Centuries hence, cultural anthropologists will marvel that we early 21st century Americans gave a hoot what celebrities thought about important issues. Really, why would anyone care what Russell Brand has to say about anything? Does starring in "Arthur" provide policy expertise? Yet, Brand has joined with a bunch of other celebrities in an obnoxious, but very neatly edited, video called "I am Bradley Manning." The video encapsulates everything that is wrong about celebrity culture. First, these people are not Bradley Manning, and no amount of familiarity with the Stanislavski method will make them so. Manning is currently on trial because he dumped a huge amount of classified documents to Wikileaks, even though Manning himself had neither the expertise nor the capacity to assess whether such documents could cause harm to others. It is my fervent hope that he will have time to consider those consequences for a good long time in a jail cell. Too bad Mr. Brand and others cannot join him. Perhaps they can consider another movie: "Forgetting Bradley Manning." Me? I would prefer a news story entitled "Forgetting Russell Brand." And, no, I will not provide a link to the insipid video.
June 19, 2013