Meanwhile, over on Channel Four‘s Alan Carr Chatty Man chat show, Russell Brand will be trying to shake up the system his way.
The Greenygrey of Ghost, Agnetha and Brand
Hi, it’s Grey Greyvara, social conscience at the Greenygrey. It’s a coincidence that Agnetha is making her first live appearance for 25 years in the year Marc Latham is celebrating his 25 years of travelling… and passed from the Kerouacian age to the Agnethan.
Russell Brand is also a child of Kerouac, as he showed in a documentary he did retracing the On The Road journey, now with parts available on YouTube.
Of the people mentioned in the introductory paragraph, Ghost and Russell Brand might be seen as in one corner, and Agnetha Faltskog in another.
While the obvious reason for that is that Ghost and Russell Brand are men, and Agnetha is a woman, the real reason for supposing their differences are that Agnetha is generally seen as a safe quiet mainstream artist, while the others are troublesome loud counter-culture artists.
Abba did have some controversial lyrics questioning institutional religion, as discussed by Bjorn recently, but they were missed at the time because Abba were generally seen as nice, safe and squeaky clean members of the ‘good community’.
The ‘good community’ that has historically and recently put institutions, religions and the powerful before children in real need.
Reasons to be Cynical
At around the same time as Ian Dury and the Blockheads were singing Reasons to be Cheerful I was cynical of Bob Geldof at the time of Live Aid, and hated Princess Diana‘s posturing in front of the camera. I now think they were generally doing good.
While Agnetha Faltskog and Gary Barlow do have a record out, I don’t think they need the money, so I think their Children in Need duet is generally a genuine charity performance; especially as Agnetha doesn’t like performing live.
While Ghost and Russell Brand might be seen as ‘being true and genuine’ by their young fans, because they are being so one-dimensionally critical of ‘the system’, they are also trying to sell products and make money in an artistic and media world where you have to shout to be heard.
As Marc Latham is trying to sell products at the Greenygrey.
Only Ideological Extremists Heard in Modern Media
The shout-to-be-heard age is epitomised in the media-political world by Jeremy Clarkson on the right and George Galloway on the left.
At the Greenygrey we believe in taking both sides of an argument or social position into consideration… like politicians!… which is why we probably aren’t being as noticed as much as the Clarksons, Galloways and Brands… or popular with one half of people, and unpopular with the other half… but if only one half buy your products you’re doing well..! and if you’re not ‘telling one half of people what they want to hear’ you probably won’t be heard, or sell much product..!!
P.S. Russell Brand is shouting a simplistic hegemonic theory at the political elite; the same theoretical framework used by Dr. Marc Latham to criticise the British elite system in his 2000-2005 PhD thesis.
P.P.S. I have consciously only included Agnetha images for comedic effect… although I think they do look nicer than the images of the other people featured in the blog.
P.P.P.S. That doesn’t mean I like the look of all women, or even all blonde women. Myra Hindley and Margaret Thatcher were ‘blondes’!
Hi, it’s Baron Wolfman, head honcho of Greenygrey Creation in the absence of the legendary Andy Wolfhol. There’s been lots of Sweden talk on this here blog lately, so I thought I’d bring you some greenygrey Stockholm photos, not anything like those featured on our ol’ pal Marc Latham’s travel25years.wordpress.com blog (but there are some other greenygrey ones there too!).
Here we go,
Stockholm without snow,
on a clear day,
Sweden’s flag is yellowyblue,
and the sunnysky is too.
Hi, it’s Grey Greyvara, social conscience at the Greenygrey. When Marc Latham was studying for his PhD from 2000-2005 he was considered a Jew in a derogatory Islamo-fascist-liberal way for daring to say the Middle-East was a cycle of violence; mostly influenced by the work of media analyst with a cool surname Gadi Wolfsfeld.
Islamo-fascism continued in the area Marc lived, and that persecution of anything criticising Islam probably helped inspire some of those involved in the 7/7 bombings of 2005.
Marc was still quite a radical socialist during that time, so was critical of Islam for its social inequality and human rights abuses. But criticism of Islam at university was decoded and demonised as being pro-West, pro-Israeli and right-wing.
Marc understands this is the way the world is divided between east and west; highlighted in the Syrian conflict recently. Marc doesn’t like the U.S. blockade of Cuba, but also doesn’t like Cuba’s alliance with countries such as Syria and Iran; although the West’s ally in the Middle-East Saudi Arabia also has a terrible human rights record.
While that might sound Islamophobic, Marc enjoyed his time in Islamic countries when travelling through them in the 1980s. It’s not Islamic people on the whole that Marc criticises, it is their rulers and ideologies.
Unfortunately, Islamism has risen since the 1980s, inspiring more people to become extremists. This has had a knock-on effect in other countries and religions, with more Christian and Jewish extremists, as well as more radical atheists.
As a focus on Islamism took over the left in the U.K.; originally through New Labour, and now epitomised by George Galloway; and 7/7 happened; Marc moved to the political centre, and out of academic life, leading to Greenygrey theory on this here websitey.
From Marxism to Scandinavian Democracy
Marc moved from being a bit of a British Marxist, common in 1980s Britain, to a Scandinavian style democratic socialist; although Scandinavia has also changed politically since the Utopian post-World War II era, and many parts have become more capitalist.
However, it still scores highly in most standard-of-living and democratic ideals ratings: equality, press freedom, freedom of speech, environmental innovation etc.
So I was interested to hear Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus express similar views to Marc on religion recently, published on the British Rationalist Association website; and in particular on the negativity and threat of Islamism.
Moreover, our ol’ pal Marc Latham replied on September 18th, before the latest explosion of Islamism in Kenya (and Pakistan, where dozens of Christians were killed in a Taliban suicide bombing attack):
‘Israel has some responsibility in the Middle-East, because of its expansionism, but it is only Islam that is still spreading religious war around the region, and out into the rest of the world.
And even then, Judaism was around for about 1000 years before Islam, and Christianity for about 500 years before Islam, and they are both trying desperately to hold on to some land/a foothold in their Middle-East homes.’
Marc hopes that Iran’s election of the more moderate Rouhani and his recent peaceful overtones to the ‘West’ can bring a new era of hope to the Middle-East.
Bjorn Ulvaeus Swedish Humanist
I didn’t know that Bjorn Ulvaeus was a Swedish humanist until I read that interview, or that he’d had a similar religious journey to Marc Latham until watching the following interview.
Bjorn Ulvaeus was also a secular freedom of speech advocate who didn’t take much interest in religion until the rise of Islamism and 9/11:
Hi, it’s Martin ‘Werewolfie’ Adams, comedy satire sports correspondent at the Greenygrey with a not so funny round-up from the women’s European Championships (not reflecting a lack of humour in women). Congratulations to the Norway women, who qualified for Sunday’s European Championships final last night with a penalty-kicks win over the plucky Danes.
Eidfjord Norway Photos
It is now left to the Norwegians to provide resistance to German domination of the competition.
Not that the German women are like the World War Two German men who invaded Scandinavia. And a lot of them were just normal people really; just caught up in the whirlwind that had gripped their political system.
German Confidence Helps them Win
Although the German women have dominated the competition by winning the last five championships, and seven of the last eight, with only a Norway victory interrupting the sequence, the Germans were under strength in this competition, with several players out injured.
So the Germans did well to defeat the Swedish hosts 1-0 in the other semi-final, with the occasion seeming to get to the Swedish players; along with a dubious refereeing decision disallowing their goal when they did get the ball in the German net.
To try and avoid a John Inverdalism, in the perilous territory of men reporting women’s sports, we have used a photo of German modelHeidi Klum above, rather than any of the German women’s football team; that’s not to say there aren’t any ‘lookers’ on the German team, it’s just to avoid allegations of ‘sexism’ or ‘favouritism’.
We Love Scandinavian Women
Sweden has provided an excellent championships, with the crowd support reflecting their position as one of the top gender equality countries in the world.
Norway is just ahead of Sweden in the 2012 rankings (third and fourth), while Germany is surprisingly down in thirteenth. Iceland and Finland are the top two. Ireland and New Zealand are fifth and sixth, before the other Scandinavia country, Denmark.
The U.K. is down in 18th, surprisingly one place above Cuba, which I thought would be higher with their socialist system. Another surprise to me is that the U.S.A. is down in 22nd.