Dig Your Own Grave

How Rebecca Black Makes Capitalists Out Of Everyone

Adobe After Effects in the hands of a small child
You’ve all seen the latest contrived musical pop chart mess from Rebecca Black, I know you have because it’s everywhere I look these days. Not just on the internet; I overhear snippets of derogatory conversation and notice people ‘ironically’ humming the tune on the streets, down to the sleaziest of pubs and even in the Dreidel spinning back alleys of my local city’s Jewish District. Daytime television pundits scoff from their soft red-cushioned sofas and Radio Disc Jockeys scrape the barrels of their humor buckets to eke out as much derision as can possibly be forced from this young teenager like vultures hopping around a decomposing zebra, desperately tugging at the torn sinews and partially rotting flesh of the remaining shreds of dignity held by this girl, barely entering the world of adulthood.

Rebecca is just one of a small but growing number of manufactured pop princesses who are currently being churned out of Ark Music Factory’s production line, a company who are as much the legitimate ‘indie’ record label they claim to be as McDonalds is a Boutique fine-dining restaurant. This is nothing new; enterprising businessmen have seen the potential in exploiting over-excitable and easy to please teenagers since The Beatles made their first debut. Make no mistake, behind every single crappy song in the charts that barely passes as a listenable tune; let alone showing any passion or skill from the supposed singer/songwriter, there is a very greedy, very rich, middle-aged man rubbing his gnarled hands in glee at the prospect of the new solid gold toilet seat he is going to put in every single one of his yachts as a result.

You pay this man money so he can spend time with your kids.
The difference with Ark Music Factory is that they make no pretense of hiding this ugly truth. In fact Patrice Wilson; founder and part collaborator on each vomited out ‘song’, welcomes the transparency of his business by inviting affluent parents of talentless children to turn them from spoilt nobodies into spoilt pop stars for the mere price of roughly $4000. The parents receive ownership of the master recording and Ark help themselves to the publishing rights, which means the majority of money made by your child’s warbling belongs to them, if they are lucky enough to be snapped up by the hideous beast that is the frivolously spendthrift and furiously mercurial teenage market.

Go… Bring me home a fortune, child.
Unfortunately for Rebecca, or fortunately; depending on whether you value monetary gain over self-respect, her video went viral a couple of weeks ago. Video’s very rarely go viral organically, it is a process one must carefully construct leading me to believe that Ark’s owner, Patrice, has a great sense of humor. See, in order to get one’s video to garner more than a million views on YouTube, the owner of the video usually places links to it on every forum imaginable, in the hopes that enough people will click on it. Once they have they done that, and depending on whether they think it has merit, the viewer will then post the same link on their Facebook page in an attempt to leech vicariously off the video’s success, either because it’s a clever and well-formed piece of work, or it’s a pile of crap so bad that it can be considered funny to watch. Being a businessman, Patrice obviously recognized that what he had on his hands fell into the latter category, and like a cruel parent shaving its child’s hair into a mullet and making it wear a ‘kick me’ t-shirt before sending it to school to be ridiculed by its peers, he put Rebecca’s travesty of a song onto the internet and promoted the hell out of it, waiting for the inevitable tsunami of negative publicity and backlash, carrying with it a sweet wave of money enough for him to surf all the way to the bank.

Now, I don’t have a problem with Rebecca, or even Patrice. As I’ve stated, this shit’s been going on longer than most people reading this article have been alive. It’s a terrible thing that there are so many artists out there making better music who don’t get the wide recognition, but they’re happy making their music and for it to stay underground where the people who really appreciate it will dig deep enough to find it. That’s cool. What brings my piss to a boil is the sneaky scoffers hanging on at the sidelines, the aforementioned vultures who realize that enough people hate this girl that they exploit this mass bullying for their own monetary gain. Let me give you an example, take a look at this video here.

This is the kind of thing that lots of people love, partly because it makes fun of Rebecca; and everyone is on that bandwagon, but also because it has memorable catchphrases that can be recited to each other across office spaces or prison cafeterias. In particular you may have noticed the ‘Everybody’s Russian’ and ‘My hand is a dolphin’ quote. The thing is, while they do raise a slight giggle at the time of watching, they are not the kind of comedic phrase which I will look back on years later with the same affection. I definitely do not want to spend $15.99 to own a t-shirt with either of those phrases printed on, as Brock Baker (creator of above mocking video) is desperately shelling them out for, trying to not only make a name for himself as a ‘comedic genius’, but also earn a quick buck at the same time.

The most infuriating thing about what Brock Baker is doing is the speed at which his greedy little mind must have set to work. Rebecca’s video went up on the internet at the beginning of February, but it wasn’t until later that month until it actually went viral and people started paying attention to it. Brock’s video went up about three weeks ago now, and from the moment it went up he left an annotation saying that soon ‘My Hand Is A Dolphin’ t-shirts would be for sale. That means in the space of about a week he had the idea of re-dubbing the video, creating it, showing it to friends (who would have said how much they loved the ‘dolphin’ bit) and began plotting ways of making money off it. That’s like Rupert Murdoch accidentally filming an old woman falling over, re-editing it with him giving a catchphrase filled commentary, then promoting the shit out of it on Fox News, earning loads of money off the advertising revenue. No really, it is just like that.

Oh over-exploitable

Anyway, I’ve found a way we can all make money off this, and hopefully Brock will never be any the wiser. See that image on the right there? That’s my little design that is. It’s like Brock’s one, only more authentic, it has that look of being actually created in a sweatshop by an impoverished child. What I’m doing is giving that away for the low low price of absolutely free. All you have to do is copy it, download it, or even just trace it. Then take that image down to one of those shops which put any image on a t-shirt for about $3. Now here comes the clever bit, get the t-shirt printer to make you about a hundred of them. You then pop them on E-Bay or even make your own site dedicated to the sale of the t-shirt, just like Brock has. Sell them for $14.99 (that’s called tactical undercutting, and many legitimate business people do it, so don’t worry about offending Brock). Then just wait for the orders to start rolling in.

Pretty soon, we’ll all be making money just selling this one t-shirt, and imagine how wonderfully rich we will be! The dream won’t last though my friends, we can only spend our new found money on fancy new dolphin t-shirts to impress our friends and show off to our colleagues for so long. In a not too distant future we will have to dine on the rich cottony fiber while all other economies collapse around us. We will need to build some kind of huge ship, an Ark if you will, just to travel the seas searching for an Island untouched by the lascivious tentacle of greed spawned from Brock’s mockery. Hopefully an island just like in Robinson Crusoe, with a helpful yet technologically backwards local named Friday, who can show us just how much fun can be had on weekends and which rocks are best for us to sit on, the ones in the front of the island, or the ones at the back.

A bleak future I’m sure, but sometimes one has to face the inevitable. Now go, make those t-shirts and spread the good word of flash in the pan mockery of flash in the pan starlets. It’s your duty.

Article by Duncan Stevens

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