RATM – Ignorance is Power

It was Malcolm X who famously said ‘I’m going to tell you like it is, I hope you can take it like it is’. Following the announcement that legendary US revolutionary rock band Rage Against The Machine will be headlining the Reading and Leeds festivals this year, it has yet again become clear that we live in a world where the vast majority of people cannot take it like it is. Furthermore, you haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of telling them anything at all anyway.

The reaction of the Millennial generation has been nothing short of laughable. To start with, it appears that swathes of young and ‘woke’ individuals have absolutely no idea who RATM are. What’s more, those that do have a vague inkling of their existence believe that they will do no more than attract an almighty tsunami of leather-bound, eye linered goths who scream a lot and will get in the way of any good, old-fashioned fisticuffs and honest, hardworking Class A vendors.

The Reading/Leeds corporate machine has increasingly departed from its origins and now concentrates fully on commercialism and spoon-fed, bland and generic music-based products. Has anyone actually heard of Gerry Cinnamon? This is the key point – it has become a machine driven by the ethos of a music industry painstakingly built on the capitalist ideal. It is a machine that thousands of people have willingly lined up and become an integral part of – without question, without conscious decision and, most importantly, without even so much as a whiff of rage.

Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that RATM created their legacy by conveying a message of challenge and societal free-thinking and, through this, inspired whole generations to observe the paths that humanity chose to tread and to stick their middle fingers up in disgust. And now, it would seem, they are destined to play to the machine itself. This is what the machine created and this is what they will continue to rage against – not on Twitter, not on Instagram, not halfway through a mung bean salad, not in a global fried chicken franchise queue – but in your face. Live and dangerous.

Even as main stage headliners, this is one band who will be doing it for the underground. They won’t give a burning monk that half the crowd have no clue who they are or think they are the band who did a Christmas single once. They will kill every scrap of ignorance in the name of rock n’ roll and, whilst they will apportion no blame to the tragic, microaggressive, shrink-wrapped shells that stand before them, they will rage harder than ever against the machine that created them.

And you know what their greatest achievement might be? After nearly thirty years of raging, it might be if those people ‘listened’ rather than simply ‘heard’ – maybe for the first time in their lives. It might just make them jump – no matter how high. And that, that would be a very, very fine thing.

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