Making Rape Funny?

Hi Digital Diary Followers

YouTube today seems to be one of the largest, host facilitators of the remix culture.

A famous example of the remix culture, which comes to mind, is the YouTube series Auto-Tune The News by the Gregory Brothers. The musical group take popular footage of news stories, anchors and politicians and digitally manipulates the voices to make the figures appear to sing (Claire Suddath, 2009). The group is responsible for the popular viral remix the Bed Intruder Song which is a remix of footage shown on WAFF 48 News of angry citizen Antoine Dodson, who was giving his opinion about the attempted rape of his younger sister in their Alabama home.

The video is an example of detournement, which is described by Andrew Whelan as a change in direction or derailment and can be used in a way to subvert or undermine meaning. The remix is used in a way to satirise and re-contextualise the serious tone of the news.

The rise of this video however was accompanied with discussion about the appropriateness of taking Dodson’s original TV news interview and reinterpreting it into a song. The Gregory Brothers were highly criticized by many blogs and articles because it overlooked the serious issue of the attempted rape. It raised questions about the remix culture being used in a way that was exploitive (Larry Kless, 2010).

However Michael Gregory, one of the members of the group stated, “I think people who think it’s exploitative are filtering it through their own perceptions. What Antoine did was send a message of strength and anger, and we translated it into a song” (Larry Kless, 2010)

The remix culture can raise the “how far it too far” question. However Kenyetta Cheese sums up the argument quite clearly when she states “They made it more participatory, which increases the value of the original work. They embraced the remix culture and understood they have to contribute back in order to make it spread even further.” This can be seen in the countless remixes of The Bed Intruder Song and the release of an App for the iPhone and Android known as Songify This. It shows that the project is now never ending and continually collaboration of a number of participants.


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