‘So Unfair’ Korn’s rally song for type 1 diabetes – a type 1 diabetics’ response

ANOTHER hour of procrastination and my coffee had, again, become cold. I scrolled through Facebook endlessly until I came across Korn’s new rally song ‘So Unfair‘. Initially I was overjoyed – Jonathan Davis was raising money for Type 1 diabetes, a disease I suffer from, through a song. Upon discovering his son had diabetes, Davis had dedicated some of his time to the cause, increasing awareness and raising money for the charity JDRF; undoubtedly a noble endeavour. However, after watching the campaign video and reading the lyrics to the song, my initial joy was certainly over.

The campaign video is riddled with cliché after cliché, and that is fine. It has been repeatedly proven that tears and the use of children encourage a more empathetic response from an audience. Despite being somewhat over the top when put into context, such a set up is understandable and in this case was effective. However, the opinions stated in both lyrics and promotional video have negative connotations to such an extent I believe it reflects a problem beyond this particular cause, a problem for society as a whole. This bold statement will be refined and explained further.

korn2I was firstly unnerved by the song title being ‘So Unfair’. I’ll respond to a cliché with another – life is unfair. The song details the ‘unfairness’ of the condition and the burden of looking after a child with diabetes. I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of six, coincidently the same age as Davis’ son. I arrived home on Christmas Eve incredibly thin and frail, and no doubt, it certainly affected that Christmas. I can remember those couple of weeks clearly, undoubtedly because my life, in the words of Will Smith, ‘got flipped – turned, upside down’. It has been over fourteen years since then and Davis is simply wrong in his second-hand view. In fact, I would argue this campaign showcases a celebrity during the five stages of grief. There is certainly anger in the lyrics and with that in mind it feels like Davis is now ‘bargaining’ with his charity work. It is through such emotions that ruts are formed, and self-pity thrives.   

Personally, I believe we may all be lucky that life is unfair. Although, we all believe that we are righteous and correct and deserve things, we often do not (sorry!). The concept of ‘fairness’ is a human invention, much like karma, or whatever else you use to get to sleep at night. I do not need a nu-metal singer informing me that I have been hard done by. Davis complains of telling his child ‘he can’t have candy’. I recall my only personal distress when I was told I was diabetic: I cried to my mother because I thought I could never have biscuits again. This was the only time I have ever been recorded as having functional tear ducts, and I feel it was a reasonable reaction for an unknowing child. Yet, a 44 year-old man not being able to handle not giving his child candy seems a little ridiculous. The attitude that life should be without turbulence is an unrealistic dream and the acting out and excuses are borderline pathetic.

Whether me being diabetic is unfair or not is not my concern and has not been for many years. The attitude of ‘So Unfair’ is limiting. The song encourages a ‘can’t do attitude’ (I tried to think of a Once Upon a Time in Mexico pun, but to no avail). I can think of only one incident where I could not do what I wanted to do due to diabetes. I was in year 5, and a kid said his mum wouldn’t let him invite me to his party because of concerns over my illness. Lots of people went; it was super awkward. Yet, later on in life, I managed to eat a whole packet of digestives in physics by playing the ‘diabetic card’. A friend, who will remain nameless, but is a co-host on Belly Of The Bay and drummer of Beacons, once walked to the front of the crowd at Radio 1’s Big Weekend by shouting ‘Dan, I have your insulin!’ Now, although he utilised my illness for personal gain, the overarching point is that unexpected and awful things do happen, but placing blame and using excuses is simply backward. Life is unfair, I think it may be time to get over it.