YouTube is a pretty amazing service when you stop and think about it. It's becoming so ever-present in our lives, its almost becoming invisible, to borrow an idea from Kevin Kelly. Although the site is only six years old -- its popularity exploded after the Google purchase -- it's hard to imagine an Internet without YouTube, even though this particular writer was on the web a number of years before it launched.
Needless to say, a site that is so popular and crucial to the explosion of social media and viral marketing is an incredibly powerful tool. Something so big, especially on the Internet, almost has to be. Unfortunately, however, every so often, somebody receives a lesson in just how powerful YouTube can be. Many times, these lessons are unwanted and can be somewhat vicious.
Just ask former UCLA student, Alexandra Wallace.
In case you haven't heard, Wallace was recently attending UCLA, and she decided she wanted to study in the library. Problem was, at least to Wallace, there were "too many Asians" in the library for her to effectively study, and so she made a now-infamous video called "Asians in the Library," where Wallace proceeded to share her feelings about the apparent explosion of studious Asian students at UCLA. She even went as far to mention the catastrophic events in Japan in a rant that quickly turned into an uneducated, racist diatribe.
You can see for yourself, if you'd like:
Needless to say, the aftermath of Wallace's video has been felt far and wide.
After the video went viral, which was after Wallace attempted to take it down, she was greeted with the kind of responses you'd expect from an Internet crowd: death threats and other promises of physical violence; so much so, in fact, Wallace removed herself from school, but not after she wrote a letter to The Daily Bruin, UCLA's student paper, as an attempt to explain herself.
The letter reads:
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.
Which sounds an awful lot like:
I'm sorry I got outed for the video. I'm sorry I got caught. Had I been more thoughtful and not recorded my feelings about Asians using UCLA's library and posted them on the Internet, nothing about my enrollment would be changed. That being said, I cannot stand the idea of being labeled as a racist for something you guys just didn't get, and so, I'm going to use the safety of my parents as an excuse to run away from all this drama I caused.
Go ____ yourself,
Needless to say, there have been a number of video responses and mash-ups concerning Wallace's "love one another" video, and there about what you'd expect:
And then there's this piece of animated genius, which captures the details quite well:
Finally we have the inevitable remix:
There's much, much more where this came from.
With that, welcome to Internet infamy, Miss Wallace. Enjoy your stay... And your new college, wherever that will be. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be forgotten by the time enrollment for the fall semester comes.