I was devastated when I received my first negative reviews in national publications, at the age of 24. I can’t imagine how horrible it is to be thirteen and an object of immense, international ridicule.
“Friday” is more than bad. It’s ludicrous. It illustrates a kind of shiny blandness, cheerful boringness, that’s all over the place in our culture. It’s a perfect parody of Disney product intended for tweens. Its stupidity is surreal. It’s absolutely appropriate to mock it.
It also means that a thirteen year old girl that’s essentially an innocent bystander—she looks like a prop in that video, placed like a chair on a set—is taking a massive psychic beatdown.
It’s tempting to say that stepping into the cultural current is to anticipate, and accept, devastating consequences. It’s also tempting to scold her parents for putting her in this position. These are both disingenuous. There’s no implicit contract that exchanges exposure for an acceptance of cruelty, and nobody could expect that, within 36 hours—neck-snapping speed!—their child would be, in the world’s focus, absolutely on par with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. I’ve never recorded a song considering the possibility of being a worldwide monster meme on the day I post it.