Humor is not my strong suit. I’ll be the first to admit it. So, whenever everyone else thinks something is funny, and I don’t, I tend to doubt myself. Watch this video. Tell me what you think.
This is the a cappella choir at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty is the largest evangelical Christian university in the world. It was founded by Jerry Falwell, and has close ties with Thomas Road Baptist Church, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Here’s the gist of the story behind the video. In Huntsville, Alabama, Antoine Dodson spoke to the local news station, WAFF-48, after an intruder broke into his sister’s bedroom window and tried to rape her. He was clearly upset at the time. He himself had fought the intruder after his sister screamed. The intruder escaped, leaving behind a room that showed considerable evidence of the struggle.
Antoine Dodson was angry. He was on high adrenaline. He was authentic and real in expressing his feelings. You can see the video of Antoine's original interview here.
With almost lyrical phrasing, and with plenty of emotion, Antoine says everyone should lock up their kids and wives because there’s a rapist loose in the projects. Then he tells the intruder “you are so dumb” (because they have his t-shirt and fingerprints), and he says “we’re going to find you. . . homeboy.”
The Gregory Brothers put Antoine’s interview to music as the “Bed Intruder Song,” and you can see that music-video here. It uses the original video of Antoine himself, and as I understand it, the Gregory Brothers split the proceeds 50/50 with Antoine.
The “Bed Intruder Song” went viral, and as of yesterday, it had received over 52,000,000 views on YouTube, which listed it as the most popular video of 2010.
Then, a week ago, Liberty University’s choir performed their own Christmas carol version of the “Bed Intruder Song,” and put it up on YouTube. They used Antoine’s own words, except they substituted the word “taking” for “raping.” I guess a Christmas song about “raping” wouldn’t have been festive?
But isn’t that exactly the problem? Raping isn’t festive and raping isn’t funny. Antoine’s own words were authentic and real, but there is nothing authentic about this Liberty University production of his words. It makes an attempted rape and the brother’s reaction into a Christmas comedy, and it does so without any apparent interest in or concern for the context.
But hey . . . that’s just me talking. If you look at the YouTube comments, it’s obvious that a whole heckuva lot of other people think it’s “hilarious” and “awesome.” In one week’s time, Liberty University’s video captured 430,000 views on YouTube and has brought a whole lot of media attention to the school.
University chancellor, Jerry Falwell, Jr., said “the video helps break a stereotype about Christians not being able to show a side of humor.”
“It’s great that the world is able to see that Christian young people can have fun just like everybody else,” he said.
A parody about an attempted rape in the projects is “fun”? This is how Christian young people at a private university show humor?
Well . . . I said from the get-go that humor is not my strong suit. So tell me what you think.
See also: "The humor in attempted rape is (nonexistent)," BaptistPlanet, 12/19/10
Another perspective: "Antoine Dodson's sister: On invisibility as violence," 8/20/10
A tangential 2010 Liberty U story: "Former Liberty University professor sentenced on sex charge," The News-Advance, 3/5/10