Andy Baio shares his story related to a new documentary on “Ghyslain Raza, the unwilling subject of the “Star Wars Kid” meme, the biggest viral video of the pre-YouTube era.”
Some twenty years ago, Andy posted a re-mix of the video to his blog, and it exploded into one of the earliest memes that I can recall. It is surreal to see the paths of these two people come back together, albeit in a very different way.
It’s an incredible story, but what really got me was Andy’s reflection on his actions decades ago:
I’ve never talked about it publicly, but I regret ever posting it. From the start, it was obvious it was never meant to be seen, and mirroring it on my site without consent was wrong in a way that I couldn’t see when I was in my 20s, one year into blogging. I removed the videos once it was clear how it was affecting him, but I never should have posted them in the first place.
Meeting Ghyslain gave me the opportunity to tell him all of that in person, as well as in my interviews, some of which made it into the finished film.
Looking back on those salad days of blogging, I know there were times I published perspectives and made comments that I would hesitate to post today. I have since learned (the hard way) that if you have to walk around eggshells to get the point across, that’s a sure sign that it’s time to put the laptop down. I’ve also learned (again, the hard way) that when I thought I had made it clear that my writing had a satirical flair, it was not obvious at all.
Andy has always been a source of finding or creating things that have helped define our zeitgeist. As many of his thoughts and actions have been woven into our culture, I love to see his latest act of reflection and reconciliation take hold. I hope it doesn’t take twenty years for the rest of the world to catch up.➵