The Return of the Negro Spiritual: Rebecca Black’s “Friday”


I’m in love. Someday, when society isn’t so intolerant, I will marry this column by Dana Vachon and give birth to its brilliant little babies.

Here’s a little taste of “Arms So Freezy: Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ As Radical Text,” but make sure to read the whole thing.

“Partying, Partying,’” she sings again, now in detached self-narration.

“Yeah!” reply her friends, and then the sequence is repeated to evoke the grand progenitor of all American music, the call and response of a Negro spiritual, harkening back to our nation’s great unhealing wound, slavery itself.

Are these not slaves of a kind? Are they not trapped here? Is consumerism not just another form of forced labor? In an age of harvested data and biological determinism there is no will and so no freedom of it—only constant manipulation of the pleasure principle, the bleary throbbing of overtaxed dopamine centers.

The apparent frivolity of “Friday” is only its most cunning aspect, a bubble-gum Trojan horse containing a radical text throwing itself against the gears of a death-bound society. And in Ms. Black’s voice we hear the full cry of a revolutionary age, Benghazi echoing across Orange County, the ancient wail of all who have ever wanted more.

Note to Meghan McCain: this is how it’s done.




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