Florida Baby is a meme in Japan!
Look out for what you post on the internet…We read negative stories about posting personal photos on the internet, but this is one of the few things that at least has a positive note…or that what this Gainesville resident in Florida thinks about his son, becoming a “meme” in Japan.
Allen S. Rout isn’t famous. But as he discovered a few months ago, his son Steven, is big in Japan. Really big.
The Gainesville resident was doing what many of us do, but won’t fess up to. He was doing some ego surfing, you know, ‘Googling’ himself.
As an information technology expert at the University of Florida, Rout wanted to find out how he was being perceived on the internet.
But deep into the Google search results, about 20 or 30 pages in, Rout discovered something shocking. He found out that his kid is an internet meme in Japan! And all because of a photo, that up until recently, Rout had forgotten about.
It was a photo that he posted several years ago on his personal website of his infant son, in a crib. It was a picture that Rout discovered had blossomed into much more.
It had been used in Japanese game shows, surrounded by Japanese cartoon characters with Japanese captions written around it. His son’s head had even been cut and pasted onto Kurt Cobain’s body. Just type ‘Happy Baby’ into Google, and images of his smiling son will pop up everywhere.
Rout also found out that the photo of his son, who is now 10 years-old, had also been used to censor certain explicit images on Japanese television. For whatever reason, baby Steven’s picture was big in Japan.
Most people would be weirded out by the whole thing. But not Rout.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just odd. People are odd and this is an example of that,” Rout told NewsChannel 5.
So when and exactly who started his son’s overseas stardom? This dad says he really has no idea.
“Somebody said ‘hey, that’s a cute picture of a kid’. And it got copied around. I don’t know how many hands it went through before someone said ‘I think ill put some captions around it’.”
As for Steven, Rout said that his son thinks all the hype about the baby photo is,well, ‘cool’.
Rout told NewsChannel 5 that the use of his son’s photo isn’t scary. It’s only interesting. And he doesn’t want anyone to take a message of fear away from it.
“The images used today are much more about the people who are using them then they are about Steven. It’s like a culture mashup sort of thing. People have taken this raw material and done surreal things to it. But it’s not me, it’s not him in there, it’s somebody else’s artistic idea, if I can dignify it as such,” said Rout.
So post a photo of a cute kid online and you could get internet gold. But just know that once it’s out there, there’s really not a whole lot you can do to control how it’s used and who shares it.
By the way, Rout told NewsChannel 5 that he has not profited from any of his son’s fame and doesn’t plan to either.
Think twice before posting that photo…It can become a meme overnight…