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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Is Russell Brand an Ideology? Not sure he is, but I AM!

The question of whether Russell Brand can be an ideology was brought up by one of my students in media studies last Friday, when we were discussing the ideology. In order to help and bring you into the picture, ideology is a set of beliefs hold by an individual, group or society taken as granted, but which might not be true at all.

For instance, to give you an example, when I was born, on the 10th of July (which is a month of cancer) during the year of Dragon (I prefer to keep my age as a secret for the time being), it was in the socialist country of the Soviet Union, which was busy building communism at that time. I wasn’t questioning the ideal, of course not, because it was and still is, the best system that a society can have. To each, according to their needs, as Marx would say. In reality, however, this system is the absolute opposite of truth, since humans are too greedy to be able to ever make it happen.

Moving back to the UK, where I am now, we live in the capitalism, which is presented to us as the prefect structure, since we can all try to make money, appear on the X-Factor and try to lure beauty industry into believing that we are the next top model. Do you understand? Total rubbish, in other words.
And so, when the student asked me about Russell Brand and whether he can be analysed as an ideology, I have to say, I was smitten and for a couple of seconds (more like a whole bloody minute) lost my voice (which is rare, as I hardly ever can shut up during my seminars because I simply love teaching).

My first (internal dialogue) reaction was: WHAT? Followed by (still internal dialogue), I have no ‘f’ clue, and then arriving at the obvious conclusion that most of my students are geniuses.
I mean, who could ever think of Russell Brand as an ideology? He is a Brand, not an ideology!
But, that question has been chasing me for the whole week, to an extent that I have been researching it rigorously. The thing is, I was curious about Russell Brand before, because I remember that day when I was skipping some boring presentations at a conference, and since no clothes’ shops were in the proximity I went to the local academic bookshop. And here it was, that ‘Revolution’ book by Russell Brand, occupying the most prominent place, at the centre of the shop, storing hundreds of copies.

In all honestly, I was surprised to see it because I knew of Russell Brand as a comedian, and seeing him getting into politics with some hint at Marxism, stopped me on my track and I almost bought the book, but then remembered that I had to go back to the conference and a bag of purchase from a bookshop would betray me as the biggest procrastinator.
However, I did subscribe to his channel on Youtube and watch him occasionally, because I do find him funny and he has quite refreshing and interesting view on politics. As quoted from Wikipedia, “British commentator Joan Smith dismissed Brand as the "canny self-publicist" who indulges in "waffle about 'revolution'" as "one celebrity, I'm afraid, who's more idiot than savant."
But I disagree with such criticism! It might be that Joan Smith is an idiot herself. For instance, if Russell Brand actually voted (he encouraged sabotaging elections for a number of times), he could indeed become an ideology, especially if he delivers on his promise ‘We’ve got to do something’ and does shake up the current prevailing thinking that we live in some sort of democracy. He is also a very nice and kind man, and all the money from the book goes to charity. And looking at his date of birth, 14th of June 1975, he has all the chances to become a politician. His year of birth is the Rabbit, and according to the Chinese, rabbits can make great career in the political sphere. His month of birth represents Gemini, who are natural leaders and end up with a lot of followers.
So, yes, let’s watch this space in terms of Russell Brand becoming a leader of some new political party.
But coming back to me, and my title, I started to think that I could become an ideology myself! You see, I am mental (officially so) and my belief about madness is that it is not an illness but a gift from God. Some of us are blessed with seeing, and I do belong to the group. I also possess all the necessary narcissistic skills to actually build up on my theory of me being an ideology and will update you on that in my next post.
I am stuck with the ideas about how to call my ideology though, so, please, do comment with some suggestions!
Sincerely yours,

Ekaterina (ideology), PhD

Monday, November 7, 2016

On the matter of vaping (e-cigarette). The beauty product of today!

As promised in my video on feminism where I said I would tell why I enjoy beauty products while still being a feminist (MY VIEW ON FEMINISM), I didn’t deliver and wrote about Brexit instead (The Brexit Affair).
I got side-tracked by the obvious development in the Brexit melodrama (the ruling by the High Court), but today it is a calm day before the upcoming storm of the American elections tomorrow, and therefore, I reckoned that it is a good opportunity to talk about something nice happening within the beauty industry, which is the Phenomenon of Vaping.

I have to admit, rather reluctantly, that the idea that it might belong to the domain of the beauty industry, came from the French press, which I was reading last Wednesday morning, an activity I do engage in occasionally, since I like to compare what different media outlets talk about depending on where they are based.
And so, I was sitting with my coffee and my e-cigarette, enjoying both vaping and drinking my coffee, when I saw that one of the headlines in the French press was about a mega study made in the UK about the benefits of using the e-cigarette in order to stop smoking (here is the link to the original article French press getting lost in their own research).

In my defense it was quite early and I still needed two more cups of coffee in order to wake up properly, and so I missed the fact that the authors of the article actually provided a link to that major research that the UK made (such as a single article published 2 months previously, here is a link: UK Mega Research on e-cigarette). And therefore, I went into the accusation mode in my video (watch me introducing the phenomenon of vaping), and pointed out to the fact that the French press is lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of where they dig out their info. Just to give you an idea, while they did provide the link to an article which was published in September, if you read the article properly (which I did), it is just a review of the study which was done as far away as 2014. ‘Bonjour la Temporisation’.
But I should stop criticizing the French press and rather applaud them for their remarkable insight into the beauty of the e-cigarette.
Yes, it is rather good for your health especially for addicts like me, and I did research (quite extensively) as to why I used to smoke and why I now vape.
So, I read, and read on about what the psychologists wrote about it (obviously, quite a lot), and decided that the prize of absolute stupidity still belongs to Sigmund Freud.
After all it was him, who, while chain-smoking, came up with his grandiose theory that everything we do in our lives, has some sort of sexual connotation. Men suffer from Oedipus complex (for the rest of their lives), and women have that Electra thing going on until they die.

And of course, he had his thoughts (sexually-oriented) about smoking and cigarettes.
It is rather unfortunate that Freud is dead and I can’t argue with him and call him an idiot, but I will still express my opinion.
I vape because I, fucking, love it!
That’s it, no hidden agenda behind, whatsoever.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Let me tell you a tale. Shakespeare himself would be bewildered by the next twist in this story, but allow me trying to sing it off. Well, kind of.
The story in itself (The Brexit affair) reminds me of one of the best psycho-dramas of all times. It has a beginning (well, kind of, and I will elaborate on it in the next paragraph), a disturbance of equilibrium (like the ruling of the High Court today), several mises en scenes, as well as dramatic changes of characters (from Cameron to May, from Hammond to Johnson, and from Farage being very British, to aiming at becoming American). We all know the narrative as well. The end is, however, and not very subtly, totally unclear, reminding me of that song ‘Are we Nearly there Yet’ that somehow all children end up singing at their Christmas play, here in the UK. And this is why, in my humble opinion, it fits more the genre of psycho-drama, rather than tragedy-comedy, but Shakespeare might disagree.

The beginning can be traced right back to when the EU was created, but I will skip the history part and go to my personal ‘affair’ with Brexit. Unlike most of my friends who woke up on the 24th of June with the impression that they had a ‘bad trip’, I, in all honesty, was sitting with a smug face, while drinking my coffee and reading the Guardian, processing the news that the UK voted out. My inner satisfaction wasn’t due to the result (I had an emotional outbreak later that day and fell out with half of my Facebook friends) but because I won a family argument. In the month of May, we all traveled to Dover by car (to spend our holidays in the other part of the EU, over the channel), which is something like five hours from Sheffield, and as any other family, we broke into an argument two hours into the drive.
The fallout was around Brexit. We are all Europeans in my family, and as it happens, all academics and so, my mum and my step-dad were telling me that ‘they will vote to remain, because they are not stupid! Just wait and see!’ I, however, was telling the opposite, ‘THEY WILL VOTE OUT’. You see, I do travel to work by train, and it didn’t take me too long to conclude that people in the North would simply vote out as a vote against the establishment. It is not the same as ‘Winter is Coming’ from Games of Thrones, but it isn’t that far off. Just visit Doncaster.

So, on that historic morning of the 24th of June, I called my mum.
                “Ha-ha-ha, so who is the smartest, the cleverest, the most insightful in the family, ah????”
I have to admit that my mum is better at maths.
In the next week or so though, I, obviously, started to become quite concerned. Would I, like, be deported from the country? Would they separate us from our cat, who is British and was born here, while I wasn’t? How to stay in the country which I deeply love but which suddenly became rather hostile? Not towards me, personally, but to foreigners in general?

I was upset until it struck me that people in the government don’t have a fucking clue about what to do next themselves. Despite May’s reassurance to Beware the Ides of March 2017, it is not necessary going to happen. Someone actually got the guts and took the government to court. The Brexit as such, is not a question of to be or not to be, it has already happened, but how it will end, this only God does know.

And while the ruling of High Court might be just a temporary diversion, I will still get a glass of champagne and party like a Russian (WATCH ME MAKING RUSSIAN BREAKFAST), especially that tomorrow I will get the new CD of my favorite British singer, Robbie Williams.

The Brexit Affair – British humour at its best.