Monday, 18 October 2010

Antoine Dodson and how I don't get the joke.

Antoine Dodson was quoted on camera by local reporters back in July after confronting a potential rapist who broke into the home he shared with his sister in Lincoln Park projects. The rapist had attempted to assault his sister, but Dodson managed to scare the attacker away.

His on-camera response went viral, became the stuff of endless ridicule, and eventually earned Dodson infamy and wealth after a remix of his comments by The Gregory Brothers sold over 100,000 copies on iTunes. Dodson is openly homosexual and has recently told the press that he himself has been a victim of rape in the past. He performed ' The Bed Intruder' song at the BET Awards last week.

Picking this episode apart is a headfuck. Watching Dodson parody himself to applause that borders on mockery is a headfuck. The fact that he's poor, black and camp seems to be the core punchline. Maybe it's because he's all those things and daring to challenge the preserve of man-as-defender-of-women-and-hearth heteros. A crime, in which his home was violated and his sister victimized, has turned an impoverished ghetto resident into a celebrity and spurned a lucrative comedy-pop song. Is Dodson astute for using invasive, derogatory media as a tool for economic leverage? The money from 'The Bed Intruder' song, merchandise, and a donation fund that he set up himself have made it possible for his family to move to a 'safer' neighbourhood, but Dodson remains an uncomfortable media entity, part hero part clown. I just can't see where the funny is at.

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