“Damn, Daniel” star: Neither A Hero Nor A Villain

Damn, internet. Back at it again with the viral memes.

High school freshman Daniel Lara joined the ranks of #AlexFromTarget, Rebecca Black, and #TheDress a few weeks ago when a video of him, made by his friend, sophomore Joshua Holz, went viral.

The premise is simple: Holz repeats the phrase “Damn, Daniel” in a series of Snapchat videos of Lara. When Lara is wearing the appropriate footwear, Holz also throws in “back at it again with the white Vans!”

It’s kind of funny, pretty dumb and, whether you like it or not, it recently captured the attention of the entire internet-using world.

For a video so simple that anyone could have made it, it became extremely popular. Everyone from Jimmy Fallon to the Dallas Cowboys have made references to it lately, and Lara and Holz even went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show recently do discuss their new-found fame.

For all the positive press they’ve gotten, there have been just as many— if not more— negative reactions. The “Damn, Daniel” video certainly isn’t something that has gone viral to help people, which some are upset about.


Others criticize Lara’s rise to fame because so many other viral internet stars, like the creator of the phrase “on fleek” or the “why you always lying” guy, were influential like Lara but were never given the same media attention.

They’re right. “Damn, Daniel” isn’t changing the world in any meaningful way, and it isn’t even the best viral meme we’ve seen recently. It won’t spark change and we aren’t particularly better off now that it exists. There are so many other things worthy of the attention. What good is it to the world to invite two teenagers on Ellen’s show if they are just going to list the number of marriage proposals they’ve gotten in the past week?

That wasn’t the point of the video, though. Lara and Holz didn’t set out to make a viral meme to ignite a social movement. They did it to share a goofy moment between friends.

Lara and Holz don’t really deserve all this fame, but they also don’t deserve the hate. Sure, their rise to fame happened for a dumb reason, but it also happened for an innocent one. You probably weren’t moved to ignite change after watching the video, but it probably made you smile.

Bottom line? Lara is a 14-year-old kid who made a couple goofy videos with his friend. That doesn’t make him a hero, nor does it make him a villain. It just makes him yet another person getting his 15 minutes of fame from a viral internet post.

And at least this meme didn’t cause the whole world to panic the way #TheDress did.

Courtesy: Hannah Yasharoff