1) Just Another Local News Story?
NBC Affiliate WAFF-48News, Huntsville, Alabama (29 July, 2010)
First you are struck by how almost blasé the victim is about her traumatizing experience; her outrage is the weariest kind. But then it’s her infuriated brother who turns from the reporter to the camera, and in the most ardent, unguarded, singsong manner imaginable, insults the fugitive attacker.
Is he for real? What to make of it?
2) No, Just Another Internet Sensation
A catchy pop song. Step in The Gregory Brothers, those four siblings best known for auto-tuning the news during the 2008 presidential race.
The Gregory Brothers, “Bed Intruder” (30 July, 2010)
Twenty days after its release, “Bed Intruder” was at 89 on the Billboard Top 100 and 25 on the iTunes download chart (Antoine Dodson is receiving 50% of all sales for having written the “lyrics”).
3) Hey I Know, I’ll Do A Cover Of The Parody. Ha Ha!
On YouTube meanwhile, the cover songs proliferate. Hear “Bed Intruder” — instrumental version — via piano, guitar, high school band, or Tsugaru-jamisen:
Mike Penny, “Bed Intruder Arranged for the Tsugaru-shamisen” (31 July, 2010)
4) Funnier, I’ll Do It All Slow and Soulful
You may prefer a straight-up cover version, voice and all, with ukelele, bass guitar, accordian, or drum accompaniment. No? Try this one.
John and Lindsey of VektorMusic, “Bed Intruder Cover” (9 August, 2010)
5) Look! It’s Me Next To That “Rape Video” Guy
Antoine Dodson, the man parodied in the song, achieved minor celebrity in the space of a month. Here he is at Connor’s Steak & Seafood House, a pricey Hunstville restaurant he no doubt had never previously considered frequenting.
antoinedodson24, “With the Valley Planet At Connors” (2010)
Antoine rolled with it, perfectly willing to pose and sign autographs for “fans.” You’d think he’d been to some kind of celebrity training school. Or is being ready for instant fame just part of growing up in America? He quickly had his own website, Twitter feed and Facebook page where you could buy t-shirts with the words “Hide Yo’ Kids, Hide Yo’ Wife” or “You Don’t Have To Come and Confess. We’re Looking For You!” screen-printed across the front.
He also did a local radio commercial: “If you don’t call 1st Family Mortgage, you are so dumb, really really dumb. For real!”
6) “Cool, Uh… Well, That’s Cool… “
“How’s your sister feeling? Is rape common in the projects?” A few remember to pay lip service. Antoine reassures: “Our family, we don’t run around crying and acting sad, know what I’m sayin’, we just dust our shoulders off and keep going.”
By all appearances this was true. Here’s Antoine, as candid as can be, at the local NPR radio studio.
antoinedodson24, “NPR Radio Interview Part 2” (2010)
What is it that causes this radio host to struggle so painfully to form his questions? The fact that Antoine Dodson didn’t “do anything” to earn this interview, apart from embody himself for a few moments in front of a camera? (Antoine is the first person to acknowledge this). Or is it the tricky mix of race, sex and especially class politics at play in the whole Antoine Dodson story?
Maybe this is what the radio host means to say? “…This type of, you know, immediate attention (15 minutes of fame)… It’s pretty rare, like (especially for someone like you)… Have you prepared yourself to just kind of like, take this as a stepping stone to somewhere (employment, out of the projects)… or… are you going to try for something bigger (an unrealistic pipe-dream like writing sitcoms and plays).”
7) Seriously. What Does This Mean?
In Part One of that NPR interview, Antoine says: “I went to bed a nobody. I woke up again the next day and bam! Antoine Dodson. Everybody knows him.” The same thing happened to another “nobody” in the summer of 2010.
Hungrybear9562, “Yosemitebear Mountain Giant Double Rainbow 1-8-10”
This video had been up for months when Late Night TV Host Jimmy Kimmel posted it on his Twitter page (@jimmykimmel): “My friend has declared this the ‘funniest video in the world’ — he might well be right.” Overnight, the guy who made the video — Paul “Bear” Vasquez — became “The Double Rainbow Guy.”
8) One Performance to Another
Countless spin-offs of course, including a decent song once again by the Gregory Brothers. Here’s one of the more original remakes of Bear’s rainbow moment.
ceciley, “Actress Does Double Rainbow As Monologue” (15 July, 2010)
9) Not A Waterfall, A Rainbow
After “Double Rainbow” went viral, Bear Vasquez continued to post videos, but a new self-consciousness snuck in, at least when it came to rainbows.
Hungrybear9562, “Double Rainbow Vernal Falls 7-2010” (July 9, 2010)
10) And All I Got Was This Stupid Wig
In fact, Bear Vasquez appeared to have contradictory feelings about his sudden notoriety. In many of his videos and on his blog, he depicted himself as a “vessel of the Universe” with no need of money or attention and whose humble existence in Yosemite park as a dog breeder was sufficient cause for contentment. At the time, he said he would not place ads on his YouTube channel because it would “degrade” and “disrespect” a “sacred thing” (he’s kept true to his word), and his over-the-top Nature love rings true. And yet he expressed colossal gratitude at having been plucked out, invoking Jimmy K in beseeching tones as provider of astonishing riches, as a “genius,” even sometimes as an all-comprehending divinity.
Hungry Bear travelled to LA in late July, 2010 for an inevitable appearance on Jimmy’s show. The interview is quite charming. Did he have one of those after-the-big-show moments in front of the dressing room mirror, the time-honored moment of truth? You’re playing the clown, you’re failing yourself, you’re straying from the path…
No, he didn’t. He avoids it, fills his head with spiritual platitudes, fixes himself in a tunnel of mirrors.
Hungrybear9562, “Coming Down From Jimmy Kimmel” (July 22, 2010)
*Paul Vasquez died on May 9, 2020, in Mariposa County, California, after contracting COVID-19. He was 57.