It’s not that the story hasn’t had a somewhat happy conclusion for Dodson: Because he got a generous cut of the Auto-Tune The News track, which in turn became the first Internet meme to hit the Billboard singles chart, he’s earned enough money to move his family out of the projects and into a new house. And no one’s arguing that what he said wasn’t funny. It takes a lot of courage to subvert the expected anguished-victim response, to actually confront and explode viewers’ just-another-crime-in-the-projects apathy. But we agree with Baratunde Thurston, who told NPR,As the remix took off, I became increasingly uncomfortable with its separation from the underlying situation.
A woman was sexually assaulted and her brother was rightfully upset. People online seemed to be laughing at him and not with him (because he wasn’t laughing), as Dodson fulfilled multiple stereotypes in one short news segment. Watching the wider Web jump on this meme, all but forgetting why Dodson was upset, seemed like a form of class tourism.’
... As the Bed Intruder meme lingers, we could at least keep in mind what Dodson himself has to say about it: “I want people to realize that this is funny. It is funny I’m not going to lie, ’cause we’re laughing too. But this is a serious matter… I really thought that when I went into Kelly’s room, he was choking her life out of her. I was terrified. … It was so crazy. But God allowed me to save her and that’s what I did.”
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.