Friday, December 18, 2009

It doesn’t matter that I think “killing in the name of..” is one of the five greatest Rock songs of all time and you find it unbearably naïve funk-rock hogwash, it doesn’t matter that Rage are in the pockets of Hollywood and EMI or whatever and are sell-outs, or that EMI gets the lion’s share of the cash from both, or that it doesn’t effect Cowell’s millions or that their arguments are “authentic”, rockist bullshit. What matters is that suddenly there is contention, that culture seems to matter, that the race for Christmas number one is significant, not just in terms of some “minimal difference” of product but in who determines what occupies the mainstream. The pub-cynics will say, “yeah but how is that going to feed the starving…” It isn’t, but no-one thinks it is, what it is, is a huge upsurge of antipathy. Antipathy is vital. It’s mere acting out! But even so it wonderfully demonstrates the A-symmetrical possibilities of cultural warfare. A facebook group can potentially trump the most powerful media-machines in the world. Could you seriously have entertained the idea that this year’s Christmas number one would have been a run off between the X-Factor winner and Rage Against the Machine two months ago? They have their domain, we have ours, there are many, many of us against them. Their methods may not be more powerful. It’s the potential it reveals rather than the song itself (and if you like the song too, the delight is doubled). I mean ok next year we’ll make it Public Enemy’s “By the time I get to Arizona” or something.

Tis the season to be Merry..


Culla said...

excellent point carl and maybe it will trigger new possibility in the pop-culture space, but still feel a bit uneasy with it myself

Anonymous said...

yeah, i get why you're uneasy but i still think, like those joke reviews for Jordan and Littlejohn on Amazon large scale attacks on the banality of popular culture are important and a reaffirmation that a huge number of people are not prepared to not participate, to sit it out.. The X factor is bit like politics itself in that most people previously have just cynically sat it out.. i don't participate, it's beneath me, i have my own micro-culture that i live in etc without actually contesting anything ( due to not being able to previously, i guess) whether you like the song (actually i think i'm being a bit too defensive in that post re RATM as i think the choice of song is probably vital here) and i'm assuming that many people who are backing it don't, matters less than their desire to refuse the presumption of Big Meedja as being constitutive of the "people". an alternate model of voting for your favourite that isn't prime-time and stage-managed: the people are at least divided on this issue,and rather than just let X-factor britain boringly roll on, they have tried to put a spike in its tyres, en masse... a small (in terms of effect) but large scale (in terms of numbers)refusal.

Maybe it's the cultural equivalent of the first whispers about sub-prime.. this business model isn't going to work anymore, The X factor moment has passed...

aren't we all supposed to get together at christmas for a bit of fun?

Anonymous said...

This is making my head spin


Jeff Wode