Thursday, August 05, 2010

Antoine.

So, a former colleague of mine at NPR (among others) has been tweeting about Antoine Dodson for a couple of days. And now NPR has a story that sums up the whole thing pretty well.

I initially thought my friend's tweets were just about a silly rap song, because she kept talking about it getting stuck in her head. So I ignored it, because I get enough silly rap songs in my head and I thought the video she tweeted was just too bad, even for my low standards.

Little did I know that it was not a rap video but a parody of an outcry from the brother of a woman who was the victim of an attempted rape.

There are so many things going on here that I literally don't know how to react. Watching the news story that originated this meme, my thoughts were roughly:

- wow, that's horrible what happened to that woman

- how great that she fought back and that the guy did not get what he wanted

- how great that her brother intervened

- wow that is quite a response from her brother

- ha, I like his chutzpah

- ha, wow, more of his reaction -- again, like the moxie, but it's kind of excessive within the framework of the news story

And then I watched the auto-tune parody. Thoughts were (as they were originally):

- This is unwatchable

- Now that I know the context, it's weird to make this into a joke

And then I went to Antoine's blog:

- OMG, all his fans in the "fan outing" are white. Like, all but one. This is really weird and uncomfortable.

- He sure could get a lot of white-lady action if he wanted some.

- Whoops, I see from this thank-you video message where he's styling hair that he probably doesn't want any lady action.

I think it's great that this guy who's a minor hero is getting a bunch of love and seems very happy about it. And even though I know the reporter's argument that it would be wrong to "censor" Antoine is self-serving, I also agree, to an extent. He was understandably angry, and in everything he said, he was RIGHT (except maybe the part about husbands being in danger too).

But then again, the reporter had to have known what she was doing when she edited THAT much footage of him into her news segment. And the way it's being parodied and embraced by people who (I'm assuming) do not live in those projects is both bizarre and sickening.

Dodson is now apparently negotiating a ringtone. If that gets his family some much-needed money, who am I to say anything? But at the same time, if the majority of people downloading said ringtone are doing so because they think it's funny, how is that empowering for anyone? It's an attempted rape. Can we please not turn this into a joke? In any way?

Many of the commenters on Antoine's blog seem to express genuine concern for his sister and his family. But just as many just wish him a reality show. "Get ya money homie!! Capitalize off this s**t! Get you a reality show!!" wrote one. "Post more videos……post them on youtube. Get you and your family some money!!! All these other stupid folks have reality shows and make money off silly stuff. GET YOURS!!!!" wrote another.

I have to believe that things wouldn't have gone this far if the rapist had gotten away with the crime. Otherwise we're in more trouble as a society than you think.

Music: "Bed Intruder Song"

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