Rage Against The X Factor

Well done everyone. We really showed ’em. We showed The Man that he can’t mess with Da Kidz.

But, actually, we really just doubled the amount of money that Sony BMG made out of this year’s christmas number one. And, despite clear instructions to the contrary in the song’s lyrics, we did exactly what They told us to do.

The truth is, of course, somewhere between the two extremes.

I know it’s only a christmas number one and doesn’t mean anything at all, but I couldn’t help feeling really happy when I heard the news last night. It really felt like people were telling Cowell “enough is enough”. We’ve had enough of the anodyne tripe that is pushed out year after year by X Factor, Pop Idol or whatever it’s called this week. There are still some people out there who want to hear real music. Of course, it’s not many people. And it took a co-ordinated internet campaign to get us all pointing in the same direction. And I have little doubt that this is only a blip in the chart’s inexorable decline into mediocrity. This time next year, I’d love to look back on a year of interesting and intelligent number one records. But I know that’s not going to happen,

If nothing else, we can surely chalk this up as another in this year’s impressive list of social media triumphs. 2009 must go down as the year when social media grew up and started to achieve something. We’ve proven time and time again this year that social media can be a force for change. But “with great power comes great responsibility” and all that. We must do all we can to ensure that our new power is used to make positive changes.

We’re going to have a general election next year. And pretty much anyone you speak to seems to think that the result is a foregone conclusion. But those of us who remember the disappointment of 1992 know that the result of a general election is never a foregone conclusion.

If we can get people out buying Rage Against The Machine records, then surely we can also get people to think about their vote. Maybe we can even persuade some of the 40% who didn’t vote last time to get out and make a difference.

Of course the problem with this plan is that the christmas number one is something that people actually care about. Most people don’t care at all about politics or who is running the country.

And if that’s not a sad indictment of the state of British society, then I don’t know what it.

Update: Charlie Brooker, as always, has interesting things to say on the subject.

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