How to Give Birth to an Internet Meme


First things first, you need to have a baby. Take a few pictures of the baby, and post them on your personal website. (Bonus points if he/she is wearing red overalls and smiling in a crib.) Then forget about it for about ten years or so. Do a Google search for yourself one day because you’re curious about your “online reputation.” Discover that your baby, now a 10-year-old kid, has been an Internet meme since 2004. His face has appeared on Japanese television game shows. It has been superimposed on photos of Kurt Cobain and Mount Rushmore. He has even been used to censor images of genitalia in porn.

And then try to have a reaction that’s as nonchalant as Allen Rout’s is in today’s New York Times. As the unwitting father of the aforementioned “Mr. Baby,” he explains: “Everybody says, ‘There’s got to be money in this.’ But gosh, what a vile response. I don’t want to use this as an opportunity to squeeze some money out of somebody for some purpose. It’s an amusement.” And as for Stephen Rout, aka Mr. Baby, he claims to be “surprised and really amazed and really weirded out” by the whole thing.

Don’t they sound so normal and well-adjusted? If only poor Star Wars Kid had had this kind of home life, he might have avoided that whole mental health crisis thing.