Mar 292011
Authors: Matt Miller

Everywhere we turn there is another illness threatening our daily lives.

In 2001 it was Anthrax. In 2003 it was Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). In 2009 it was H1N1 or Swine Flu or Pig Flu or Swine Influenza –– whatever you want to call it.

On March 11, 2011, a new epidemic swept across America faster and on a bigger scale than ever seen in the country. Within a week, 18 million people had been in contact with the virus.

As of 7 p.m. Tuesday, 64,743,720 people had fallen victim to the Rebecca Black Plague.

A viral video has attacked the U.S., leaving experts, parents, concerned citizens and pretty much anyone of normal intelligence wondering: What has happened to our country?

The Internet is no longer safe. Citizens are urged to keep computers off and especially stay away from YouTube where the Rebecca Black Plague has been rumored to have originated.

Doctors have warned everyone with a Smartphone or Internet connection to be on the lookout for the symptoms, which include:

General curiosity toward any sort of “tween” pop.

A complete misunderstanding of song writing, structure and singing.

The constant singing of the words, “Friday,” “Fun” or “Party.”

The inability to construct a sentence or complete any intelligent thought.

Overall stupidity.

An anxiousness for the weekend (specifically an urge to ride around in the back of a car with two underage rich girls with braces).

If you have not seen the Rebecca Black “Friday” video on YouTube, I suggest you stop reading this column right now and forget you ever heard anything about it. Go on with your daily life ­­–– be happily ignorant.

In short, a video made by 13-year-old Rebecca Black became an Internet phenomenon and soon had more than 64 million views and approximately 43,000 sales on iTunes.

But how can a video that was dubbed “the worst video ever made” have this sort of success?

Could it be general curiosity? That’s how it was for me. It’s hard to resist clicking on a headline that says, “Is this the worst video ever made?”

Could it be to get a quick laugh? Probably, the video is hilarious.

Could it be that it is regretfully catchy? It is.

Could it be that the morals of our country, our youth, our culture have plummeted?

It’s just the third person effect (thanks Professor Plaisance). We have all gotten some sort of enjoyment out of this video, but we believe that we are more intelligent and less susceptible to its catchy pop beat and abysmal lyrics than others who view it.

We are all connected to this collective intelligence in some way. We are all victims of the Rebecca Black Plague whether we want to believe it or not –– this includes the Collegian newsroom, my friends, 64 million others and myself.

But this is not a bad thing.

It has shown us the power of social media and the power of the online collective conscience.

What about if this viral power was used for good and not biological warfare on our IQs?

If artists could tap the vein that the Rebecca Black Plague was injected to, they would have unlimited potential, and some have been able to.

Rapper Tyler The Creator, a member of the rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) went viral with his video “Yonkers.” His video, which was uploaded to YouTube the same day as Rebecca Black Plague’s currently has 4,346,935 views.

The Black Plague video itself despite the flack it gets has been a good thing too. It has spawned a wave of parodies that have gotten an enormous amount of recognition and Internet traffic.

One of the most popular even has ties to CSU.

The video, “Rebecca Black –– Friday (Music Video Parody)” created by CSU students was shown on “Good Morning America” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”

It has 2,633,527 views. CSU students Jon Dougworth and Nolan O’Keefe are part of Simplyspoons, which made it in collaboration with Funnyz. A CSU sweatshirt and a Fort Collins bus stop both made it into the video.

Like SARS and the Swine Flu, the Rebecca Black Plague may only be big news for a short time, but unlike those other hit outbreaks the Rebecca Black Plague has a chance to do some good.

It shows the power artists can wield with social media and also give our country a much-needed laugh.

Entertainment Editor Matt Miller is a junior journalism major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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