Don't We All Have A Litttle Rebecca Black Inside?
Let me state, for the record, that I was not a cool middle schooler. I was 5'10" and about 115 pounds, at an age where being tall and thin is anything but cool. Add in some sweet braces, facial features I had yet to grow into and my complete unfamiliarity with a blow dryer and round brush and you have the definition of "awkward phase," as seen in the photo above.
When I was in middle school, the "Internet" referred to America Online chatrooms, where my friends and I would misrepresent ourselves to strangers in various enthusiast chatrooms. Had I been born just a scant 15 years later, this awkward mess would have been all over the internet. Every tortured poem, every misdirected crush, every vengeful rage against my parents (did you know that I once suffered the indignity of being held back from a sleepover because I had been mean to my brother? I know. Borderline child abuse), would have all been documented on the internet for the scrutiny of the universe.
Instead, my self-choreographed dance to Hanson's "MMMBop," my original country song "Don't Fall In Love With A Football Player," my emotionally naked journal entries and my less-than-kind thoughts about my classmates are now confined to my own fuzzy memories and a few boxes in a suburban storage unit.
Why this gratitude for my adolescence falling within the dark ages of internet technology?
At the first viewing, I insisted that the Rebecca Black video was a hoax, some clever viral video produced by a comedy group or ad agency to hoodwink the world into some kind of YouTube hysteria. Instead, it was the vanity project of a starry-eyed teen whose parents had the money to make her into a DIY pop star.
But what should have just been a few thousand dollars down the toilet instead turned into a world of adults fixated on picking apart a teenage girl when—wait a minute—weren't we supposed to be against bullying, specifically when it was anonymous internet bullying?
Regardless of the fact that Rebecca Black has made more in a few weeks than I made at my first-time job, she's still just a teenage girl with a head full of feelings. And while I've spent the years since middle school second guessing nearly ever decision I've ever made, she's standing confidently next to the sub-par product sold to her by some clever snake oil salesman with production equipment.
Rebecca Black in the video for "Friday"
The only difference between myself and Rebecca Black (besides age, her shiny hair and the fact that Justin Bieber, Diane Sawyer and the Jonas Brothers all know who she is) is that she had the resources to follow through on her blindly-confident middle school dream and a thick enough skin to withstand more public criticism than any of us will ever have to face.
And to that I say: good job! Where I was reduced to tears when a girl in my class asked me if the chlorine from all my swim practices is what had made me so ugly, this girl has smiled in the face over a million YouTube comments, some of which suggest (among other awful things) that she get an eating disorder.
Growing up means self-awareness. In some cases, this is beneficial. For example, I no longer write diary entries in the style of Louisa May Alcott. On the flip side, it can also cripple you with a fear that outweighs all of your capabilities.
So soak it up, Rebecca. And don't spend all that money on Skechers and Sanrio knick knacks (gross, I'm old).
by Nora McInerny
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She doesn't need a record deal. With her current momentum, she can churn out a few of these silly tracks and make a bundle. I think she needs to call it quits soon, though. Consumers' attention spans are so short, and were it not for this "scandal", I don't think she would have gotten very far at all.
nora, you are so right on all counts. love this article.
@Spotty - spoken like someone in the know? ;)
Oh, the head gear. May it RIP!
Nora, how much do I love that you posted that picture of yourself?? You should see my awkward years photos. If you did, none of you would ever speak to me again. I am not exaggerating.
I forgot to mention that I also had Melanie Griffith-in-Working-Girl glasses. It wasn't pretty.
Fabulous post, Nora! You're bang on and my big-hair, brace-faced (plus headgear, for those of you who know what that even is), NONAMEBRAND acidwash jeans (yes, brand did matter), pimply 13-yr old self agrees with you too.
If YouTube was around when I was Rebecca Black's age I would've for sure had something (or fifty somethings) embarrassing up there. I went to a performing arts Junior High, which is like a license to be overdramatic. Just thinking about singing in the Wizard of Oz is making me recoil in horror. But I think that no one would be that interested in our amateur performances. It's always so random what ends up becoming a huge viral hit, yeah it has to be funny or awkward or weird, but there's so much of that stuff on YouTube that never catches on. I can't imagine having over a million people having watched and commented on a video I was in, that would be overwhelming.
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