Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Star Wars Kid

Welcome to the Dark Side of the meme.

When Ghyslain Raza was just 15, he became world famous – but he probably could have lived without all the attention.

In 2002, Ghyslain took a video of himself clowning around, swinging a golf ball retriever around as if it were a weapon (presumably, a lightsaber). The video tape was forgotten about, until someone stumbled upon it and thought it would be funny to post the video online.

Initially, the video was shared on the Kazaa network (a peer-to-peer file sharing network). The original was then edited to include text, sound effects music and even a lightsaber effect on the golf ball retriever.

Gaming and Star Wars sites began posting the newly edited video, so that it spread quickly. Other people made their own remixes and edits until the Star Wars Kid was relatively famous. Here’s a selection of some of the best star wars videos.

But Ghyslain Raza wasn’t enjoying the attention. He was teased so badly at school, that he dropped out and finished the semester at a children's psychiatric ward.

Now his parents are suing the families of the four classmates who digitized and published the video. Ghyslain's parents say their son was so humiliated that he may be marked for life by the experience.

But not everyone was tormenting the poor kid: an internet petition to get Raza a cameo role in Star Wars Episode III received more than 140,000 "signatures." (However, although George Lucas sympathised with the young man's plight, he was not include in the movie.) And almost $5000 USD was raised to buy Ghyslain an iPod.


Tamara said...

Shew! That's quite hectic. I never really think about the people that are Net-famous as people. I guess I always reckoned they put the videos up themselves and thus have it coming to them.

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head I'd say that these were all confusing to me at one point.

????-profit, barrel roll, desu, sage, reaction guys, how do I shot web?, i see what you did there, a winner is you, I'm in your base killing your dudes, lol wut, bayeax tapestry, candlejack!, /facepalm, you're doing it wrong, BDKBMD, and lurk more.

Kirsten said...

I'll try get to a few of those. 'in your base' is one I quite enjoy, so I'll write on that at some point...