Daaaaaaamn Daniel: #Exposed

Guilty Pleasures | Madison Yerke | February 24, 2016

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It was another Saturday night. Here’s the scene: me, crepeaway and a dorm room full of reckless college students. I was just sitting there trying to devour that delicious piece of artwork when my friend pulls me towards her to watch something on her phone. She was simply drawn to the screen like a moth to light. I, expecting to hear a “BYE FELECIA” from the speakers, was surprised because I heard no such words. No, I heard, “back at it again…”

Is this guy real or is this a joke? Why does his voice sound like that? Who is this Daniel and why is he damned? I leaned towards the screen to see what havoc was being caused by the guy with these white Vans only to be shocked to discover that nothing interesting was happening in the video. What is so special about those white Vans? What is it about Daniel that was like damn? But, most importantly, I asked myself this question: why am I laughing at this?

As I tried to fall asleep, the image of Damn Daniel’s Vans consumed my mind. The humming of “daaaaamn Daniel” droned on and on as I was swept into REM sleep. When I awoke, I realized something tragic: Damn Daniel had taken over my life.

There I was, a college freshman, fawning over a 14 year old boy, a child if you will, a high school freshman, all because his friend is (sort of) funny and Daniel is hot. He’s not Alex from Target. He’s not the “WHAT ARE THOSE???” Vine.

He’s Daniel Lara and he’s back at it again in this crazy Internet meme.

Naturally, I investigated. I requested to follow him on Insta, added him as a Snapchat friend, and “liked” him on Facebook.

Daniel Lara: Riverside (California) High School, member of the swim team. I tried reaching out to him through Snapchat (DanLaraa14) and his private Instagram (under the same name). For an Internet sensation, the boy sure does value his damn privacy. I’d come close to even saying Daniel is a cultural icon. Vans are selling off the roof. Goodbye white Adidas Superstars, hello to Damn Daniel’s spring fashion line. His white Vans are currently on eBay for over $400,000 with more than 84 bids. Honestly, I don’t care if those are or aren’t his real vans, this boy has some serious style and some serious power.

I’ve come up with one conclusion as to why Daniel’s video has gotten so big: it doesn’t go viral unless it doesn’t make sense.

Lemme break this down for you:

We have no context before watching the video. None. We don’t know who Daniel is. We don’t know the story behind his Vans. We don’t know if the guy behind the camera actually speaks like that or is morphing his voice. All we know is that we don’t understand the intended humor behind it, yet we laugh and parody it anyway. Anyone can create or do something this stupid and meaningless, but if the right person finds it and calls it funny, the whole world will follow. (Those people are Tumblr.)

To go viral, it’s all about the meme and presenting the world with something never experienced before. It’s insane that it takes some sort of  genius to play it out to be successful, comedic gold. Based on the already set up YouTube account and business inquires email account that Josh, who filmed the video, has, it looks like they’ve been planting seeds thirsty for Internet for this meme all along. Add that to Daniel’s official Facebook page where he’s cited as an “artist.” (Really?)

“I’m the kid from the video Damn Daniel. The Voice of the Video is my friend Josh,” the about section says. Well, at least he gave credit where credit is due. If anything, Josh is the real star of this all. The real mastermind behind this well orchestrated piece of comedic genius. But seriously Daniel, you jumped on this chance faster than Alex from Target quitting his job at Target. I don’t know how Daniel could consider himself more of an artist, though, than the guy who made the actual SoundCloud remix of it.

I hereby declare Damn Daniel #exposed.