Why Do People Want Rick Perry To Be More "Disliked" Than Rebecca Black?

You may have heard that Rick Perry's mind-meltingly horrible anti-gay campaign ad has more dislikes on YouTube than Rebecca Black's "Friday." The story has been covered by Time, the Today Show, and the Huffington Post, among many others. There's only one problem: that's not actually true. The current version of "Friday" has only been online since September, even though the Internet's interest in the song clearly dates back to March. That's because the original YouTube upload of the clip was removed in an aborted attempt to put it behind a paywall; when that didn't work, "Friday"'s creators re-upped the original clip, thus resetting the counter on views and dislikes. That current version, it's true, only has some 250k+ dislikes, less than Perry's now-400k+ figure. But before it was taken down, the original upload had more than three million dislikes, far outstripping what Perry's video has accumulated. (Some outlets got it even more wrong, trying to claim that passing Black's video made Perry's the most-disliked in YouTube history, even though two Justin Bieber clips and Black's other video have far more dislikes than Perry's.)

While some outlets have issued corrections, the "fact" has gone viral, leaving the more interesting question of why, exactly, it's important that Perry is more disliked than Black (or Bieber). On one level, of course, it's just good news for liberals, a nice confirmation that their repulsed reaction to Perry's ad is shared by lots of others. But it belies a deeper anxiety about the relationship between politics and entertainment. In the last few years, YouTube has taken a weirdly major role in our political campaigns, serving as the central clearinghouse of everything from campaign ads like Perry's to major campaign speeches, career-ending gaffes, and even presidential debates, to say nothing of all the reaction videos and remixes voters produce.

More »

Rebecca Black Is In Need Of A Good Defense In "Person Of Interest"

For better or worse one of 2011's most notable music stars is Rebecca Black, the California tween whose warbling of the inanity-filled ode to weekends "Friday" lit up the Internet—and nearly resulted in a slight recalibration of the formula for a "successful" pop song. (Awkwardly pronouncing a common word over the simplest sing-song melody = a sorely underexploited recipe for brain glue. Watch out for this tactic to be used over and over again in 2012, probably over thudding Eurohouse beats.) Her new video "Person Of Interest" has weird crime-scene imagery, a romantic counterpart who resembles a mirror-image Black, and lots of skee-ball shots. But is it designed for the express purpose of profiting off the Internet's negative attention? Our mathematical analysis below.

More »

Rebecca Black Tries To Prove That She Is An American Who's Got Talent

If you get into work today and hear people chattering about a young singer named Rebecca Black, no, you haven't been time-warped back to March; the California teen made the jump to the big screen last night, performing an under-two-minute blend of "Friday" and her jab at her detractors "My Moment" on a YouTube-synergistic episode of the still-kicking freakshow America's Got Talent. Black is still in "take me seriously" mode, apparently, and she ditched the nasal, flat, Ke$ha-like affect that she displayed on the recorded version of "Friday" to actually sing the thing. Sigh. Why does nobody know how to have fun anymore?

More »

Rebecca Black Is Already Singing About Being Famous On "My Moment"

You know, I actually found Rebecca Black kinda charming back in the day ("the day" in this case being, uh, March). Here was a girl who couldn't sing, or who at least had a fascinatingly weird way of pronouncing certain vowels, and whose parents (perhaps to make up for that?) basically gave her a birthday present that was half fantasy camp, half karaoke booth at an amusement park—with the key differences between those old practices and Black's clip for "Friday" being a) the worldwide dissemination offered by YouTube and b) the rise of "LOL Culture," in which people love to travel in packs to various internet curios and point and laugh and then move on to the next big thing—it's like a cross between a zoo and the worst high-school lunchroom ever.

And here is why it sort of sucks: With her new single "My Moment," Black and her people have pretty much shaved off anything that could possibly be made fun of or mocked, instead replacing the girlish charm of "Friday," which is inane but at least in a relatable way (and also poisonously catchy), with the not-even-good-enough-to-be-an-Idol-coronation-song "My Moment," a song about, yes, being famous despite all the "haters" out there. Seriously?

More »