“If we don’t take action now…”

Its Sunday the 20th of December, 2009 and “Killing in the Name”, a single from 1992 by anything-but-mainstream rap-metal group Rage Against The Machine has just been announced as the Christmas Number One.

So, they did it after all! Or rather, we did it.

Cause yeah, of course I bloody went and bought it. Sure, I know its ironic, given the lyric and the spirit of the song, to become part of something that has so much hype around it; to become part of a collective with one aim, when that aim is buying a single whose most famous lyric is “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me.”

But if you’re familiar with the band and the song, its hard to argue that this little victory doesn’t embody the spirit of what Rage Against The Machine are about. Because the song isn’t about not doing what you’re told, its not about mindless rejection of any authority, its about WHO is telling you what to do and WHAT they are telling you to do.

Its up to US to make the judgement of when to follow and when not to. To pick which battles to fight. To pick which side we’re on. Do not follow blindly, but DO NOT blindly not follow.

Ok so that last part was a bit of a mouthful, but you get the idea. I’ve heard a lot of people talking about this and while I understand the rejection of the movement, given the constant e-mails, twitter/facebook/myspace updates, even text messages reminding you to do something that you might not want to do, it seems to me extremely short-sighted and cynical to call all of the people who bought the single “sheep.”

One girl called me an idiot for my assertion that this event is an example of what people can do if they all rally behind a cause. Fair enough, but hardly anyone in this country hasn’t been aware of this fight for Christmas Number One. 500,000 people downloaded the single. That many extra votes for a political party could swing an election result. If people ACTUALLY CARE enough, they can do anything. As my good friend Alice put it, in reply to the people who have said that them buying the single won’t make a difference:

the thing everyone forgets is – if everyone does it, it DOES make a difference

She also said that life is too short to be cynical. I like that a lot. Its certainly far more hopeful than the aforementioned cynic who said “this whole rage against the machine, power to the people thing really ticks me off.

I can’t remember the last time I heard such a sad sentence.

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2 thoughts on ““If we don’t take action now…”

  1. Andrew Welsh says:

    Its obviously been a marketing ploy to get the rock fans to pay out money to Sony.

    We are all sheep. Those who bought the X-factor single and those who bought “Killing in the Name of”.

    The majority of people I know are cynical. We could change the world if we all weren’t so greedy. I think that is what it boils down to.

    Simon Cowell works with Sony. RATM are signed to Sony. That Joe guy is signed to Cowell under Sony. So Cowell/Sony won either way.

    I bought the song AGAIN so that I didn’t have to listen to that ballad pish on the radio as much. I also have slightly diminishing respect for RATM.

    When they were touring in the 90’s they donated a dollar per ticket to local charities. Thats why I still like RATM.

  2. Shambles says:

    I wouldn’t quite agree with you there, unless you have proof that this fella who started the facebook group has some sort of link to Sony, which I doubt highly.

    Plus, Cowell’s record label, Syco, is owned by Sony, but that doesn’t mean he benefits directly from the profits of other Sony artists, that would make no sense whatsoever.

    If Sony make money, that doesn’t make Simon Cowell money; if HE makes money, it makes THEM money.

    Plus the money for the singles is going to Shelter and the band have vowed to play a free show and donate profits from the single to charity as well.

    In the big scheme of things, the benefits for the people involved and the charity outweighs any benefit Sony get out of it.

    As for everyone who buys either single being sheep, thats taking it a bit too far and pretty much missing the point entirely.

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