Wednesday, August 30, 2006

LonelyGirl15: It's Not So Lonely In The Bay Area

Jessica at the forum has posted an astute analysis and commentary on the LG15 phenomenon.

She also has information which points to LG15 being located in the San Mateo/Mountain View, California area. I think the information on which it is based is legitimate enough to make this conclusion, even it later turns out to be wrong. Time for the local press to look into this. San Mateo is also the HQ for Youtube, but I cannot conclude youtube is behind this at this point.

There is a new LG15 video up today, called Swimming!!! It's the second LG15 installment to include outdoor scenes -- I think the california premise I mentioned in my last post is getting much stronger with this new infomation.

The video itself is well done. A lot of romantic/sexual tension, juxtaposed with bree in a safe one piece swimsuit. You don't need bare skin to tell the story, its refreshing. And a new story arc is being introduced, involving "Cassie." Time for Bree to get jealous?

Jessica's post:

All Roads [Don't] Lead to Rome
Posted by: jessica (IP Logged)
Date: August 30, 2006 07:52AM

Up until 10 or so days ago, YouTube was a place I had visited on few occasions. My motivation for visiting the site 10 or so days ago was simple enough--I wanted to see whether I could catch a missed episode of "America's Got Talent," where a local Philadelphia phenom, 11-year old vocalist, Bianca Ryan, wooed America and took home the show's $1 million prize. I was also motivated to catch a heartwarming video of an autistic, high school basketball manager/waterboy who was said to have scored 20 points in less than 4 minutes when the team's coach allowed him to suit up for a game after four years of committed service to the team.

After finding and enjoying both videos, I noticed that YouTube had categorized material as "Most Viewed", "Top Rated", "Most Discussed" etc. and figured I may be able to find further entertainment by scanning through the "Most Viewed" videos. Upon doing so, one thing stood out--most of the videos fell into the predictable sub-categories of "Poking Fun at our President", "Exploding Car", and "Guy Gets Knocked out by Spinning Sidekick to the Head." However, there was one exception.

One video seemed to be of a pretty, college-aged girl, who was speaking about some topic that apparently moved quite a few people. At that point, I clicked and entered the world of "Lonelygirl15" a/k/a "Bree"–a self-proclaimed 16 year-old homeschooler with strict parents. I was immediately skeptical because from my view she appeared more likely than not to be a 21-year old senior majoring in Theatre and Performance at U.S.C.

The exact video that I first watched is long lost on me. She now has twenty-four, the majority of which are purportedly filmed in her bedroom, door closed, with and without her friend, Daniel--and in spite of her strict parents. We also see them on two outdoor day trips. I was intrigued enough by her skillful use of intelligence, humor and wit to go back and catch her videos from the beginning. By the time I had finished watching her offerings, I was left asking was this real, a put on, or something in between. As I began reading other people's comments, I quickly realized I was hardly alone.

It became abundantly clear to me, of course, that this girl, "Bree", and her friend, "Daniel", had become "pop-cult(ure) figures" among YouTubers. My mental label of "cult figures", however, took on more meaning when I read comments to her video, "What Did Daniel and Dad Talk About?" In that video, as we all know, is a segment that pans in on a candleabra and picture of Aleister Crowley, the one-time leader of a group called Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) whose tenets are most prominently laid out in "The Book of the Law." Over the years, people have variously labeled Crowley as a hedonist, a sex fiend, a drug addict, Satanist, magician, sorceror, genius and any other number of things depending on perspectives. Crowley, however, actually gained much of his recognition from pop-culture enthusiasts when his home and many of his belongings were later purchased by guitarist, Jimmy Page, of the legendary rock group, Led Zeppelin. In the video, "What Did Daniel and Dad Talk About?",Bree vigorously objects when Daniel tries to light the candleabra which forms part of an in-your-face shrine to Crowley.

The image of a shrine to Crowley didn't square with my earlier impressions of Bree that she was a Christian Fundamentalist who seemed to rail against and poke fun at Secular Humanism in her "Proving Science Wrong" videos. She mentioned in one of her early videos that she had lived in a New Zealand commune and, prior to the Crowley sighting, I had calculated that her family members were Christian missionaries. It was at this point that a smirk came across my face and I quickly concluded that all of the viewers, me included, were being put on.

The more salient question to me, however, was: "Who is putting us on?" I began reading various blogs, watched parody videos by other talented and not so talented YouTubers, and even noticed that the "New York Times" and "Business Week" had caught the bug and pontificated. I then joined this fan site and began actively consuming the various theories being offered by the members, and I proffered my own theories and debunks where I felt I had knowledge.

The record is now voluminous. There are macro theories, micro theories, and variations of variations, that form a Decision Tree that branches out in more directions that one can readily count. To me, through it all, there are only two theories that hold interest: (1) Is this solely the creative genius of a couple of precocious teens or twenty-somethings with a script, video camera, and behind-the-scenes editor, no matter their motive or end game; or (2) A more insidious form of viral marketing/advertising. “Viral marketing” is typically defined as “marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. It can often be word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it can harness the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in researching a large number of people rapidly.” []

Selfishly, perhaps, I barely care if Bree and Daniel fit into the “real” category. I’m marginally interested in knowing who they are so that I can proclaim Bree, in particular, to be a super-talent and bless her Hollywood career. I am interested, however, in debunking any attempt by some self-important marketing guru to include you, and me, in some twisted and protracted viral marketing campaign.

Now, clearly it does not require any great insight to conclude that this saga isn’t going to end in Proctor & Gamble introducing some new consumer staples product. No old guard company is going to associate themselves with anything connected with images of Aleister Crowley. The risk- reward equation–well, enough said in that regard. However, once you move toward the entertainment industry, the risk-reward skew is much different.

With this as background, there were many very smart and talented people who helped me to draw various conclusions in sidebar discussions beyond this forum. Of course, they know who they are and their identities will be revealed, if at all, by their own pronouncements during later posts to this thread and others. What's important to me, above all, is that I can now call them friends.

So, I proffer the following. I have reason to believe that the indoor structure in which the videos are being shot is located in the IMMEDIATE San Mateo/Mountain View, California area. Similarly, I have reason to believe that the outdoor footage is being filmed in Northern California as well. The corporate headquarters of YouTube, in the company’s words, “is located in sunny San Mateo, California.”

Original drama? You judge for yourself. In my judgment, it's fairly clear that "All Roads [Don't] Lead to Rome", but YouTube?--I guess so.

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