him that funny.
I disagree with him on some major issues, too. Like voting. I believe passionately that everyone should use their vote – albeit by voting for the issues, (which would give us a green government, by the way) and not the politician they find most affable (although Farage has queered his pitch with the breastfeeding thing – we all seem to have decided that we prefer an accidental flash of boob to repeated exposure to that prick)
Still, I admire Brand for some of his views, for bringing the debate about the power of corporations to a wider audience, for the compassion and sense in his views on drug rehabilitation, for wanting to try to do something to help the people on the New Era estate.
And in this video, where he talks about the Murdoch empire, he’s bang on.
Brand will continue to divide opinion and will attract an ever larger and more powerful list of detractors. I supported his inclusion in the A level English syllabus and I approve even more so now, because his opponents will provide a set of sterling examples of logical fallacies for people to study – and if you think that “logical fallacy” is a bit rude, you’re half right, it can be used to prove that you’re a bit of a dick (I know, I like Radio 4 humour, ok?) so you might want to check out a guide to them before you start leaving inane comments on a web page.
So regardless of what you think of Brand, Jesus (OK guys, the church is facing declining numbers, how do we get ‘Brand Jesus’ back up to number 1? Shudders and gags a bit…) or even me, for that matter, know your logical fallacies, listen to the arguments and let’s see if we can think clearly about the issues without getting carried away with the personalities, shall we? Whether it’s an election, an account of the news, religion or some obscure philosophical point, it shouldn’t matter who says it, it should matter if what’s said makes sense. We should be looking for collective reason, not prophets. We all know that Brand is not the Messiah…
(wanders off shaking head without delivering dreadful punchline)