Friday, April 1, 2011

Why is everyone so mean to Rebecca Black?

When I was a journalist, my coverage area was usually entertainment, and I have been an avid follower of music for 20 years. I've seen, along with everyone, overnight Internet phenomena come and go. But this Rebecca Black thing really gets my blood boiling.

The cruelty and ridicule this poor thing is enduring is outrageous, and this country should be ashamed of itself. She is a 13-year-old child! She had an opportunity to do what was more or less a silly bit of karaoke and a mall-quality video, posted it online for fun, and is loathed? On what grounds? Yes, the song is unprofessionally written, produced and performed. Why does its existence anger people so? And why is that anger directed at the child? She didn't even write the song.

It pains me to think about the fact that this kid, who we can imagine is sensitive as she is a human adolescent, is going to be scarred and traumatized by this ridiculous swelling of cruel group-think.

She needs some sort of professional handling, and I think one of two things needs to happen. (1) The video is removed, she refuses to do any sort of further interviews or public appearances, moves to a new town with her mom, changes her name and goes into therapy. (2) Her mother hires a media-savvy manager, or small team of people, who are good at handling children's show-biz careers in a caring way, and who can somehow leverage this sudden fame into a career in the entertainment business. Option (2) probably needs to begin with some kind of damage-control video that says, in effect, "Hello, I am a child, I was given a chance to sing a silly pop song and put it online, which I did."

When I was 13, I was writing songs on the piano, with lyrics, that I would be mortified if people heard today. And had YouTube existed then, I might have given an attempt to post a little video -- little, skinny me, singing a ridiculous song I'd written. Thank goodness I had the freedom to live out my dreams in my head instead of trying to do it on YouTube.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old article, but can I just say THANK YOU! This poor kid has been torn apart for things that A: aren't actually wrong, and B: were actually the doing of an ADULT MAN... whose mere existence nobody ever acknowledges for some reason. I also can't shake the feeling that, had Rebecca been a thirteen-year-old boy instead of a girl, the views and dislikes would never have even reached half of what they ended up reaching. We have this bizarre habit of holding girls to a ridiculously higher standard than their male counterparts, as well as taking joy in the fact that they, being humans and not little dolls, often can't measure up.