Tuesday 5 April 2011

The highs and lows of going viral

Here's the story and it's a good one. Alexandra Wallace, a student at UCLA, decided to video record herself going off on a bit of a rant against those who seemed to be bothering her while she was studying in the library. Unfortunately, her rant was specifically directed against Asians on campus who for whatever reason, struck Ms. Wallace as being 100% responsible for her annoyance. She claimed that the bunch of them were talking too loudly on their cell phones disrupting other people. Her diatribe turned out to be racist, condescending, and quite mean spirited. It's the sort of thing that Mel Gibson might say if he was drunk except Ms. Wallace looks totally sober in her video.

Although Ms. Wallace took her video down shortly after posting it, it was too late. It had already gone viral having been viewed over a million times and it sparked a strong reaction at UCLA, where at least 37 percent of the school's 26,000 undergraduates are Asian, 32 percent are white, 16 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are black. The following is one of many copies posted by others on the Net.

So we know that I am not the most politically correct person so don't take this offensively.
The problem is these hords of Asian people UCLA accepts into our school every single year.
If you're going to come to UCLA, use American manners.
In America we do not talk on our cell phones in the library.
Just when I'm about to have an epiphany... [she holds her cellphone up to her ear and mimicks somebody talking on it but attempts to speak in some pseudo-oriental accent] Oh, ching chong ling long ting tong!

The chancellor of the university responded by saying he was disappointed by the video and added how he was proud of the diversity found on campus believing it enriched the experience for everyone involved. However, UCLA took no formal action against Ms. Wallace saying that video did not violate any student code of conduct and that the university does not punish free speech.

The United States is proud of its policy of free speech which may at times seem a little strange in other parts of the world. Recently the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Westboro Baptist Church allowing this group to continue its dubious practice of picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed overseas with outrageous signs like "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for dead soldiers". FYI: Mr. Fred Phelps, the minister, believes America's acceptance of homosexuality is the cause for all her ills. (see my blog God Hates Fags)

Ms. Wallace's rant garnered a lot of attention, some of it disgusted, some of it outraged, and some of it quite funny. Whatever the case, the response has not been mild. In fact, Wallace has left UCLA. She wrote a letter to the Daily Bruin campus newspaper to explain:

In an attempt to produce a humorous YouTube video, I have offended the UCLA community and the entire Asian culture. I am truly sorry for the hurtful words I said and the pain it caused to anyone who watched the video. Especially in the wake of the ongoing disaster in Japan, I would do anything to take back my insensitive words. I could write apology letters all day and night, but I know they wouldn’t erase the video from your memory, nor would they act to reverse my inappropriate action.

I made a mistake. My mistake, however, has lead to the harassment of my family, the publishing of my personal information, death threats, and being ostracized from an entire community. Accordingly, for personal safety reasons, I have chosen to no longer attend classes at UCLA.

Jimmy Wong, an actor and musician living in Los Angeles, wrote, directed , and starred in his own musical riposte. Jimmy Wong is quite funny and obviously quite talented. - Note: The YouTube currently shows just under three millions viewings! This guy is going to be noticed!

Final Word
It's one thing to say something to one or two friends in private over a drink; it's another thing to record it then post it on Youtube where it can possibly be viewed by the entire world. Heck, it just may very well be viewed by the entire world. UCLA has 26,000 students and the video was apparently viewed over a million times? I imagine that just about every student must have seen that video... twice!

Ms. Wallace gets over one million views. Mr. Wong is soon to reach three million views. Ms. Wallace has pulled out of UCLA and heads off to the safety of obscurity. Mr. Wong, however, has a rising star and I am confident the world will hear more of him. Going viral: a low and a high. The dangers of recording for posterity when you're a posterior.


UCLA: The Daily Bruin - Mar 18/2011
Alexandra Wallace apologizes, announces she will no longer attend UCLA By Kate Parkinson-Morgan

VOA - Mar 27/2011
Internet Rant Causes Uproar at US University by Ira Mellman

LA Observed - Mar 25/2011
Jimmy Wong as Internet savior by Kevin Roderick
Here's what Wong says about himself: I'm a 24 year old artist living in LA. I grew up in Seattle and attended Middlebury College in Vermont, majoring in Theatre & Drama. Throughout my life I have always been involved in the arts. I spent 8 years studying classical piano as a child, and this evolved into my current involvement in theatre, acting, graphic design, and photography. I now live in Los Angeles as a self-employed actor and musician. I upload music videos bi-weekly to my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/jimmy. Additionally, my brother Freddie Wong and I are a cofounders of Overcrank Media, a Los Angeles based media production company specializing in feature film and online video content.

YouTube channel: Jimmy Wong
[This guy is really, really good. You must check out his other videos. The music is great, the editing is fantastic, and the camera work is interesting. This guy is just an amateur? Looks pretty professional to me. I predict Jimmy Wong is going places!]

DavidSoComedy - Mar 14/2011
Vlog #4: Asians in the Library - UCLA Girl (Alexandra Wallace) going wild on Asians
[Quite amusing. Although he's an amateur, this guy is professional.]

YouTube channel: DavidSoComedy


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

wow. people really need to learn what racism means ... it doesn't nullify when you say, "I'm not racist, but ..."