Sunday, 15 November 2009

Not so simple Simon

The nice people at Crimson books sent me an image of the cover for The Noughties book before it was printed, but only the front. It wasn’t until I was holding the real thing in my hands that I saw Simon Cowell decorating it. Initially, I thought it was a slightly camp, self-consciously ironic decision - but then, almost immediately, I realised that no, Cowell really is one of the most important people of the past decade, up there with Bush and Osama and all the rest. Marina Hyde says it better than I could:
Simon Cowell has created a system in which all possible outcomes benefit him. It is a sort of anti-chaos theory: a system wherein even vast differences in initial conditions have no real effect on the outcome. The system allows for them. You could run a million different variations of the show through a Los Alamos computer the size of a barn, and the end result would always be the same: Cowell wins. In the anti-chaos of The X Factor, a tsunami of votes for a rogue act would lead to the most butterfly-like of variations in his final scenario – the difference of about 37 pence in earnings of tens of millions. The house always wins. In fact, as a business model, it makes Las Vegas look bleeding-hearted.

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