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Why we will never see a good Rebecca Black parody video
Despite a plethora of offerings, I have yet to see a really funny mash-up of the Rebecca Black's 29-million+ viewed video "Friday". But I'm totally intrigued by the kinds of conversations we're having over its inexplicable popularity.

Former American Idol misanthrope, Simon Cowell, says Black's song is brilliant and wants to meet her. Music critics moan it's everything that's wrong in pop music today. Office workers CC-it madly with subject lines "OMGAWD, this is so bad, I can't stop watching it".

Cultural critics have said something like this before, (and undoubtedly with sassier academic vernacular), but what is interesting about this moment in web sensations is how we've exhausted the old conventions. We've stepped beyond celebrating the diamond-in-the-rough (early Bieber) or the hopeless, homely oddball who sets us up with low expectations and then delights us with massive talent (Susan Boyle). We're can't even confidently poke fun at what is awesomely bad, the trifecta ofego/hubris/bad taste, because it's been parodied so much, we can't tell when we're being punk'd.

We're left with a fascination with our fascination over something so banal. We are amazed by how quickly something we don't enjoy looking at is suddenly something everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is looking at.  It's not the viral item itself, it's our behaviour around it that has us yapping. It's the virtual equivalent of  "eeeyuch, does this milk smell bad to you, too?"

But there's something else about this viral item in particular that has me paying attention. None of the inevitable mash-ups or parodies of the original have managed to nail it. So I'll throw my hat into the ring, help Rebecca Black rack up a few more viewings on her YouTube video, and tell you why we are not going to get a parody that tickles us as much as the original.

It's a pitch-perfect portrayal of a certain kind of tween girl's fantasy life by an actual 13-year-old girl. It's the mirror dance with the curling iron. It's wholesome and direct. Full disclosure: It's exactly what I, at 13, projected being a teenager would be like, highly influenced by the Archie comics universe. Instead of Bat Mitzvah lessons, I would be headed for some vague (but funfunfun, nonetheless) weekend adventure with my friends. In a car. With cute boys. And I would kind of be a pop star. With supershiny lip gloss. Why are we being so cynical about this? It's too honest to fit the parody mold.*, **

What are we talking about when we talk about Rebecca Black's Friday? What sentiment are we sharing? It' not to poke fun a godawful auto-tuned pre-teen song. It's that, in feed of all the terrible, wonderful, divergent opinions, we can occasionally agree on one thing. This milk -- I think it's gone off.


*Stu pointed out that she got ample funds to do this from her folks. 

** Erik points out that she didn't actually write it,  but the guys at Ark music did, which is frankly staggering.

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3.21.2011
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post #1526
bio: adina
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3/21/2011
14:52

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