Web Civ: Rebecca Black’s triumphant return

Whether you were kickin’ in the front seat or sittin’ in the backseat, I’m sure you remember exactly where you were when Rebecca Black’s “Friday” became the song of the decade week back in 2011. But in her iconic song, Rebecca leaves us with a cliffhanger: “Today i-is Friday… Tomorrow is Saturday.” If you’ve spent every day for the past two and a half years wondering what her Saturday was like, as I have, the suspense is finally over: Rebecca released her new music video, “Saturday,” on Saturday, December 7th. It has racked up 12 million views in three days, and it’s every bit as fun, fun, fun, fun as I could have imagined. Continue Reading

Web Civ: Alison Gold’s ‘Chinese Food’

It’s been well over a week since Alison Gold’s “Chinese Food,” the latest from Ark Music Factory—the one-man brain trust behind such staples as “Friday” and “It’s Thanksgiving“—dropped on YouTube, and the odds are not low that you’ve seen it by now. Over the course of its brief existence, the video has amassed 10 million views and a whopping 4:1 dislike-to-like ratio. Media response has been swift: Bon Appetit spoke with a grammatically challenged Gold via instant-message for its website last week, and Yahoo OMG! Insider followed with this cringe-inducing interview segment tackling the “alleged” racism in the video.

Of course, saying the racism in “Chinese Food” is “alleged” is kind of like saying Charles Manson is “allegedly” a bad dude. From fairly harmless Chinese imagery (a dancing Panda bear, pervasive and improper use of chopsticks) to more troubling conflations of pan-Asian life (dancers in kimonos, a Monopoly piece landing on Oriental Avenue), “Chinese Food” deals primarily in stereotypes. But before you head over to YouTube to jump into the spirited viewer debate (and believe me, an analysis of the comment section would make for a riveting post of its own), ask yourself: “Am I not doing exactly what they—being Ark—want me to?”

And the answer is, of course you are. Ark videos are much like Westboro Baptist Church pickets—by responding with outrage or disbelief, you’re merely fanning the flames. These people live for negative feedback. (Which then begs the perennial question, who the hell are the parents that continue to send their kids to Ark’s Patrice Wilson? Obviously, they are has-beens or never-weres living in the greater Los Angeles area, where dreams are eviscerated and hearts ripped from souls… but even for that demographic, isn’t this a little much?) In any case: just don’t bother reacting, and you’ll save your precious time and energy.

And I believe in that stance. Truly, I do. The best way to watch an Ark video is to not watch it at all. But, the next best way to watch an Ark video is to laugh, indulge in the low-hanging fruit that it offers, and pick it apart for every single one of its moronic frames. Which I have done, after the jump:

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Web Civ: Turkey! Mashed Potatoes! Breaking down “It’s Thanksgiving”

So apparently, despite the death threats and a pronounced lack of talent, Patrice Wilson–better known as the producer/musical genius behind Rebecca Black’s “Friday”–is still in the game, with his new production “It’s Thanksgiving” now rocketing around the interweb. In it, Nicole Westbrook–Rebecca aspirations in hand–whines her way through 3:43 of particularly uninspired Thanksgiving-themed lyrics, punctuated by a typically humiliating mandatory guest appearance by Wilson. Now, let’s be clear here–at this point, these people are aiming for an “any publicity is good publicity” policy and are intentionally gunning for the negative feedback they’re getting, something we shouldn’t stoop to provide. But damn, they’re so good at being bad! Here’s a couch companion to the near-four minutes of terribleness.

0:15: OK, first of all, Thanksgiving hasn’t fallen on the 28th since 2002. Maybe it’s a 2013 calendar? As in, please let me forget about 2012 and this terrible video I made as soon as possible? Also, she’s for some reason already crossing out Thanksgiving Day. I feel like that should be something you do when the day ends. It’s like, wake up, ALRIGHT FUCK THANKSGIVING LET’S CROSS THAT SHIT OUT. Mixed messaging for sure.

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Finally “Friday”

RB contemplates life's most difficult questions in "Friday" // esplosionz.tumblr.com

If you’ve used the Internet at all in the past week or so, you’ve almost definitely seen this video or some “news” story related to it. Afterward you probably wondered, “BlogDailyHerald is usually so up to date on all the absurd web trends; why haven’t they posted something about Rebecca Black, the 13 year-old girl whose music video is pushing 16 million views on YouTube?” (Yes, Brown students think with semicolons.) The truth is, here at the blog we often try to find some relevant context for our posts, and the past six days just haven’t provided it. Luckily, today i-is Friday (Friday) and thus it’s appropriate to join the meme-addicted multitudes in giving Rebecca the attention she probably doesn’t deserve. The Daily Beast recently posted an interview with Black and she’s as profoundly insightful as we expected her to be. Analysis of every Rebecca quotation in the interview after the jump.

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