Bert is Evil Unexpected Convergences

Most of you will probably remember Bert from Sesame Street. bertIn 2001 Bert went on an adventure after a young American teenager ,Dino Ignacio, had created his own site titled “Bert is Evil”. The idea of the site was simple Dino, using Photoshop, placed Bert in a series of compromising positions with well know people in the public realm.

The site was merely an amussing project that the young lad engaged in to show his own small network of friends.

He didn’t realise that this was about to change as world events took over and his site and what he had done became front page news and headlines on CNN.

Some of the Bert is evil images can be seen below:

bertmjbert-oj3sadam-press

The image that began the storm was the one below. You may have guessed why it might have caused a storm.

osama_bert

In the wake of September the 11th and the destruction of the World trade towers in Bangladesh an anti American protest was scheduled to take place. A publisher in Bangladesh was busy preparing images for protest posters. He scanned the web for images to composit together posters. One of Dino’s images from the evil bert site found itself composited into one of these protest posters.

bertosama1

It was printed on thousands of posters and CNN recorded the odd sight of an angry group of protestors marching with the poster that included Osama and Bert together. Representatives from the Childrens Television Workshop saw the CNN footage and threatened to take legal action.

Coming full circle amused fans produced a number of sites showing Bert with other terrorists. News crews began to camp outside of Dino’s house he quickly took the site down as things became more frantic and serious.

Whats going on here in terms of convergence. Jenkins says this instance illustrates the concerns of his book Convergence Culture and the exploration of three concepts media convergence, participatory culture, and collective intelligence.

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