Tuesday, June 10, 2008
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.