He may be well known to many as an outspoken comedian and activist, besides an occasional actor in feature films and infamously the man who kissed West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce on Match of the Day, but Russell Brand clearly also rates as a bit of an intellectual these days. His position among the world's most important thinkers was confirmed recently by his fourth place ranking according to a poll involving the readers of "Prospect", a British current affairs magazine.
This was the fourth time that the magazine had conducted its global poll, with almost 3,000 votes being cast, utilising the social media tools of Facebook and Twitter. Brand's inclusion among the initial list of 50 names was viewed with a good deal of interest in the media, but it seems that the voters have not been quite so sceptical and agreed that he does indeed merit a place among the greatest minds across the planet. Brand's anti-capitalist views have been seized upon by certain youth elements in Britain and last October he produced his own manifesto ('Revolution') with suggestions for how wealth and power should be redistributed more equitably.
Top of the poll was the French economist Thomas Piketty with 25.8% of the vote, with his ground breaking book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" clearly striking a chord with many voters, judging by the staggering 1.5 million copies it has sold across the world, being translated into several languages as a result. 'Inequality' is a hot topic in political circles these days and anything that relates to that is of interest to intellectuals, so Piketty ranks highly from that viewpoint.
Greece's Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis took second place and shares some of the traits of Piketty. The left-wing Syriza party's triumph in Greece's general elections in January owed much to Varoufakis' efforts, hence his esteemed position as a result. His ongoing efforts to restructure Greece's debt in negotiations with the rest of the Eurozone have also drawn attention to him worldwide.
The first woman to appear on the list came in third place, with the famous author Naomi Klein claiming that honour, probably through her prominent position in opposing excessive consumer capitalism. Books such as "No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies" from 1999 and last year's "This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate" seem to have been appreciated by many readers.
In total there were just two women who made the top ten, as Arundhati Roy joined Klein with her 6th place position, which equalled the number appearing in the list in 2014. That still demonstrated an upward curve in the public's acceptance of the female intellect compared to 2013, when no women were represented in the top ten. There were a further three women in the top twenty this year. #Celebrities #Society