Yeah, That Russell Brand vs. Peter Hitchens 'Debate' Went About as Well as You'd Expect
"Thank" isn't quite the word, so let's just say I want to "credit" Canadian author and broadcaster Michael Coren for bringing the video below to my attention.
You see, earlier this month, columnist Peter Hitchens, comedian Russell Brand, and, from what I can gather, a cast of thousands took part in "a very strange encounter," as Hitchens put it later, "presented as a debate but in fact not really one, more a sort of combative colloquy, streamed live by Google and Intelligence Squared (...) from a large hole in the ground near King’s Cross Station in London, underneath the offices of the The Guardian."
There's an "old Indian burial ground" joke in their somewhere. Surely the locale alone put the curse on the event before it even began?
As the video shows, there were also far too many participants on the roster, all clamoring to be heard on the topic of drug legalization.
Hitchens managed to get a few words in, expressing his skepticism about the disease model of alcoholism (a skepticism I don't share, for personal reasons, but understand completely, also for personal reasons -- AA having been hijacked over 20 years ago by "drum circle," "inner child" whiners fixated on faddish phobias and neuroses).
Hitchens added -- and here Bill W. and Dr. Bob would have agreed, in fact -- that addiction has a moral component.
Need I tell you what happened next? Hitchens continues:
These are perfectly arguable propositions and I think I made the case for them clearly and rationally. The response I received was not rational. It was a form of rage, mingled with incredulity. They thought everyone like me was dead already. How dare I still be alive? (...)
[Russell Brand] responded to my point about selfish rich kids with a tirade of personal abuse and the standard all-purpose false accusation of racial prejudice that is the universal sign of a person who has no good argument, and knows he has no good argument.
As his voice rose to a whine similar to the sound of an ill-tuned hand-dryer, he railed at me for daring to work for a newspaper he didn’t agree with (and which caught him out in a piece of behaviour which doesn’t exactly redound to his credit). It is amusing to be accused of bigotry by someone who fulfils its characteristics himself.
Behold, and brace yourself against cringing:
I discovered this video at Michael Coren's blog. (Yes, he blogs, along with writing books -- distinguished biographies of literary greats, along with popular Catholic apologetics -- and penning a weekly syndicated column and hosting a nightly national TV show.)
Above the video, Coren added his own tantalizing remarks:
I grew up quite close to the fraud [Russell] Brand. Believe me, his accent, his views, his claim to be a football fan, are all part of a carefully contrived persona. Most awful of all, he’s not funny. Here he is being ripped apart by Peter Hitchens, and responding to an intelligent set of criticisms by accusing Hitchens of being personal – he does this by being personal!
Oooooh! Chippy, chippy, chippy! I had to hear more (and express my confusion about Brand's apparent popularity).