What "Damn Daniel" Really Says About Our Society
By: Gabby Frost
I'm sure within the past week you've heard someone say, "Damn Daniel, back at it again with the white vans!" in person or over the internet. You've most likely have also seen the original video where the meme originated from. Whether you find it funny or not, you're constantly reminded of this new meme that will die completely within a few weeks. I know I am, as I constantly hear people in my high school reference it during class or on Twitter and Facebook. About a day or two after "Damn Daniel" became viral, I felt this lingering sense of deja vu. I couldn't put my finger on it until yesterday. "Damn Daniel" is basically "Alex from Target" reborn.
If you don't remember, "Alex from Target" became an overnight sensation back in November 2014, all because someone decided to snap a picture of an average teenage boy working his shift in Target. He gained international attention in less than a week, gained half a million or more Twitter followers, and appeared on The Ellen Show. In both cases, a normal high school boy gained an overwhelming amount of attention for doing nothing seemingly spectacular. Both boys gained some monetary "prize" for this and Alex from Target even joined Digitour (a tour full of social media stars. Honestly won't be surprised if Digitour asks Damn Daniel to join as well).
I understand that people are allowed to think videos, pictures, and memes are funny, but I don't believe it's right that we're giving certain (not all) viral content more attention than actual important issues facing our world. It's not statistically proven but it seems that more American teens cared about how Damn Daniel was after a rumor he got jumped, than they do about politics. Yes, I know there are people out there who are aware of global issues and gave attention to the video. That is possible, but that's not the case for all. I get that politics isn't everyone's passion, but I think that everyone should at most be aware of the different topics the candidates are discussing so they're informed on who to vote for or just to be cognizant of what's going on.
It makes me feel ashamed in our society that someone who is contributing virtually nothing to the growth of our world is gaining more money and attention than people who actually want to make a change. There are so many young people out there who dedicate their lives to a cause, whether it's global peace, world hunger, poverty, the homeless, feminism, physical diseases, or mental health. Why can't someone who is doing something like that receive a $10,000 check from Ellen to go towards their cause?
Our society has become so built on money, it's the only thing anyone seems to care about anymore. We could solve so many problems if we focused our attention on global issues just as much or even more than these silly internet memes that disappear in a matter of days or weeks. Those trends fade away and won't stay around forever, but our world problems will be something to stay if we don't take action to solve them.
Note: I am not bashing the video itself. I am talking about the effects of the video going viral and specific reactions. I actually did find the video funny for the first few days it went big. I understand it's "just a video" but certain people took it too far.