I loved Star Wars Kid. When his video was cruelly put online for all to mock, I only saw myself. I mean, I'm human, I laughed and cringed. But I also saw both the wish to be something greater, something from fantasy, as well as the desire to actually make something, to use my enthusiasm to create some product, some art, even of only for my own amusement.
Of course — of course — for most folks who saw it, he was just something to laugh at.
He's 25 now. His name is Ghyslain Raza. And he had it even harder than I imagined.
At school, Raza suffered endless mockery. He lost his friends. Students would exaggerate his moves from the video and climb on to tabletops to insult him. “It soon became impossible for me to attend class,” he told Macleans. But worse, far worse, were the comments he read about himself online. One commenter called him “a pox on humanity.” Others suggested he commit suicide.
He even had to leave school, which prompted even more mockery.
Raza is now coming back to public attention to help the fight against bullying. Good for him. But also encouraging is the liberation he unwittingly provided for so many other introverts and outcasts, how his video, while becoming spawn for a snowballing of mockery, also served as the foundation for many versions of it enhanced with appreciation and affection for his flight of fancy in front of a video camera. Because of what he endured, I think it allowed a lot of other nerds to let their pony-tailed hair down a bit.
So thanks, Star Wars Kid. I mean Mr. Raza.