The sexual assault song: Only in America
August finally redeemed itself from shark-jumping hysteria with an original, spontaneous, transcendent event -- the accidental intersection of one Antoine Dodson, his sister, her would-be rapist and some musical magicians who tapped into that uniquely American reservoir of salvation -- irreverence.
Voilà, we have a new American idol, a fresh icon to distract us from the drudgery of madness and remind us that humor is the best weapon against anger or angst.
For those who live in the alternate universe known as Planet Earth, where life is a process of tangible interactions and time is measured by the rotation of planets, the name Antoine Dodson may not ring a bell. A month ago, one might have been forgiven. Few beyond his Huntsville, Ala., housing project knew who he was. But that was then.
Today, he is a phenom -- the kind who can occur only in the world of Internet viruses and social media. A Google search produces more than 7 million links. YouTube offers a universe of newscasts and musical remixes featuring everybody's New Favorite Person Ever.
At least for a while, to know Dodson is to love him.
His stratospheric rise to celebrity began with an unfunny incident, when a man climbed into the bedroom window -- and then the bed -- of Dodson's 22-year-old sister, Kelly, and tried to assault her. When Dodson heard his sister scream, he ran to her room and wrestled her assailant, who managed to escape.
Next came the police, the cameras -- and Dodson's now-famous performance.
Sometimes we don't know quite who we are or what we're made of until forced into action by circumstances. Tsunamis and hurricanes reveal heroes and expose monsters. A would-be rapist and a television crew bring out the beautiful and, yes, hilarious fury of a brother in the throes of his own Howard Beale moment.
Words can't do justice to Dodson's performance. You simply have to watch it. And then you have to watch the remix by the Gregory Brothers, famous for creating musical videos that go viral, especially "auto-tuning" news clips.
Despite the seriousness of the event, it is impossible to keep a straight face as Dodson rails against his sister's assailant, red bandana and passions ablaze. An excerpt will have to do:
"Obviously, we have a rapist in Lincoln Park. He's climbing in your windows, he's snatching your people up, trying to rape them; so y'all need to hide your kids, hide your wife and hide your husband, because they're raping everybody out here. . . . We're looking for you. We gonna find you. I'm letting you know that. So you can run and tell that, homeboy!"
Suffice to say, it's all in the delivery.