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No Simon, not ‘Everybody Hurts’: Deconstructing Simon Cowell’s Song for Haiti

February 2, 2010

You're a dumbass

Oh for fuck’s sake Simon Cowell, did you really have to go and do that? I don’t even know where to begin with the latest exploitation of Haiti: Simon Cowell’s decision to record a song for the Haitians, who are already suffering enough as it is. And not just any old song. No, Simon decides to go ahead and re-record R.EM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’. And here it is. Fuck me.

First of all, as snugglebus so eloquently put it, in actual fact no, not everybody hurts. Just some people hurt. Not everybody, and especially not you Simon, you dirty bastard. Forget all that’s been written about the overflow of self-serving celebrity sympathy that has seeped out of the ruins of the earthquake like the second coming of Vesuvius, this without a doubt takes the cake.

It’s not just that Simon Cowell, who is worth, what, trillions of dollars, donated a measly $ 50,000  to relief efforts, and we can ignore the fact that he’s completely shat on a classic (yet somewhat overplayed) song, it’s the choice of song itself that is sickening. If there is any song that is patronising, nonsensical, and just completely and utterly inappropriate for the naturally-induced destruction of a poverty-stricken city with a history of exploitation, slavery, and high levels of corruption and conflict, it is REM’s ‘Everybody Hurts’. Sample lyrics:

When the day is long, and the nights

And the nights are yours alone

When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life

Well, hang on. Don’t let yourself go.

Could this be any more inappropriate, or are we just going to ignore the fact that the song is about teen suicide and, because it’s kinda sad sounding, hum along and feel ‘bad’, or whatever. And hey, Susan Boyle is on this. I told you, I don’t even know where to begin. So I won’t.

And Kylie, shame on you for being a part of this. Out of everyone else who has taken part in this self-gratifying disaster porno, I’m the most disappointed in you. What were you thinking?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Max Demian permalink
    February 4, 2010 9:29 am

    The two posts I’ve read on Haiti at this site have been amusing. I like the aggravation, shows passion…but attaching adjectives such as ‘measly’ to someone’s contribution makes it sound like you’re the self-appointed global authority on what passes the bar in terms of reasonable monetary relief. With the bizarre suggestions that some people should ‘leave Haiti alone’ (Bono), I am left to ponder whether or not you realize that getting caught up in a cul-de-sac of your own self-righteousness is a threat to your better judgement.
    That aside, great blogging all around.

    • sysh permalink*
      February 4, 2010 11:40 am

      Well I do like to think of myself as the self-appointed global authority on what passes the bar in terms of reasonable monetary relief. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s measly when you look at his income, and compare it to how much other stars have donated (Brangelina, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, etc, all contributed 1,000,000 each, compared to his 50,000). So it is measly.

      What I’m trying to get at with all of this is that there’s only so much one can go in terms of ‘giving’ before it becomes painfully obvious you are doing it for your own ego. Someone like Bono ewz has had a lot of beef with for a long time (and there are many reasons why). It’s a matter of the celebrity overtaking the ’cause’ so to speak. The Red Campaign, among other Bono poverty shenanigans, have done little in reality for ‘Africa’, because they rarely tackle the roots of the problem. This plugs into a much larger debate people in the sector have about quality of aid vs. quantity of aid vs. whether aid should be given at all.

  2. Max Demian permalink
    February 4, 2010 3:16 pm

    First apologies for being a pest,

    I hear you. But I still think its a slippery slope. Where do you draw the cutoff between measly and generous? $70,000? $900,000? What if Brangelina et al. each donated $1,000? Moral relativism is, by definition, arbitrarily defined by the first perpetrator. Its like a statistical bell curve that governs categorical imperatives. How about we compare the $70,000 as a percentage of Haitian monetary needs? I bet you’d call Brangelina and co’s contributions measly as well.

    The point I have so feebly attempted to convey is as follows: by following a relativist scale to what is deemed ‘reasonable’ or ‘generous,’ you are but fueling the grotesque egocentric I-one-upped-him crap that moves the debate away from the center of the tragedy and onto the E! channel. Much like what you have so accurately described in the second paragraph of your comment. However, if this circus means more money for Haitians, then by all means.

    • sysh permalink*
      February 4, 2010 3:25 pm

      Hey– you aren’t a pest at all! Always nice to hear feedback from anyone, that’s what this is all for at the end of the day!

      True– good point. It is always relative. And I guess what we here at ewz are trying to do is move beyond this relativity somehow, and stand firm on certain issues, right or wrong. Actually, that’s just me justifying myself when in actual fact I think you have a point here.

    • sysh permalink*
      February 9, 2010 10:07 am

      Hey, Charlie Brooker (not sure where you are from, but if from outside the UK you may not have heard of him) summarized my thoughts exactly, yet again, on his show about celebrities and ’causes’. You really should watch it, hilarious and accurate:

  3. ontheborder permalink
    February 5, 2010 5:45 am

    great dialogue on this piece…just a few things i wanted to add.
    both have great points, but to go further on the “quality of aid” mentioned earlier, i think bono feels that because he has successfully marketed (RED) in his quest to save africa that his work is done. there is little to no follow up on his part of actual accomplishments with the loads of money he brings in from his merger with GAP and DELL that make millions
    (billions?) off the label. (to be honest, the message has pretty much been muddled; see the article i attached at the bottom)
    so in my opinion, the quality is lost but the quantity is favorable. don’t get me wrong, i would never deny the money he brings in, but there is a point where he should accept more responsibility in the distribution of the aid. after all, he is the go-to-guy when it comes to saving africa. so, if he put himself in that position, it is only reasonable that his role grows with that recognition, right?

    i think this article makes a lot of valid points in the area of “bono-ization” of a cause:

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