This is the time of year when critics and media pundits choose their favorite cultural event, record, movie, book, TV show, and so on. On top of that, this is also the end of a mighty crippling decade, and everyone is falling all over everyone else to come up with the Top Ten or Fifty or Hundred defining moments in politics, culture, entertainment, or whatnot.
Me, I've been stretching my brain to make some lists, but finally realized that daily/frequent blogging is a way of compiling and collecting information--that is, keeping up with things and then sharing them instead of hoarding (the current designated illness for a society supposedly moving away from conspicuous consumption).
So I went back over all my Popkrazy blogs, Facebook posts, email lists to friends, notebook scribblings, and finally decided that, for this pop-culture observer, the video pop-song parody is the Pop Culture Event of 2009.
Of course, the stuff didn't really start with YouTube. The impulse began with Weird Al and moved like the termite art it was into the borders of MTV videos in general, reality TV, American Idol, commercials, cinema, and high school musicals. To trace the entire history of this phenomenon means you go all the way back to answer records and that means you either have to have a book proposal or an academic grant, and I don't have either, so I'm just gonna say that Weird Al started it all.
But here's my point: Beginning a little over a year ago, once there was an identifiable pop monster hit, whether by Britney or Gaga or whatever flavor of the month, I would log onto YouTube, searching relentlessly for the kid in his room trying to mimic (the best word is "ape") the pop moves and gestures of the celebrity video that spawned a YouTube dream of moving from bedroom to International Pop Star.
And so far, I have yet to find a better series of YouTube parodies than the stream that accompanied Beyonce's "Single Ladies." And that's probably because Beyonce's video does what few music videos have ever done: forced the viewer to experience the song's theme and vision in one simple and breathtaking image--a beautiful single lady multiplied shaking her rump and holding up her hand and saying "where's the ring?"
(Well, Michael knew how to do it, but he's dead and his ghost has yet to appear on YouTube like some lost soul from a J-Horror film.)
Anyway, here you have it, pals: the Pop Event of 2009, two lame YouTube videos with heart. One from an overweight, lonely, perhaps gay mover-and-shaker, and the other from an Italian family--a daughter, mother, and grandmother. If you watch the videos more than once and meditate on the experience, you're either gonna laugh yourself silly or weep from the pain.
Here, then, are The Popkrazy Pop Stars of 2009: an unknown chubby guy and a daring family of women. Give them the attention they deserve.