YouTube begot the Rebecca Blacks, we entertained the mediocrity

YouTube is a great medium. It has allowed many of us to chase dreams that once seemed lost and explore new aspects of ourselves. The video sharing site’s tagline is “broadcast yourself” — but let’s face it: not everything needs a public platform. Rebecca Black‘s song certainly didn’t need one. Neither did the countless other terrible videos that just haven’t been “lucky” enough to get hated into a trending topic.

Rebecca Black is not the problem nor is her monotone atrocity of a song (maybe the song is a little) but it is more of a reflection on our society and how we’ve chosen to use social media. It’s a vanity game. YouTube is the perfect playground to chase fame and Twitter is its tracking and fuelling machine.

Another video has surfaced on YouTube that’s gaining traction with more than 1.5-million views and it’s all about a pair of jeans. The video features a bunch of 12-year-olds driving around New York city and talking about a pair of jeans, jumping about in a bedroom and some kid rapping about, wait for it, his jeans and blackberry. All I got from the video was “my jeans, my jeans… ABC, 123, that girl wore her jeans like me”.

Jenna Rose, the 12-year-old in the video gushing about a pair of jeans that she actually doesn’t own yet, is quite the gem. The lyrics are priceless really, one hopes she didn’t write them, actually we hope she did because if an adult is behind this then the tragedy grows even more. Rose’s auto-tuned sensation has some ridiculous lyrics like “hillies racing up my spine” and “I finger-drew a smile”. Well, she can actually rhyme so that counts for something I suppose?

Ever since YouTube and Twitter begot Justin Bieber (yes it is all his fault) it seems there is no escaping the “tweens” and their quest for fame. And we, as a socially ethical society, enable it. The vanity tweets, Facebook ‘likes’ and YouTube shares are all there just so that we can always be in the loop. It doesn’t really matter what it is we’re sharing as long as we are sharing it.

However, Black’s song is in the iTunes top 100 list and she is set to possibly make US$1-million from it. People are paying real money to download the song. You ask yourself why? Well she does enjoy, “kicking in the front seat, riding in the back seat” and let’s not forget she does all this while having a whole lot of “fun, fun, fun, fun”.

Black’s “Friday” has more YouTube views than Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” at around 42-million against Gaga’s 40-million. Why are we shocked? We created Rebecca Black, we said it was okay for catchy inane lyrics to penetrate the entertainment industry. If Paris Hilton could buy her way to a albeit failed music career why shouldn’t Rebecca Black’s parents buy their daughter’s way to a YouTube hit?

YouTube gives the Rebecca Blacks and the Jenna Roses a platform to live out their dreams of starring in a music video and the media spear-heads a campaign that perpetuates the mediocrity. It’s trending on Twitter so let’s write about it – 10 000 views in less than a minute — there is a story there. And society shares it.

This trend probably won’t change any time soon. Because if we are honest with ourselves we are a society that revels in self-destruction. This is the reason why Charlie Sheen was the biggest meme before Rebecca Black caught our attention.



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