Viral videos are everywhere. They have been around for sometime now and they have become a part of our pop culture. We can find a lot of influences on our society today because of certain viral videos. With great success comes great criticism and mocking. And now a day’s people are not only making a living off of parodying viral videos and pop culture but it has become part of our pop culture now as well. Parodying has been around a lot longer that the Internet. In an article by David Hajdu, what paved the way for parodies for songs to thrive was the court case in 1964 of Berlin v. E.C. Publications, Inc. In this case the courts decided that it was not copyright infringement, with the judge explaining; “We believe that parody and satire are [the judges’ italics] deserving of substantial freedom—both as entertainment and as a form of social and literary criticism.” I feel as though one of the biggest contributors to why viral video parodies are so popular is because of guys like Weird Al Yankovic.
Weird Al has been making a living off of parodying some of the most popular songs that were current at the time for the past 38 years. In an article by Michael Hogan, Weird Al discussed his success in parodying star singing artist. He proclaims that only two to three per cent of artists refuse permission for him to parody their songs, even though he does not need their permission he does it as a courtesy. A lot of artists proclaim that being parodied by Weird Al means they have made it and even some thank him for helping to boost their song’s popular but making fun of it. “The hip-hop community embraced White & Nerdy, Yankovic’s parody of Chamillionaire’s Ridin’ (with its chorus hook about “ridin’ dirty”). It became a top 10 hit, went platinum and Chamillionaire even credited it for his Grammy win: ‘That parody was the reason I won, because it made the record so big it was undeniable.’” Nowadays anyone can just upload a video criticizing or mocking current pop culture or viral videos and become viral phenomenon.
We as a society love to watch people poke fun and mock those that are in the limelight and we also love to watch celebrities poke fun of everybody else when it is done appropriately. One of the reasons viral videos in general have become so popular is because of another pop culture phenomenon, YouTube. YouTube is such a big part of today’s pop culture. People are on it all the time, looking at new music videos, movie trailers, home videos, etc. People have taken to this powerful media to try and make their own mark. In a book by Jack Lule he explains, “For as long as mass media have existed in the United States, they have helped to create and fuel mass crazes, skyrocketing celebrities, and pop culture manias of all kinds”. Viral videos are one of the crazies and when other people the take those videos and exploit it they are increasing the mass craze for those videos and also for parody videos as well. Bart Baker is one of the biggest names on YouTube when it comes to making song parodies. He not only makes fun of the music videos but also the artists that made them as well. If you don’t think parodies are a big part of pop culture then just go to this guy’s YouTube channel and see that he has over 4.3 million followers of his channel. The parodies are not just limited to songs though. There are a lot of parodies that also make fun of popular movies and also random viral videos.
I see that the media today is also helping to make viral parodies apart of our pop culture by the use of agenda setting function theory. In this theory the media has the power to tell us what to think about but not what to think. In this case YouTube would be the medium for which the message is trying to get across. If you go to the homepage of YouTube they have a variety of videos that it suggests for you to watch. When you look at those videos most of them are of no significance to “important” things going on in our society at the time but what is “trending” or most popular. Most of the time it has no reliance on any important issues in our world but there are occasions where the two meet. A lot of the videos that are usually featured are the parodies or the videos that have already become viral. There has also been the creation of television shows that are focused on showing some of the biggest, “most trending” viral videos on the Internet. So not only does it get spot lighted on the Internet but also television shows as well.
I do not see this trend of viral video parodies going away anytime soon. People love to watch ridiculous and most of the time stupid videos that mock and criticize things that are popular or have become a big part of our pop culture. As long as mediums such as YouTube are still allowing anyone to upload parody videos it will perpetuate this trend and continue to be a big part of our pop culture.