Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wednesday's Notes on "Friday"

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the reception of the Rebecca Black song Friday.  It is a truly terrible song, for many so exquisitely terrible as to make good camp.  I'm not going to waste anyone's time explaining why it's terrible.  The evidence is there.  You either see it or you don't.  I'm disturbed, though, at the way some people talk about her.  Hatred is wrong.  On the other hand, it is wrong to feel entitled to a money-raking show business career and absolutely no criticism at the same time.

Hatred is terrible.  No one should have written about them the things that people wrote on the internet about Rebecca Black.  The internet is a place of hyperbolic vitriol spewed by people with misplaced priorities.  I also hope that anyone who has ever made a death threat regarding Rebecca Black will be apprehended and punished.  There is a difference between criticizing someone's work and making personal and inappropriate attacks on someone.

That being said, people have every right to not like this song.  It is a sign of cultural decay when no one is allowed to dislike anything.  This certainly includes a music video that is cheesier than a package of Kraft singles.  People are allowed to have and express negative viewpoints.  That's what the "dislike" button is for, to express your negative opinion.  YouTube has not just comments, but its own explicit apparatus for negativity.  Hollywood wishes that people would keep negative opinions to themselves so that a spirit of relativism will make them richer in their promotion of mediocrity.

Rebecca Black, while some of her trial was real, seems to have an entitlement mentality that at age thirteen, she gets to have a big star show business career, big wads of cash, even questionable accolades (a Teen Choice Award), and on top of that no one is allowed to criticize or express dislike for her work ever.  When you start making the big bucks, you will be judged by professional standards.  You do not get to live in a bubble where you are only awesome.  You can't have it both ways.  People who are defending a mega-rich recording artist have misplaced sympathy.  Dissing the music video "Friday" is not the same as showing up at a pre-school and telling kids their drawings are no good.  If this was a movie, would all the critics who gave it negative reviews be mean?  She should be grateful that she is relevant enough to be so insulted.  Hopefully with time, maturity will lead to perspective.

I don't presume her career has much of a future, though.  I've seen her other videos and they are better, which is oddly worse.  Rebecca Black's career is almost entirely based on camp value and ironic detachment, which she refuses to let anyone acknowledge.  If "Friday" isn't being talked about in a tongue-in-cheek manner as the worst song ever, it is not being talked about.  She has improved from so bad its good territory, to just boring mediocrity.

I thought it would be fair to end this years-old rant with a new section noting that Rebecca Black recently posted a video poking fun at Friday, but also being grateful for the opportunities it had given her.

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