The Smartest Things Written About Antoine Dodson

11/10/2010 07:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

By now, you've likely heard the story of Antoine Dodson, the 24-year-old Alabama hairdresser who was interviewed this summer on a local news report after someone tried to rape his sister. Not a story you'd expect to lead to an internet meme. But after the Gregory Brothers auto-tuned Dodson's interview, the "Bed Intruder" song took off on iTunes, making an internet sensation. The Gregorys agreed to share half the profits with Dodson, earning him a new house and a new life with new possibilities. A reality TV is rumored now. As Dodson's fame and profile have risen, however, some commentators have stopped to consider the message that Dodson's story sends. Is Antoine Dodson so lovable after all?

Blacks don't come across well: Popular videos like this one "have no real wit or social value" and depict black people poorly, argues Cord Jefferson in The American Prospect. How can 15 million people "laugh at a black man angry because his sister was nearly raped"? But that's just the culture nowadays, to view and enjoy videos like this one. "The Antoine Dodson video isn't just insidious because we're laughing at a low-income black man's frustrations. It's insidious because the Internet allows us to ignore why we're laughing."

Spare me - it's all in good fun: No matter how you view it, "Dodson did display courage when he saved his sister from rape," argued Kathleen Parker in an August 29 Washington Post editorial. It's a happy ending, after all, since "Dodson and his family weren't enjoying much luck when some idiot climbed through that window." So let's just call this a "high-tech fairy tale" where the song just "made us all laugh" and leave it at that.

Dodson saw the opportunity and ran with it On top of it all, Dodson is now selling a Sex Offender Tracker app, said Mary Elizabeth Williams on October 25 on Salon, that shows just how tight he's "clinging" to his 15 minutes. "Why shouldn't the aspiring hairdresser milk his moment in the sun?" Look, there is a certain "power of vanquishing fear by making mockery of the enemy" to take into account here, which is a form of "justice" for his sister. However, there's still a "degree of moral compromise that comes from gleefully singing about your sister's near rape at the BET awards."