Earlier this month, comedian Russell Brand created a huge stir when he became possessed with a bit of the ol’ righteous anger and went head to head with BBC correspondent Jeremy Paxman. Agree or disagree, it’s a powerful conversation worth watching. Brand pulls no punches and calls a revolution in no uncertain terms. Brand, like so many people, has had it with The 1%.
Brand goes on to note that the major contribution of the Occupy Movement was to simply open people’s eyes to the concept of the 1%. This much seems undeniable–the phrase itself is now a permanent part of the cultural lexicon. And, of course, there truly are people who make up this elite social class. These are the people who aren’t just rich but wealthy and own multinational corporations, the people who would throw themselves off a roof in despair if they suddenly woke up with Jay-Z’s money.
Brand’s comment is interesting for another reason, though. If the 1% concept is something that we’ve only recently come to understand, why did we all fail to see this for so long? An interesting question, maybe, but not one to explore here. I have bigger fish to fry. Thinking about the Brand interview and this question about the 1%, I was reminded of one of my very favorite (though rarely indulged) wastes of time–YouTube conspiracy theory videos!
For anyone who has never done this, and especially if you are the type of person who enjoys Ancient Aliens, get to your computer and prepare to have your fragile mind blown by the sheer volume of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube (“Illuminati” is a fun keyword to start with). Of course, there are the more ho-hum “9/11 was an inside job” theories, but it doesn’t take long to get the truly outrageous depths of Illuminati Satanists and UFO Cover-ups. I’m not just talking about the videos produced by someone like Alex Jones, who makes a pretty penny spinning these kinds of theories. I’m referring to the countless thousands of videos made by amateurs with crude editing skills and poor grasps on narrative structure. These videos attract millions of views. This is a bonafide genre of fiction. It is broad and it is deep.
So deep, in fact, that it has qualified sub-genres. Perhaps the best developed among these are the “Celebrities Are Illuminati Puppets” theories. Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne, Beyonce, Rihanna… all indoctrinating us with Illuminati propaganda! Not only do the masters of the universe want us to be subservient, they want us to be amused. How nice of them!
All joking aside, the huge audience for these videos means that some of it is bound blow back to the celebs in question. It’s one problem that seems to stick to even the mighty Teflon Don, Rick Ross. “Free Mason” is, in essence, a refutation of the specific claim that he, Jay-Z, and others are Illuminati puppets. Has there ever been a stranger topic for a song? Ross and Jay turn out a strangely enjoyable track, though, morphing this bizarre defense into a kind of black-power anthem and hater kiss-off. It’s very existence, though, is such a curiosity that I’d rank it as a near-must-listen for anyone who’s a little too interested in pop culture memes.
Or, you know, you could just read it as more proof that YOU ARE BEING PROGRAMMED. Fight the power, y’all!
Comments are closed.