I used to know the name of this song but have forgotten it. (Something like “Ya-ba-nee-jay,” I think.) Anyone? (The Nairobi Trio are from the Ernie Kovacs Show, an early pioneer of absurdist TV humor) (Link via Urbaniak)

This post yesterday got nothing but confusion. It was, perhaps, an attempt on my part to track the Venn diagram of internet memes. Lonelygirl15 is the most famous person on the internet right now, and has been written up–nay endlessless speculated about and dissected–in the New York Times, the LA Times, Newsday, Business Week, etc etc etc. The excitement comes from the idea that a lonely (!!!) sheltered, home-schooled teenaged girl is sending out these videos to the world. Of course she just happens to be incredibly cute and have no fears about having her video editing whiz friend blog her in her swimwear. Joystiq says it’s all part of some ARG (alternate reality game) and I agree. I know I am out of touch with today’s young emerging YouTube/iMovie Spielbergs, but after one minute of watching one lonelygirl15 video, I thought it was as phony as all get out.

OTOH, last night I was talking to some pals, and we compared an event from our past as “something out of a sitcom.”

“Nowadays it would be a reality show,” someone else said.

Considering the fact that “reality shows” are scripted and posed like everything else on TV, it seems that Being There and The Truman Show are now documentaries.

Real or fake, lonelygirl15 helps blur the line; but the line isn’t what’s real or fake, but rather what we WANT to be real and what we WANT to be fake.


  1. The Nairobi Trio song was called “Solfeggioâ€? performed by Robert Maxwell. You can find it on The Ernie Kovacs Record Collection.

  2. I have to confess to being one of those totally confused by the Lonelygirl15 phenomenon, at least until a recent piece on NPR’s “On the Media” managed to explain (sort of) the thing. There’s a transcript at http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/transcripts_090106_d.html if anyone’s interested.

    But it’s an excellent point that all this line-blurring-of-reality is interesting to note. And what we want to be real, what we want to be fake–and how we want those fake things to resolve!–are all strange new manifestations of the world we live in.

    Come to think of it, when did pop culture become so much like a Phillip K. Dick story?

  3. The bard Stephen Colbert has added two terms to our 21st Century vocabulary:

    truthiness: the quality by which a person claims to know something intuitively, instinctively, or “from the gut” without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or actual facts.

    wikiality: a condition in which consensus of opinion trumps factual information, something is true if enough people are convinced of it.

    Of course.

    Or it could just be that “lonelygirl15” is “Dawson’s Creek” without the WB frog.

  4. Oh, so by not being real, you just meant that the piece is staged. Wow, coming in cold on this “phenomenon”, there was no question in my mind that this wasn’t an actress, and I’m usually somewhat dense about that sort of stuff. People are actually fooled by this? She’s good, but the editing gives it away big time at the very least. Amateurs don’t make that sort of magic.

    Still, it’s six minutes of my life I want back.

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