Saturday, April 11, 2020

An influencer and her impersonators

Hey hey A-to-Z-ers. I’m almost keeping up with things! Today’s instruction is from a very intelligent, informed, imperturbable, irreproachable (and currently impregnated) individual; my only in-law, the wife of my brother. And the idea is:


A new person of interest to me… (did that sound weird? I’m not investigating a murder) is Miranda Sings; the 2008 creation of then-22-year-old Colleen Ballinger, a multi-talented writer/performer who is currently touring before all-age audiences, many, if not most of whom dress up as Miranda look-alikes, but who is most-known as a youtuber with millions of followers.

The Miranda character is basically a terrible person; self-centred, delusional and talentless. Her singing is notoriously dysfunctional.

Forbes names her the 5th ranked digital influencer in the world. I only learned of her existence in 2018 seeing her guesting on Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which closed with a brief appearance of the real Colleen. I have slowly been drawn in by the humour of it, despite initially thinking it was the kind of novelty likely quick to dissipate. As of today she has become the most common contributor on my youtube playlist as I gradually explore her massive back-catalogue.

With all this influence it’s great to see that Miranda champions the most kind and socially responsible views; she just does it in some accidental intellectually ass-backwards way, in keeping with her standard comic duncery.

While she is notorious for gathering youtube and twitter comments both adoring and hating (prompting one of her main trademark expressions Haters Back Off! - the title of a two-season Netflix series), much or most of the hate mail is likely intentional baiting and meant for fun. In her semi-weekly vlog she shares her favorite fan mail (from her Mirfandas) and favourite hate mail. Getting your message chosen, regardless which category, is almost certainly any Mirfanda’s wet dream.

And speaking of wet dreams; the Miranda comedy material is a curious crossover of the traditionally-kid-friendly and traditionally-adult, and as times have changed and the internet has made superstitious over-protection of children next to impossible, it’s still a little eye-opening for me to see no apparent concern over this would-be transgression.

But Colleen has revealed that some of the early hate mail was decidedly real and severe, which prompts me to ruminate: I think that whether or not your sense of humour intersects with Colleen plays a part, certainly, in whether you’re a fan or not. But as for the deeper inclinations of love or hate, I suspect much has to do with this:

Miranda is clearly broken, and completely without empathy. And I think that her brokenness attracts people who possess much empathy, while people lacking it, are in a way threatened by her, the way that the deepest-closeted homosexuals of the previous century were so often outwardly the loudest homophobes. The game that non-empaths must play… Miranda is breaking all those rules. To some that can be infuriating, I think because it brings an unwanted mirror into play.

It does not seem that Colleen designed this paradigm. She just started mimicking annoying shallow peers, perhaps hyperbolically, and eventually on video for the benefit of her friends. And like most youtube sensations (while the corporations have not figured out how to contain the platform) her popularity just grew.

For some reason in my life, I have been deeply drawn to people with an ultimately alarming lack of empathy. And there I have generated pity and love. This has happened to me within the categories of friends, lovers, and in life-coaching relationships.

It is… hopeful to see young people so loving toward the broken Miranda, who is so easily detestable. Pragmatically though, I am inspired when I see how a simple sense of humor can reach people and open a conduit for healthy higher-order ideas.

For a couple years now I have wanted to explore youtube as a creative outlet, with comedy being the hook. Some day when I’ve taken control of my health and productivity I’m sure I will.

For now I’m taking some lessons from Colleen’s creation, and I’m ready to be called a Mirfanda.


Dyanne @ I Want Backsies said...

My daughter always watched all those YouTubers. In fact, she still does, now that I think of it. Just asked her about Miranda Sings, and she said she was never a fan of her in the early days but has come to appreciate her now as funny and very talented. So there you go!

April Moore said...

I'm going to have to check her out and I have a feeling it will help having your commentary. Sometimes, the best way to start something is to just do it and the rest will follow.