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People of Walmart Song

Fri, Jun 24, 2011

Music, Pop Culture, Vids, Websites

It surpassed 2.5 million views on YouTube last week. Jessica Frech‘s original song and video set to images from PeopleOfWalmart.com is a prime lesson in successful self-promotion: take an Internet site that thrives on our love of laughing at people and pair it with a seriously catchy tune (seriously, don’t listen to it more than once if you don’t want to wake up singing it tomorrow) and voila: Internet meme! Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Frech is a talented musician with an ethereal voice (and a ukulele!) — but her mastery of grass-roots internet marketing is what will propel her to fame. She updates her YouTube channel religiously with covers, follow-ups to PoW, and now, through the channel, she’s just begun a weekly songwriting challenge whereby her fans suggest topics, she picks one each week and then churns out a tune: The first one came from the fan suggestion to write “a song about rep weiner and what it would be like if McDonald’s sold hot dogs (McWeiner) XD” and she launched The McWeiner Song this past Monday — it’s no “People of Walmart” but she did it in a week! She’s a machine.

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3 Responses to “People of Walmart Song”

  1. Annie Says:

    Sigh, this is funny, but honestly I’m a bit sick of trashing the people of WalMart. Particularly by people who probably shop in Target and other “Temples of Crass Consumerism”. Having spent time in both, there are enough weird and odd people in the world to go around.

    The problem I have with the concept of “The People of Wal Mart” (website, this song, and other related) is that often, there is such a smug air of class and intellectual elitism in it. Far too many people make themselves feel better by putting others down. When you do it based on social class and other factors that people cannot help, it’s vile.

    Before you go trash these people, tell me, have you ever worked with people like this? Many of them have the triple curse of poverty, isolation, and mental health/drug addiction issues. Many others are just poor and never had a chance to be otherwise. I’ve worked with poor, urban, foster kids of color and I’ve worked with poor, white, Apppalachian poor families. People in both groups were “off”. They would wear “trashy” or weird things. They would behave in ways we disapproved of. Most of them could not help it. Most of them never got out of the cycle of crap that put them at the lower rung of society from birth.

    There are several people in this video who are CLEARLY suffering from mental health issues. Several other who have what appear to be unresolved gender or sexual identity issues. Anyone who has worked with these populations could tell you that. Are you really happy you are mocking them?

    (And the guy with the shit-stained shorts could be ill instead of drunk or stupid.)

    Do we really want to start mocking people ruthlessly on the net for the natural outcome of poverty, poor education, poor health care (particularly mental health care), and isolation from “mainstream culture”? If you knew these people were in need of mental health help and couldn’t get it, would you be so quick to mock? If you knew they were struggling with their gender identity, would you mock?

    Well, guess what, you don’t know that many of them don’t have such issues. What you do know, just based on the video, is that this is skewed toward a certain population- the poor.

    Ask yourself, how many of the “People of WalMart” are educated white suburbanites?

    How many of the people in this video or on the site look like they have great jobs and a 401K?

    Are you mocking them because of what they think and the negative things they do to others or who they are?

    I’ve zero problem mocking racists, misogynists, homophobes, etc. Zero problem with mocking the Schwarzeneggers and DSK’s of the world. Those are the people who deserve scorn and mockery.

    But when you start mocking people for being “white trash” or “wearing odd clothing” or “having weird hair” or “dressing like a woman when you are a man”, you are feeding into (1) the concept that people are ever trash (2) the concept that people born poor and or stupid or mentally ill or gender queer are lesser (3) we who aren’t are so superior because we AREN’T them.

    That makes you distant cousins to the homophobes. True tolerance is taking people as they are after you have got to know them, not mocking and judging based on stereotypes. We have 0 real evidence on any of these people.

    The entire reason people love the People of WalMart or Worst Tattoo Ever is the thrill of debasing others they feel inferior for their perceived stupidity. When really, what may be going on is poverty and ignorance. Ignorance is not stupidity. Many of these people may even have mental health issues, some of them most certainly do.

    This “humor” devalues and debases humanity as a whole. People should be attacked for ideas and for the things they do to others, but never for who they are when they can’t help but be otherwise.

    Before people tell me I’ve no sense of humor or not to take it so seriously, that’s equivalent of telling women just to shut up because we are too sensitive when we don’t like those DSK jokes going around.

  2. Annie Says:

    PS, you want to see weird, walk down any of the party streets in West La on a weeknight. It’s not just gay men. It’s everyone. Why aren’t they mocked? Oh, right, when young hipsters or wannabe trophy wives behave oddly and dress strangely its cool.

    It only deserves derision if you are not doing it in the way society wants you to.

  3. Dubird Says:

    Ok, just gotta say, this was a JOKE. It wasn’t serious. Hell, I’m from Walmart country and my first job was at the fourth one ever built, and I wasn’t offended. A very large percent of the people that go to Walmart are like this. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. A lot of has to do with the fact that Walmart has cheap stuff, and when someone has to live on a budget (or in a small town with NO other options), you go to Walmart. That’s just how it is, and how I grew up. If I, one of the people that song is making fun of, can laugh it off, what does it matter? Quit being so PC and ruining humor for everyone else.


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