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Friday – Rebecca Black and the Horror of Manufactured Fame


Less than 24 hours after news broke of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Japan last Thursday, millions of people on the other side of the globe fell victim to a disaster of their own:

With a heavy assist from auto-tune, Rebecca Black’s “Friday” has caught fire since comedian Daniel Tosh posted it to his blog last Friday under the caption “Songwriting Isn’t For Everyone”. But she shouldn’t be expecting the worldwide success of reigning YouTube sensation Justin Bieber. So far, viewer comments have ranged from politely dismissive, to sarcastic, to vitriolic, violent and downright hateful.

Via Rebeccablacksfridays.tumblr.com

Reddit.com user moose09876 introduced the video by saying, “if this song doesn’t make you want to kill yourself/others, nothing will. (sic)” The hate-storm only worsened from there, as the video went on to receive 1,446 comments, none of which were positive.

On YouTube, the video received 7,942 comments, with similar outcomes. Yet despite the overwhelming negativity, the video had garnered over 6.5 million views as of March 15th, up from 2 million the day before.
A simple explanation would be that the video falls in to the “so bad, it’s good,” category. Everything about the song, from the lyrics to the predictable rap verse by a Flor-Rida lookalike, is ripe for parody, which it is certain to attract in an age of online anonymity.

However, an alternate form of interpretation has the video being hailed as an unintentional post-modern masterpiece.

4chan.org user Thoughtful Observer posted a lengthy, detailed analysis of Black’s video, calling it “a work of unparalleled genius.”

“The startling image of the singer – and her voice – both lie snugly in the very nadir of the uncanny valley,” the user writes. Thoughtful Observer goes on to paint Black as a tortured, self-loathing shell of a human, and the video itself as symbolizing her loss of innocence, saying “(Black) has realized that her life is a futile mockery of real happiness, a hollow, meaningless simulation,” by the end of the video.

“As Black’s day draws to a close, she has stared into the abyss – and the abyss has stared back.”

While 4chan’s reputation for trolling certainly precedes it, the analysis nonetheless generated discussion amongst readers.

“You know what? Fuck it. I’m on board with this. (Thoughful Observer’s) arguments are well-reasoned. (Black) DOES drop her smile somewhat at 1:50. I don’t care if this wasn’t even Black’s intention; sometimes the artist doesn’t even fully recognize the subtext of their work,” wrote Reddit user Senorsty. “Rebecca Black’s “Friday” is the most brilliant goddamn thing to come out in ages and I’m embracing the brilliance of it.”

Black’s video is far from being the only on of its kind. She appears to be a product of California-based production company Ark Music Factory, launched earlier this year, whose website reveals Black to be one of dozens of tween pop stars with high-budget videos and management.

Reddit user kittiesntits said of Ark’s artist lineup, which features 9-year-old rapper Li’l Nay Nay, “each one of these performances had the cruel, sour tang of awkwardness that only the likes of child pageants or Familial (sic) fights at your friend’s house can hold.”


Black’s exposure is, however, unprecedented for Ark, whose other videos have yet to attract any widespread attention on the same scale as “Friday”. While any press may be good press, such a start might not bode well for the fledgling production company, as their first taste of fame has come with a healthy serving of merciless ridicule.

ARB Team
Arbitrage Magazine
Business News with BITE.

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