Auto-Tune the News – The Gregory Brothers

From a cultural perspective, though, this whole story again shows how culture is changing in very interesting and powerful ways. When we talk about things like “remixing” and “mashups,” we tend to hear from a chorus of folks who brush off such things as mere copying and not worthy of being considered art in itself. But there’s a lot more to it than that. What makes culture culture is the shared experiences around that work. This song is not only musically interesting, but also calls attention to a horrible incident that happened as well. And, again, some will brush it off as being meaningless, but the power with which it has interested so many people is not something that should be ignored.

Autotune The News Becomes A Billboard Hit, by Mike Masnick, Techdirt, August 20, 2010

In a report on Mr. Dodson’s sudden Internet fame, the Huntsville television station that first put him before the public reported that some African-American viewers had called to complain that “interviews with people like Antoine reflects poorly on the community.” Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post wrote that he understood that reaction, since “Dodson’s cringe-inducing performance was something I — and whole bunch of other folks — thought only existed in the comedic minds of Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry.” But, Mr. Capehart argued, after reflection it seemed unfair to criticize Mr. Dodson for his spontaneous outburst or flamboyant manner:

    [W]e must put aside our judgments and remember that we don’t know Dodson, his family or their story. Like millions of families across this country, the Dodsons appear to be proud people who are making their way the best they can. They crave security and comfort. And no matter where you live, when that sense of safety is shattered, you lash out. Fo’ real.

‘Bed Intruder’ Rant Earns Family a New Home, by Robert Mackey, The Lede, August 19, 2010

Someone sent me a Tweet asking a good question: Have Huntsville, Ala., authorities found “the idiot in the projects” who climbed through a window and into bed with Antoine Dodson’s sister and tried to rape her? I didn’t know the answer, so I did some hunting around. Turns out, no, the perp who inspired the bed intruder song is still at large.

But 24-year-old Dodson, who has had more costume changes than Diana Ross at Super Bowl XXX has proven to be very wise. He hired a lawyer. And now he’s made a deal with iTunes and his Web site is promoting Antoine Dodson merch, with his “trademarked catch phrases,” such as “hide yo kids, hide yo wife.” He also hasn’t been shy about asking for donations. As a result, Dodson announced in an interview, “It was enough [money] to move my family from the projects.” I love good stories like this.

The smarts and strength of Antoine Dodson, by Jonathan Capehart, The Washington, Post, August 19, 2010

Even if you don’t spend a lot of time online, you’ve probably heard “Bed Intruder,” the similar “Double Rainbow” song, or the “Auto-Tune the News” series at some point over the past year. As you may know, the Gregory Brothers created all of them with the help of a large cast of “unintentional singers” including crime victim Antoine Dodson, featured above.

But you may not know that one of the Gregory Brothers is a woman — and you almost certainly didn’t know that the four-person crew is working on a pilot for Comedy Central, as they told in an exclusive interview.

It’s no exaggeration to claim The Gregory Brothers have invented a completely new art form that is perfectly suited to our meme-crazed times, and — most difficult to replicate — is incredibly well made. Their skills are obvious and their ears perceptive, as evidenced by the way in which they mimic pop music tropes to perfection. And they’re popping up everywhere these days; they even made the soundtrack for the parody Twitter movie trailer.

Gregory Brothers of ‘Bed Intruder’ Fame Discuss TV Pilot, Antoine Dodson, by Eliot Van Buskirk, Epicenter, Wired blog, August 13, 2010

Our favorite Auto-Tune the News video is still #2 with “very thin ice”.


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