Written by S. Bowyer


     For years, comedy has sought to express and analyse opinions of events in our society. Certain comedians have niche subjects they stick to, while others have particular ways in exploring their subject. With the internet rampant with new celebrities, new mediums, and new ideas, it's no wonder the comedic branch has stretched further. 

     In the recent string of new-age expression is the art of auto-tuning. Individuals are taking news footage, blogs, or even interviews and turning a spoken-word video into a song, by remixing the content then putting it through a program to transform the speech into a singing voice. One such crafter, Schmoyoho on Youtube, has found millions of views forming songs from the likes of eHarmony profile videos, Charlie Sheen footage, a hamburger discussion, and news reports that didn't go to plan. Regularly there are new songs added, and the tracks sold on iTunes

     However, one video recently left a bad taste in many fan's mouths, due to the individual it contained. Featuring Zach Anner, 31, who was first introduced to American audiences during a win your own TV show competition Oprah Winfrey hosted. While Zach became runner-up, his quirky videos about his life with cerebral palsy became popular worldwide. It was only when one of Anner's Workout Wednesday videos were "songified' or auto-tuned, that controversy began. 

     Here we see the original video, where Anner wanted to speak about milestones and how they affect us, to celebrate his making over 100 videos.  



     Following is the auto-tuned version of the video, where specific phrases and sections of the video are looped and rearranged to construct song lyrics.




     Viewer comments soon included hissing at Schmoyoho, viewers stating the video was insensitive and making fun of someone with a disability. 

"Mean s***. Disrespectful crap. >My opinion. Bye.?" -- Balssou

"I feel guilty at laughing at this?" -- Michael Gray

"This shmoyoho guy is mean cause look he is basically making fun of a disabled person and thats not right?" -- Jacob diPonio

"Wow he has cerebral palsy why did they do this??" -- Happi Vummel

"This was pretty mean of you guys for doing this, insulting this man. This was probably the lo lo lo lo lowest point in your careers?" -- Just Quinn

"I feel bad laughing...i can't watch this. Should i feel bad laughing at this??" -- Elite Boom

"bruh thats mean why would you make fun of a crippled person. people are f*****g a******s these days. all your other parodies are funny and cool but this one is a really a*****e move. come on man this is not funny or cool ?" -- Derrick Mercer

"Shmoyoho, you are f******d that guy isn't ok and you are makeing fun out of him :/ (not) Sorry but you are and idiot !?" -- Adrian Velev



      Other viewers came to the defence of Schmoyoho, stating they hadn't found it insulting in the least. 

"No one is laughing at Zach. Zach has cerebral palsy, which he thinks is the sexiest of the palsys. Everyone loves Zach Anner. I even DVR'd his show when it was on the Oprah Network.?" -- Adamx20

"All you folks who are getting uppity about laughing at a disabled person remind me of the politically correct people who were afraid to speak to me as a child when I was in a wheelchair. Often I'd just play the part of the typical mentally disabled person you assumed I was, responding with a vacant expression at your adorable attempts to speak slowly at me, saying how 'special' I was etc.- then as you'd leave I'd turn and wish you a 'pleasant afternoon' and thank you for the 'delightful conversation', just basking in the awkward realisation I left in my wake.?" -- Capi Swift

"He seems happy so I dont feel bad. If he's happy. Im happy :D Plus.. This remix was sooo awesooooommmme!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?" -- Ederd Stark


      Interestingly, the video does not make reference to cerebral palsy, disabilities or any type of minority group. Zach Anner himself is not even referenced personally. The video speaks about milestones being different among different people, what items are required for workout, and some referencing famous films, along with comments about Lindsay Lohan. Many disabled people saw this video and were not offended, and claimed so in discussions connected to the video. However, it still caused great uproar, viewers taking sides and attacking people on the opposing side.

     Two viewers became even more passionate about the subject at hand:

"How dare you make something funny with a disabled person?! You MONSTER! Even though the disabled person himself gave his consent and participated in the making of the video.  Even if with his dissability, he still want to make jokes and contribute to something funny. Even if he just wants to be treated like anybody else, not like some fragile thing to be pitied on.

DISABLED POEPLE SHOULD NEVER HAVE ANY SENSE OF HUMOR NOR BE INVOLVED IN ANYTHING FUNNY EVER. Their lives should be drama, depression, and self pity 24/7!?" Le Kanraposte said sarcastically.


"It'd be discrimination to avoid doing something like this because of the fact they are in a wheelchair?" -- Rohan S.A.


     Their comments were of merit. What exactly was it about the video that was offending people? And even if it was making fun of Anner, wouldn't excluding him in their comedy mean discrimination? Granted, it would be considered hurtful to make fun of his actual disability, but if he were to do something silly and that was mocked, would it be treated the same way as someone doing the same thing as a healthy person? 

     After the rants, Zach Anner spoke out, claiming he was aware of the video made and publicly endorsed his support of the project.

      "I endorse  this track 1,000%!" Anner stated. "I've been a fan of the Gregory for years so this is one of the coolest things that has ever happened in the history of mankind! Period."       "People sometimes have the misconception that if something simply involves a person with a disability, that it MUST be making fun of people with disabilities. That's just backwards and dismissive. What we actually have here is a ridiculous but positive message transformed into one of the sickest dance anthems to ever blow out your Macbook Air speakers." 


     "Turn down the drama. Pump up the jam," Anner finished.

     In contrast, I direct you to another video, which was made about an attractive blonde girl who had spoken about a debate of if dogs had brains, as they couldn't talk human speech. Her video documents the discussion on Twitter that took place: 



     Another user decided to songify her video, calling it Do Dogs Have Brains?  They did similar editing as was used in the Anner video. 



     The video still contains looping, autotuning, editing of lyrics to make it fluent, and yet the comments took a different direction. The comments received no defence, retorts or backlashings. Neither did any of the people commenting. Surprisingly, most of the comments were agreed with, encouraged or responded to with "lol".

"D-does she has brain, i think no so! I think she's cray cray! :D" -- Jessy26

"She traded brains for boobs?" -- Battleshaft722

"Only one without a Brain here is this Blonde Bimbo with Boobs as Big as Buses, sitting her Behind in her Befouled Bedroom Babbling about whether dogs have Brains." -- Ludovic Lacassagne II

"Can't believe you made something good out of her cancerous video XD." -- Coyote W.

"Every living consumer on earth has a brain so every animal has a brain. If the dog or any other living consumer didn't have a brain, you would not be holding a cute LIVING puppie you would just be holding a fabric material for new boots with guts... So why did she even ask that I mean seriously that's like asking if a light bulb can light up.... sorry to be harsh but....." K Steuben

"I just realized , if someone was mute , would she ask if they had brains ? XD" -- KitPlaysRoblox

"This girl should have spent more money on an education then on those breast implants." -- Jordan Nelson

"Her makeup has more brains." -- Alix Human


     What can be understood from this, is the Internet society of Youtube believe it's okay to make fun of a busty blonde women for her confusion, but not to feature a man in a wheelchair and help promote his cause. Is this reverse discrimination, where the "perfectly looking" people are now the attacked and the disabled person protected? Additionally, for viewers who called her stupid, why did they not defend her for being of limited knowledge rather than physical limitations? Is it socially acceptable to make fun of someone with intellectual limits (be it lack of education, or mental disability), but not okay to acknowledge someone's physical disability through their appearance?

     Zach Anner continues to enjoy his online fame, supported by celebrities, Internet communities, and people he inspires. His Youtube account has over 100,000 subscribes, and 7 million views. 

     Schmoyoho AKA The Gregory Brothers continue to make their autotune videos, the group working together in their musical creations. At the 83rd Annual Academy Awards they even created auto-tuned segments of the 4 major motion films of 2010. In 2011, they were nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Short-Form Picture Editing for their efforts. 


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