What Grinds My Gears: Damn Daniel

What Grinds My Gearss (Use)By Annie Nguyen

As the generation overtaken by social media, it’s no wonder that a new trend, a new meme, or a new video goes “viral” at least once a week. But these idiotic viral fads that arise and infiltrate every part of otherwise normal days are what make me wish I weren’t so tuned in to social media.  

Most recently, “Damn, Daniel!” has taken over all platforms of the media. The 30-second video, compiled from a series of Snapchat stories features a typical high school boy, Daniel Lara in a number of, might I dare describe, basic outfits.

His friend, Joshua Holz behind the camera comments, “Daaaaaamn, Daniel!” with a full body capture of each new outfit. Josh occasionally repeats, “Back at it again with those white Vans!”

The mention of the Vans could be considered the climax of the video, but if that’s all that really happens, then why did I waste 30 seconds — and the rest of the week — hearing about it?

What is it with our generation that stupidity becomes humorous? The normalcy of this video creates an inexplicable laughter and mocking among social media users.

The nonsensical nature of the video is to blame for its infectious spread. The questionable “comedy” of Daniel and Josh is what captivates their 45 million viewers. There is no punchline to the joke.

Yet the simple and outright pointless video has become immensely popular, much to my annoyance.

Daniel commented that he went to the mall the weekend after posting the video to see if people would recognize him. Sure enough, he claims 10-15 people took photos of him.

What surprises me is that by acting normally, Daniel expected to instantly become famous. The millennial definition of celebrity has become one who does nothing particularly special but expects to receive endless buzz and praise.

And Daniel fits just that.

The next day, Twitter blew up with a number of marriage proposals to Daniel. Memes of Daniel Radcliffe with the caption “Damn, Daniel!” have spawned; the original Damn Daniel white Vans have been sold $300,000 on eBay; news outlets such as Time Magazine and the Washington Post have reported on the viral video; Vans granted Daniel a lifetime supply of the now-infamous shoes; even Ellen featured the pair of friends on her show.

I mean sure, maybe the first viewing of the video maybe warranted a meek chuckle, but to hear about it nonstop for the following days just gets old. What in the video is so funny that it is deserving of endless days of fame and numerous mentionings in my Twitter feed?

However catchy these otherwise-normal phrases are, there needs to be a point where we stop. The more you mention it, the less funny it gets and the more I realize I was kinda dumb to laugh in the first place.

The instantaneous fame connected with idiocy is not something to celebrate with lifetime supplies of Vans and Ellen surfboards. We need to stop glorifying stupid humor. Social media goers idolize nothing substantial; rather, they immortalize the daily struggles with annoyingly catchy phrases such as “why you always lying” or “what are those.”

I’ll admit that, while funny the first time around, there is no need for me to be hearing about Daniel the subsequent days in conversations around me or on social media. I think that I should be able to move on after its claim to fame, and so should he.


Annie Nguyen is a first-year political sciences major. She can be reached at anniekn1@uci.edu.