Adina Goldman's analysis of Rebecca Black's popularity, the lameness of the parodies and mashups it's engendered, and her own relationship to the vision in Black's video is revelatory and incisive, and points to the existence of a new relationship with irony:
We're left with a fascination with our fascination over something so banal. We are amazed by how quickly something we don't enjoy looking at is suddenly something everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is looking at. It's not the viral item of the moment as much as it's our behavior around it that has us yapping. It's the virtual equivalent of "eeeyuch, does this milk smell bad to you, too?"
But there's something else about this viral item in particular that has me paying attention. None of the inevitable mash-ups or parodies of the original have managed to nail it. So I'll throw my hat into the ring, help Rebecca Black rack up a few more viewings on her YouTube page, and tell you why we are not going to get a parody that tickles us as much as the original.
It's a pitch-perfect portrayal of a certain kind of tween girl's fantasy life by an actual 13-year-old girl. It's the mirror dance with the curling iron. It's wholesome and direct. It's exactly what I, at 13, projected being a teenager would be like. Instead of Bat Mitzvah lessons, I would be headed for some vague (but funfunfun nonetheless) weekend adventure with my friends. In a car. With cute boys. And I would kind of be a pop star. With supershiny lip gloss. Why are we being so cynical about this? It's too honest to fit the parody mold. *, **