My son is a meme?

Hey, redditors. I'm rout39574.

Hi there, all you interwebs. If you want to contact me, try

So this thing is getting ludicrously more traffic than I'd ever imagined. Many of the same questions are coming at me from different quarters, so I thought I'd head some of them off.

Lots of folks are asking "How do you feel about this?". Stephen is rather a concrete kid. He's bemused by the folderol, but it's not really on his radar. He's got better things to do, like drool over Starcraft II, or design warships for the Honor Harrington universe, than spend any time 'feeling' something about wierd pictures.

For my part, I've been nattering around on the 'net since long before there was a World Wide Web. There are tens of thousands of folks who have gotten this treatment in one degree or another. The memefication has nothing really to do with Stephen, nor with my wife or me.

We were talking about it over dinner a few nights ago. The metaphor of 'where is the meaning in art' was instructive. Baby pictures are a particularly prosaic sort of art, but the principle applies. Once an artist releases a work, it's beyond them. The 'meaning' of a piece resides as much, or more, in the observer than in the creator or subject.

These strange images have gone through dozens or hundreds of gradual modification and reinterpretation. Each of these steps was probably fairly modest and reasonable to the person who made it, but the drunkards walk takes you into some very strange places. Snakehead Stephen has more 'meaning' deriving from that long strange journey, than it has traces of me or Stephen or Christine.

So the pictures don't say anything about me, or Stephen, or Gainesville. In a nutshell, they say "people are odd". Stephen's very modest momentary renown is, first and last, Not A Big Deal.

So, as I write this in 2010, my son Stephen is 10. He was born in October of 1999. I put up some pictures here long, long ago. Among them was this one:

We're really blessed. Stephen is an amazingly happy baby.

So, a bit ago, I googled myself, after reading some articles discussing how you ought to keep track of your online reputation. It sounded reasonable to me. Way out on page 19 of the results, I saw my name in the midst of a bunch of Japanese text. I figured my old web pages had been absorbed into some linkspam content chaff.

Warning: I know no Japanese. It's entirely possible that some of the text on these images below might be naughty or offensive. If you care to supply me with translations, I'll add them. :)

But then off that page, I found Stephen's face with some thought bubbles.

There's even a "generate your own Stephen saying something" application

I asked some friends for some translation aid, and got a bunch of additional context. Evidently he's been adopted as a minor meme by a Japanese message board. They seem even to be looking for him.
Translated with google

One of them took the text from the lower left in the image ("Gedou a baby" ? ) and slapped it into Google Image Search.


They made a scuplture out of him.

He's in 8-bit

He's got a day off

He's on Mt. Rushmore

and some dude's tat and cellphone

ED: I'm given to understand that this dude is one David Beckham, player of football. No, not wuss-rugby-with-pads: football. World cup?

He's Kurt Cobain

and he's got snakes in his brain.

He's in blacklight

He's a ?street fighter? character

Is that a pompadour?

Mercury hat?

There's a moderately detailed treatment of it over at Know Your Meme, with a bunch of translations.