Don't blame the kid who made the viral video asking out Kate Upton. It's the media's fault: For all the impossible wishes made into real connections by the power of social media, there's nothing romantic about a forced dream come true.
On Wednesday, 17-year-old high-school senior Jake Davidson became the latest kid to rocket to viral prom-date fame for a semi-clever video asking a celebrity to a dance — in his case, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton. In an essay on The Daily Beast, Kevin Fallon called for an end to the YouTube prom proposal, but it's really not the kids' fault that these gestures have started to feel so hackneyed. Really, it's the media's fault that these cute proposals have lost their charm: For all the impossible wishes made into real connections by the power of social media, there's nothing romantic about a forced dream come true.
And there you have it: Any of the novelty of Upton's seemingly unprompted response is gone as soon this becomes an orchestrated media event. Suddenly, Davidson, who has an almost Seinfeld-esque nasality, is on CNN, a mini-celebrity himself for the day. Something that could have been pretty sweet is instantly annoying.
The Daily Beast's Fallon blames the kids:
Once upon a time, “she’s (or he’s) out of my league” was a resigned notion. Now it’s become a dare. The challenge is to create a YouTube invite so charming that it will go viral and catch the celebrity paramour’s attention. It’s almost genius—so much good will is funneled towards the wide-eyed teen behind the video that the celebrity couldn’t possibly say no without risking a damanged reputation. At the very least, he or she is required to muster an easily verifiable “my schedule won’t allow it” excuse.
But speaking of Bye Bye Birdie, that story—which involves a girl plucked out of obscurity to kiss an Elvis-type figure—proves that our mainstream media has long wanted to capitalize on the heartsickness of teens. It also proves that our desire to place a "regular" person with a celebrity can sometimes go wrong.
So, kids, make all the videos you want.Maybe one day a celebrity will respond without the promise of extra publicity, you'll go to prom, and it will be a genuinely nice moment. No Today show producer has to know.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.