Russell Brand Brands “RƎVO˩ution”
by Dr. Susan Block
What a joke. Russell Brand has branded the RƎVO˩ution as his own personal property. The adorable, toothy, wild-eyed comedian/pundit may rant like a prophet against “corporate tyranny,” but he’s not below making a quid off the struggle, even if it means ripping off the people. According to the Daily Mail, in a move one might expect of the corporate sharks he disparages, Russell Brand “is himself embracing capitalism, trademarking a logo that uses his own spelling of ‘revolution.’”
Except it’s a little worse than that. Brand’s brand of “RƎVO˩ution,” with its backwards letters spelling “LOVE” tucked neatly and sweetly inside the “Revolution,” isn’t even “his own spelling.” A quick Google image search shows that love revolutionaries and graphic designers have been utilizing this heartwarming word-within-a-word play for years. Isn’t this—or shouldn’t it be—public domain?
The Daily Mail doesn’t mention that that the spelling of the word has already been in circulation for several years, and neither does Brand. It’s bad enough that thousands of Brand’s fans think their hero invented the “RƎVO˩ution” when he didn’t. Ironically, one of the Web’s most prominent uses of this spelling was in Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign—long before the cover of Brand’s 2014 book was published. This just shows anyone can be a love revolutionary, even a Free-Market Libertarian.
Full disclosure: Max and I have been putting the backwards “LOVE” in our “REVOLUTION” for The Bonobo Way, Bonoboville and on T-shirts for years. I also use it in my foreword to the forthcoming Ecosexuality collection edited by Dr. Serena Anderlini D’Onofrio and Lindsay Hagamen. If anything is worth calling a RƎVO˩ution, it’s the Ecosexuality Movement.
Even earlier, Max used it in Love Magazine in the 1970s, during what’s been called the original Love Revolution. Who knows who came up with it, probably a couple of “Mad Men” brainstorming on acid during the Johnson administration. And now here’s Mad Brand trying to brand it as his own coat of arms that nobody else can use, at least not in the UK.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate Brand’s sometimes eloquent efforts to speak for the 99%, for love, peace, social equality and the spiritual value of cunnilingus. He’s pretty funny, and I wouldn’t kick him out of my broadcast bed. And of course, he has as much right as any of us to use RƎVO˩ution on his book, T-shirts (Nice touch, scrawling RƎVO˩ution across a cross, Russ—no trademark infringement there, of course), “trinkets,” comedy routines, political campaigns, lingerie and project fundraisers. But when he tries to stop the rest of us using it, it’s not funny. Nor is it revolutionary. And it’s certainly not LOVE.
So, let him sue us. We’re going to continue using it, as should everybody else. The RƎVO˩ution, with its playful bonoboësque spelling, is our RƎVO˩ution, not just a brand of Russell Brand.
© May 12, 2015. Susan Block, Ph.D., a.k.a. “Dr. Suzy,” is a world renowned LA sex therapist, author of The Bonobo Way: The Evolution of Peace through Pleasure and horny housewife, occasionally seen on HBO and other channels. For speaking engagements, call 310-568-0066.