March 24, 2011

The Fall And Rise Of Rebecca Black

agreed: bomb Libya

For those of you without an internet connection, Rebecca Black is the 13 year old nobody pretending to be a 17 year old nobody who wrote a song and made a video that everyone hated almost instantly.  But haters gonna hate, yo.

Even Autotune couldn't repair her nasally, off key voice.  But, and but, is it the worst song ever?  Is it worth 30M hits of venom and disgust? 

Break it down by parts and look at them.  Music?  Off the rack pop music, indistinguishable from anything else.  Lyrics?  Probably below average, but no worse than "la la la la la la la" which is Kylie or Dannii Minogue, depending on the decade you last ejaculated.  Singing?  Again, below average but worse than Ke$ha or the entire Colbie Caillat portfolio?  Shut your mouth.

Video? Standard illogical mandness, why is a 13 year old girl going to a party like she's been doing it for years?  Is she an emancipated minor?  No one can say, but does it make any less sense than the Black Eyed Peas having a dance off to a song they didn't write and have no business sampling?  Unlike that video, when I watched "Friday" it never crossed my mind how urgently the video needed a speeding box truck and an oil slick.

No.  None of the parts adequately explain the level of hate.  And that's because the hate isn't directed at any of the parts, or at the video, or even at her, but at what she represents: another spoiled rich white girl that has a video made for her, and releases it like she's as good as her Daddy's money pretends she is. 


No, no judgmental statements from me, not yet, I am merely giving substance to that hatred so you can understand the rest.

No one hates Rebecca Black for her music, you hate her because she's spoiled, because she has opportunities in excess of her talent and the ability to create what superior artists will never be able to simply because they lack the economic resources or maybe even the free time that Rebecca has plenty o'.  It's hard to get to the studio when you've got an 8am down at the main office.   Welcome to America, no one said it would be fair, in fact, no one said a damn thing at all, they just showed you the pictures on the TV commercials and we inferred the rest.  Meanwhile, no one's yet recognized your talent.  Rebecca's Dad forced us to recognize hers, and she wins even by losing, but he's one guy.  Are you so angry at this one guy who gamed the system?

If it was just another battle in the Class War, so be it, another perfect proxy for our fury is sure to get upmoded on Reddit so save some energy for later.

But then something happened: Rebecca announced on Tuesday's Tonight Show that she was giving the proceeds from the video to charity, to Japan relief funds.  Well, you might say, she may suck and she may be spoiled but at least she thinks about things bigger than herself and for a 13 yo that's not bad.  And just like that, the tide turned, the haters slowly became challenged by the respecters? defenders? enablers?  and comment after comment, blog after blog, article after article, her selflessness overshadowed her posited lack of talent and now...

lil wayne vs rebecca black.jpg

Slow down.

The problem with that narrative is it doesn't match the calendar or the numbers.  Even as of now, haters trump respecters 10 to 1, though admittedly it's changing.  And the support for her predates the Tonight Show appearance-- e.g. Lady Gaga calling her a genius, Alan Colmes stating "she has a wonderful voice."

The tide didn't turn because she gave the money to charity, the tide turned because it hit critical mass where it was no longer cool, no longer original, no longer branding, to hate her; it was cooler to like her.   None of that has anything to do with Rebecca Black-- did she remaster the audio? get implants?-- it has to do with how we form opinions in the age where instantency matters more than consistency, let alone logic.  That's right, I invent words. 

That's America, that's how debate is done in America, that's how we decide all of our questions from who blows as a singer to which blathering dictator we should oppose/depose/impose.  We don't have beliefs, we don't have positions, we have reactions to other people's beliefs, to other people's positions.  As long as you can be shown to be a free thinker opposing the tyranny of the majority's insightlessness then you can look like a hero, and if you have to pull a 180 in a week or so to do it, party on.  No one will care/remember what you did last party.  Just remember the rule of opinion, of media: speak early, and often, and if you have to drag a 13 year old down or dramatically alter foreign policy for the next quarter century to lift yourself up, hey, it's all good.