The Gregory Brothers/Auto-Tune the News Back in the News, As Avatars of the Internet, or Something


Maybe you didn’t make it to the second page of this Times piece, in which out of nowhere the Gregory Brothers–i.e., the dudes from Auto-Tune the News–show up to make a point about New York becoming the internet, and also dying, or killing creatives, or something? No longer, seems the gist, will your big break come from someone as lowly or downtrodden as a newspaper editor or actual human being. Online, writes the Times, “when creative affirmation finally arrives, it takes a very different form than it has in New York. In the offline world, getting a “big break” is a matter of impressing a subjective intelligence…On the Internet, however, it’s not one single subjectivity but a popular hive-mind that decides.” To wit, you’re gonna have to give up on your serious soul band, man:

    The Gregory Brothers, transplants to Brooklyn from Radford, Va., are a serious soul band, but ever since the sudden success, this spring, of their deliriously funny YouTube series “Auto-Tune the News” (which turns news footage of politicians and pundits into pop jams), they’ve been devoting ever more time to keeping their hundreds of thousands of online fans entertained. Talk to anyone who makes culture online and you’ll often hear a similar story — of the first Web site that took off, or the video or the new meme successfully disseminated.

Point being, maybe, that you can no longer decide what you get famous for? Or maybe just: “Every month more YouTube sensations emerge, more bloggers ink big book deals, more bands blow up through music Web sites and MySpace, and every day more young people seek their “big break” in the virtual megalopolis rather than in (or as well as in) the physical one.” The physical one here being New York, or not New York, as the case may be.

This could have been useful news to Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur, who either did or did not work at Urban Outfitters just to live in Bushwick for a year, and whose story about his eventual success in this week’s New York magazine is also of course a story about how he was saved from going back home, to North Carolina. Which would’ve been OK, in this new internet order! And there are probably no treacherous reporters back there, at home, just the soft sweet smooth sounds of the internet as it washes over you, and makes you famous.

Bright Lights, Big Internet [NY Times]