I love the Internet and most days the whole world seems to love it with me. Why wouldn't that be the case? Rather than movies, books or even TV, the Internet is the greatest entertainment resource that exists today. As a result, it has expanded our concept of what constitutes entertainment. Let's face it, the spazzy Microsoft Paint antics of the website Hyperbole and a Half or the acid trip that is video host FilmCow's Charlie the Unicorn wouldn't have been considered entertainment otherwise.
Every few months, however, someone like Rebecca Black comes along with her viral music video about the joys of Friday. Soon, we say "goodbye" to love and "hello" to weeks spent with the world – or at least the portion of the world that comments on YouTube posts – ranting about the talentless hacks that rise up like fish corpses in the polluted lake of mediocrity known as the World Wide Web.
In other words, haters officially start hatin' and honestly, the vitriol can be a little tiring.
Despite what that sounds like, though, I'm not interested in debating the supposed horrors of goofy Internet ridicule or singing praises for Black. All I'll say is this: I question the ethical implications of a couple hundred thousand strangers wishing death upon a 13-year-old girl who's having innocent fun and donating her iTunes proceeds to relief efforts in Japan.
Yet, I acknowledge that anonymous mockery is an Internet and viral tradition. In fact, even outside of cyberspace, if someone chooses to share his or her work, others have a right to criticize it. Take that as you will. In the meantime, back away from the bitterness for a bit.
It may not be obvious, but there is something pretty great about what Black did, though many may not notice when they're banging their heads against walls, trying to eviscerate the term "back seat" from their minds. The idea of a 13-year-old girl reaching global levels of fame, or infamy, depending on your perception, almost overnight would have been unheard of a decade or two ago. Yet here she is, a bona fide entertainment icon of the moment, and she is only one of many.
It's an example of the sheer power of the cyber culture being created that random amateurs, from lonelygirl15 and OK Go to the University of Michigan's Team StarKid and Darren Criss, can have such a strong influence on entertainment and on the shaping of our pop culture discourse.
We have created a culture where it's "American Idol" all day, every day; Plain Janes and Average Joes are discovered and their lives are changed in seconds with a few button clicks. And you know what? We so excited.