How much do people hate Simon Cowell? So much that, thanks to a British Facebook group called Rage Against The Machine For Christmas No. 1, the anti-conformist 1992 Rage single "Killing In The Name" - that's the one in which which Zach de la Rocha repeatedly screams the phrase "F- you, I won't do what you tell me!" - has won the hotly contested competition to be at the top of the British pop charts at Christmastime.
In the UK, getting the Christmas No. 1 is a bit of a big deal. The Beatles did it four times, and Cliff Richard, the Johnny Hallyday of England, also had a hand in winning it four times. And here's a local angle for you: South Philadelphia's own Al Martino, who died in October, had the first ever Christmas No. 1, with "Here In My Heart," in 1952.
For the last four years, however, the top holiday spot has gone to the winner of X Factor, the British talent show, of which the too-tight shirted Cowell is owner, as well as principal judge and jury. In 2007, Leona Lewis won, and last year's winner Alexandra Burke took the top spot with a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
This year's beneficiary of the Cowell imprimatur was set to be Joe McElderry, a fresh faced aspirant who covered Miley Cyrus' "The Climb." That's him to the left, and the considerably more scruffy de la Rocha to the right. Facebookers who found McElderry offensive protested against the "X-Factor monotony" and rallied behind Rage as the alternative choice, united by their contempt for "Simon Cowell's latest karaoke act."
When it comes to populist Rage, it seems, we've got teabaggers, and the UK has Cowell haters. And as a measure of their antipathy, and the effectiveness of spreading the word via Facebook, "Killing" sold over 500,000 digital downloads in the last week, and climbed past "The Climb," to take the premier position. Who said protest music couldn't change the world?