On January 23 Russell Brand said Americans were motivated by a “fear” that caused them to want guns and to “embrace heroic figures like Chris Kyle.” He also questioned whether the drive toward guns and heroes is so strong that America’s love of “American Sniper” will mute criticism of guns and war altogether.
Speaking in a video released on his “The Trews” YouTube channel, Brand segued into his questions about “American Sniper” by pointing to the backlash Liam Neeson faced after criticizing private gun ownership while standing in front of a poster of himself holding one in “Taken 3.”
Brand sarcastically quipped: “You’re very ignorant there, Liam, suggesting that guns and death from guns are somehow linked.” He then mocked those who don’t understand that Neeson can use guns in the imaginary world of film yet criticize the ownership of guns in the “physical, shared, consensual world that we all inhabit.”
Brand asked if the film’s critics must be keep their criticism of America’s gun culture to themselves.
He admitted that he hadn’t seen the movie, but said he fears the film “legitimizes a certain kind of sentiment” nonetheless. He said “you’ve got to applaud that sense in” military personnel who “are prepared to go and risk life and death, but it doesn’t mean “you can’t question what happens with their energy; where it’s put.”
To those who’ve defended Chris Kyle’s service as a sniper, Sarah Palin in particular, Brand stressed that war isn’t fought for regular people or so movies like “Taken 3” can be made, “but mostly for energy companies, arms companies, [and] political elites.”
Toward the end of the episode he brought the topic back to guns and asked if America’s love for certain films and guns means Americans can no longer “distinguish between Liam Neeson being in a film and then sort of saying, I don’t really like the idea that I’m tacitly supporting the gun trade.”
He said “fear” is driving people and “as long as people are frightened people will want to buy guns. As long as people are frightened they will want to have heroic figures like Chris Kyle knocking off Iraqis and not thinking about the consequences, like whether or not some of those people were children and non-combatants.”
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