Why I didn’t buy ‘Killing in the Name’

Well I did buy it in 1992, or rather I bought the album; but in 2009 I did not buy it as part of the ratm4xmas campaign to keep Joe McElderry (read: Simon Cowell) from the UK Christmas No.1 spot. Here’s why …

Firstly, the debate around this movement is a total mess. People seem confused about what they are supposedly protesting against.

  • It clearly isn’t rejecting commercialism, or the record industry, because it involves buying a record. In fact, as the purchasers of ‘Killing in the Name’ probably wouldn’t have purchased Joe McElderry’s track in the first place, this protest most likely generated more record sales than the industry would have otherwise.
  • It clearly isn’t rejecting crowd mentality either, because the whole notion is a collective endeavor, and arguably worse, because I doubt all the participants even like the music of RATM.

The intial protagonists of the campaign never suggested it protested against any of these things. It was simply to prevent Simon Cowell’s “kareoke act reaching number 1” as a “protest to the X-factor monotony”. As Simon Cowell himself pointed out, it was a direct attack on him and the content he is responsible for producing. And yes, I think that content is tripe too. Cowell may well be spoon-feeding the next genertion a self-perpetuating culture of celebrity-obsessed drivel, but this protest is just worthless.

  • The X-factor monotony doesn’t bother me [most of the time], because I avoid it. I don’t watch Cowell’s TV programmes, I don’t read trashy tabloid entertainment columns, and I don’t listen to commercial radio. Easy.
  • If you like the music of RATM then the UK pop charts are probably not your cup of tea. People who follow the pop charts take enjoyment from it. Why ruin it for them, just because you don’t like their music?
  • I have not been aware of a Christmas No.1 since I was at school. The cultural meme of the Christmas No.1 has no impact or relevance to my life, and I go to no effort to achieve this. This year has obviously ruined that.
  • Getting RATM to number 1 surely didn’t mean less sales to Cowell, because they are clearly two separate groups buying the records
  • Who is supposed to take notice of this protest? It won’t stop Cowell pumping out drivel and it won’t stop people liking it.
  • It seems only to have served to generate a load of press, social media noise, and a bunch of extra record sales for Epic Records who have signed other such subversive musical acts as Jessica Simpson and Shakira.