Palatinate Issue # 715
Well done to you if you have somehow avoided getting involved, one way or another, in a politely heated X Factor VS Rage debate over your port and mince pies this festive season. The minute hundeds of thousands of bored and procrastinating Facebook users logged in and spied their new Group Invitation, I'd bet they thought it was just another 'Petition for bendy buses to make accordion noises as they go around corners' never-going-to-happen-but-let's-make-a-stand-for-the-craic situation. I certainly did. For a fortnight or so, the frenzy seemingly created a mass bisect in the nation more prominent than anything political or religious had in a long time.
The two sides at battle couldn't be more polar opposite. Polished and innocently sappy whippersnapper Joe McElderry seems like the type of granny-friendly theatre school kid typical of bringing out such a standard emotional ITV-cheese Hannah Montana (seriously?) faux-epic single. Most middle aged X Factor devotees you'd ask would pledge loyalty to the 'lovely lad' due to local appeal and his preened grin, not to mention after mass ITV propaganda in the shape of daytime TV presenters highlighting the 'terrible language' and 'lack of christmas spirit' in Rage Against The Machine's classic anthem Killing in the Name. But this battle wasn't about festive joy, it was people proving that we still have control. We can still make a stand against mass media corporations, twattish millionaires and predictability, despite the slight flaw and irony that Rage and Joe are both signed to Epic Records, part of Sony, so essentially the money still goes to the same people, not exactly a triumph over capitalism. But push that to the back of our minds for just a moment.
The slightly demoralising thing that the half of the public tutting over their leftover turkey sandwiches (not to mention protege of Joe, Cheryl Cole- "it's a mean campaign") don't seem to understand, is yes the wee chappy from South Shields may have a certain amount of vocal talent and a sweet smile, but compare this charming insignificance to the iron-willed political standpoints of Rage. Their songs, written with utterly compelling passion, are truly influential and are penned with meaning and a drive to make a difference in the world. Their fame not only brings truly amazing skill, Grammy Award-winning Tom Morello being stated #26 in Rolling Stone's '100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time', but an innovative fusion of genres and shockingly powerful politically-driven lyrics from Zack de la Rocha.
So the battle wasn't a personal attack or "mean" as our talentless geordie chavvy-but-fit friend most profoundly put it, it was people making a stand. Although de la Rocha may not have seen the change he had strived for after tirelessly campaigning for left-wing political causes globally, even testifying on the floor of the UN against the United States' treatment of Mumia Abu-Jamal, it goes to show his strive didn't go unnoticed, and their passionate dedication echos years after its release.
The famous line of the christmas number one 2009 that shocked half of Britain: 'Fuck you I won't do what you tell me'. This seems to have now been forever translated as "Yes Simon Cowell, we're talking to you, you smug twat."