Movies that can be considered to be under the romantic comedy umbrella, but don’t feel that way to me: Jeffrey, All Over the Guy, Easy, and I’m With Lucy. Every rainy day that I have off, I seem to get a hankering for a film of this kind of mood. Netflix instant helpz?
Even though me reblogging this prob won’t help because I have an extremely inactive tumblr, I’m gonna do it anyway. This will mark only the second thing is my young financially troublesome life that I’ve given money to anything. The first was the This American Life podcast because Ira Glass is so gently persuasive :).
Smodcaster extraordinaire Malcolm Ingram, director of the excellent documentary, “Small Town Gay Bar” has a new project up on Kickstarter. He’s raising funds for a new doc about the Continental Baths. It’s a GREAT idea.
“American Swing” does a great job covering the Ansonia Hotel’s smutty hi-jinx after the Continental Baths closed, but there’s a whole other story to tell. So, let’s all throw Malcolm a few bucks cuz I wanna see this flick!
Amazing blog post. Perhaps the final word on round one of Rebecca Black.
I became “famous” at sixteen via public access/MTV by laughing at pre-Internet “memes,” (only back then we called it “pop culture”). That’s why I take such an interest in this stuff.
Oh and also that video was fucking hilarious.
I wrote this piece for Death & Taxes. Enjoy it on the original page here.
This weekend a devastating tsunami wiped out the upper half of Japan’s eastern seaboard in a scene that resembled and outtake of a very realistic Michael Bay movie. It may go down as one of the worst disasters in the past 100 years, particularly due to the recent news of a possible nuclear fallout.
But if you were on Twitter – the popular microblogging site that tracks just what the world is actually talking about at any given moment – the third most talked about item over the course of this weekend would have been none other than previously unknown teen singer Rebecca Black whose song “Friday” scored 2.2 million views. This is not, sadly, for any good reason.
Rebecca Black is not the answer to our prayers for, say, our generations Joni Mitchell or Chrissie Hynde. Rather, the song has been heralded as one of the worst songs of all-time and labeled “a joke” by none other than the usually poe-faced Time Magazine.
The song, might I add, debuted the titular Friday after one of the worst fucking natural disasters the world has ever seen. Perhaps this is why cultural elite are *ahem* jumping on the Rebecca Black bashing bandwagon; after all, this is a (I’m assuming) 16-year-old girl we are talking about, and probably a nice enough person, too.
Why look, a soapbox. Don’t mind if I do.
What I’m saying is that we were all 16 once, we’ve all sung in front of the mirrors into hairbrushes, and because of the 1980′s fame-conditioning genome project, we all wanted (or want; or will want in the future) in some form or fashion to be famous. Don’t lie. Even the weird kid with the dog-eared copy of Tolkien’s greatest hits wants, in some way, to be the world’s best wizard (again, I’m assuming).
This is America, where you are told you can do or be anything, and it seems that we collectively suffer from some sort of Tall Poppy Syndrome – bashing those who actually do make it. And, if you believe numbers more than words, Rebecca Black really did make it, yet here we are shitting on the dreams of a 16-year-old girl.
The song is really, really bad, though. I will say that much.
And there are others.
By “others” I don’t wax xenophobically. I mean that there are other teen girl pop singers that are seemingly being farmed out of a place with the word ‘factory’ in its name: that of the Los Angeles-based Ark Music Factory, which boasts a lineup of eight other “exclusively signed” artists and others, as well.
The Factory (capital F, like Warhol, motherfucker) is based out of a nondescript dentists-type office on Melrose Avenue in a part of L.A that boasts little else than my personal favorite fruit-by-the-side-of-the-road-in-a-plastic-bag guy. When I was young, dumb, and drunk on the nectar of possibility that I could ever be famous in any way, went for an audition in this exact building. The offices are small, cramped, and filled with the kind of people that neither drugs nor religion could ever save. It’s a localized depravity of ego that both shields and yet attracts the ire of those who live outside the dream; the fakery that what they are doing matters, and will matter, for they are the only ones that matter.
It’s this particular side of Los Angeles that operates more as a Rube Goldberg machine of desire: the machine constantly fed by the mere attraction inherent in its existence, that you too, may one day be famous.
Ark Music Factory is not the pariah in this scenario, something that Time magazine glosses over to go in for the kill with its description of Rebecca Black’s music as “laughably bad” and “a trainwreck”.
Can you truly fault a young girl for trying, successfully I might add, to become famous overnight? Can you truly fault Ark Records for making a quick buck of its roster of young, doe-eyed R&B wannabe pop stars? Sure, the music is shit, but this is the kind of thing that gets put out every fucking day from Long Beach in the South to Northridge in the, um, North. In essence you have taken and genuflected at the feet of the game itself.
The very fact that people seem to think that this is beneath them, yet still go and buy Lady Gaga’s new single in droves, only proves that the Rebecca Black scenario shows just how hypocritical the entire cultural media-mavens truly are.
Where does the Internet at large get over itself and stop bullying someone because it’s easy? Why do you have to collectively shit on a 16-year-old girl? Sure, it’s bad. But so is the McRib. So is Charlie Sheen. So are the Kardashians. So was Antoine Dodson, who made a career out of his sister nearly being raped (for the record, I can’t fault him, I can only fault the people who thought that the base situation itself – that of someone nearly being sexually assaulted – was something to laugh at).
By and large, Internet meme culture has turned into the punchline of the joke that its simultaneously laughing at. The joke has turned dark, and inward, and the more people get thrown into said joke, the worse it becomes, and the angrier the machine gets, and the more food it wants.
Look, there’s a good side to the Internet meme culture; the collective of 4chan keep the ball rolling in such a fast way that these sorts of things can be glossed over in milliseconds. And yet with the hacker collective / 4Chan apparent relative that is Anonymous, that militia of users has progressed into something of a modern day Robin Hood. They are doing the good of the people, by hacking into cultural leeches such as the Koch Bros and the Westboro Baptist Church weirdos.
Yet just as social media progressed from the bedrooms of bored teens (Livejournal, Friendster) to the masses (the 500 million + users of Facebook, etc) so too does meme culture, and so does the unnecessary bashing of what the animal seems to cast a giant thumbs-down to in an almost Rubrickian fashion.
Hell, I’m guilty of it too. When you spend as much time on the internet, as I do, you get sucked into a cacophonous wormhole of collective hate and Clockwork Orange-esque displays of power wielding what is deemed to be low or middle brow culture. But that doesn’t make it right. What I’m saying is: If the world (judging by the third place entry in the trending algorithm on Twitter’s user interface) seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to bash on the dreams of a 16-year-old girl, where does it fucking end? What is this? “Animal Farm?” Get back on all fours and work the field like the rest of us, motherfucker. We’re in two wars and you have better shit to do with your life. Let shit be shit and let good be good and stop pretending that n’er the two shall meet.
What’s funny is that it will all be gone by this time next week. We’ll have found something else to tear apart like hyenas feasting on some socially allocated zebra carcass. If anything, life will ultimately go on for Rebecca Black, Ark Music Factory, and the fame machine in general. But at some point in the future, it won’t. It will go too far. And that will be ugly. And people like Time fucking Magazine should know better.
This record is blowing my mind so hardxxxcore.
"it's ok! it's ok to have feelins about things and it's fun to talk about them :)
i'll add one more point...with each new means of procuring music, the people who were most used to the old ways would be bothered because their special world was being punctured by new things and newcomers.
when records came out, the upper classes considered them gauche or maybe a novelty, and derided those who couldn't make it to live performances with full orchestras (or, possibly, even afford a live chamber orchestra/quartet). suddenly, you didn't need to be rich enough to hear beethoven or strauss; you could buy a record. this accessibility frightened some people, but delighted most others.
in the realm of pop music, when recordings were at their earliest stage, ragtime spread across america largely through sheet music and individual interpretations. but scott joplin was one of the first pop music stars...although it was nearly impossible to see him play, you could pick up a recording of him playing. and quickly, most jazz spread this way, and it all evolved and helped along the pop music (even underground pop music!) we enjoy today
before, there was folk, there were troubadours, there was gospel and blues, but you'd be hard-pressed to name a popular performer (outside of local legends). look up these songs and their credits say: "American Folk Song, c. 1823." outside of records, only the upper-classiest most-well-funded dudes would be known by name
so like, even when things are "too easy," that accessibility can be a good thing. a very good thing, in fact. now you can listen to underground bands across the worrrrld, and it's easy to record something and share it with friends, and then the worrrrld"
dude, thanks for both of your awesome responses! you’ve made so many valid points. it’s always an unexpected pleasure to have a true discussion on the internet that actually feels like a conversation in real life would.
http://gowns.tumblr.com/ made a good point about my rant about music and the internet. Music definitely isn’t going to impress you and make you feel the way it did when you were young because you aren’t absorbing all of those things for the first time. One’s memories are strongest when they are younger and we seem to continue to recall those early life memories even after our memory begins to fail us. Scientists say that part of the reason for this is the fact that when we’re young, so many “firsts” happen. Your first kiss memory is going to be much more vivid than your 23rd kiss. So yes, part of my disillusionment is just due to the fact that I’m not 15 anymore.
However, there is something to be said for the unique predicaments within the music industry. Blaming it on the internet is rash and somewhat inaccurate I guess, but this is the internet and I am a writer and I am allowed to feverishly rant right? Ok, but as gowns said it is just another filter we have to deal with and we’ll adapt. That being said, I really feel that even though kindles are replacing bookshelves, libraries are closing down with frightening rapidity, and other medias are suffering as people chose the internet’s information over physical products, something more is happening in music. I still read books that change my life. I still see films that run a slowly unfurling thought train in my head for weeks afterward. Of course, there are still shit products to sift through as there always have been, but I don’t have any more difficulty finding worthwhile pieces of cinema and literature than I ever did.
I do have extra difficulty with music. I have found albums in the past five years that have moved me beyond words, but they are fewer and farther between. Now, one thing I should probably also account for is the exponential growth in the amount of music available. The internet has made it easier for artists to get exposure and this is mostly a good thing. So perhaps there really are the same amount of exceptionally talented people in the industry, we’re just looking at a much larger pool than before and the number of shit bands to phenomenal ones is in actuality a completely equivalent ratio to past decades. That’s a possibility. It’s also though a possibility that the most talented ones are never making it and being smothered under the now gargantuan layer of not so talented people sending their music out in the internet. And it could also be that we’re just in a transition period that will conclude with a whole new reactionary music movement since a long period of dissatisfaction is usually necessary for that to happen.
I don’t know. No one does, but it certainly makes my head hurt weighing out the options. I always look to Thom Yorke’s opinion for these things. Radiohead having been my favorite band since I was 11 years old, my relationship with them is the longest one I’ve ever had haha and therefore my most reliable. Well, he seems to think that the music industry is a burning, sunken ship to be fled from, so we’ll see soon enough I guess.
I’m pretty sure tumblr isn’t generally considered a conducive medium to write long ass things like this. Should I have gotten a livejournal or something instead? I’m not good at deciphering all of this internet shit. Oh well, maybe I’ll perversely become known as “that person who doesn’t know what the fuck he/she is doing and continues to bombard our feed with pompous windbag rants”.
That Time My Little Sister Played Drums For A Sloan Encore