US President Obama has called Vladimir Putin personally to discuss a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the Ukraine. He is keen that their diplomatic relationship is undamaged, especially given the tense history between the two nations.
The Ukraine is still undecided about whether to send a team to the paralympic games in Sochi, and several Ukrainian MPs are seeking a union with Russia.
If you’ve been on the Internet at all over the past few days, you’ve probably wondered who is “Damn Daniel”, and why is everyone talking about his Vans? Fortunately, I’m here to clear the air for you, and try to make sense of a phenomenon that is the “Damn Daniel” meme. Spoiler alert: this has about as much logic as Alex from Target meme in 2014 (except hold onto your chair, because this is even more insane yet fantastically hilarious).
Last Monday, a high schooler named Josh uploaded a video featuring a few different segments of his friend Daniel walking around, on top of which he narrated “Damn, Daniel,” along with a running commentary on his white Vans sneakers. For reasons unbeknownst to really, uh, anyone, the video was retweeted more than 250,000 times, and it’s become nothing short of a phenomenon.
Daniel Lara now has almost 150,000 followers on Twitter, and is understandably stoked at what’s going on. His video has prompted all kinds of things to arise out of the strange corners of the Internet, including a “Damn Daniel Starter Pack” which consists of white Vans, jeans, a t-shirt and a red backpack; dance routines; remixes of the 30-second audio, and all kinds of other shenanigans. Needless to say, the video is officially meme-famous, with people going as far as taking pictures of their white sneakers in bathroom stalls and posting: “Thinkin’ about you, Daniel.”
But who exactly is Daniel Lara? According to his Twitter page, he’s a teen living in Los Angeles, California (who clearly knows how to dress to impress). His username is danlaraa on Instagram, which, despite only having five photos, has already amassed 195,000 followers. In one of his photos, he even shows us what he is wearing on his feet on the rare day that he is not spotted in his white Vans. (PLOT TWIST, you guys: it’s black Vans.) Although he hasn’t said much yet the meme started trending, he has expressed his gratitude to his many thousands of new fans. You can follow him @daniel_laraa
As with most things on the World Wide Web, it’s hard to say whether or not this will be just a passing trend, or if Daniel will be with us for the long-haul. Check out the original video below, and some notable tweets from fellow humans partaking in the method and madness that is this boy named Daniel, who is now the only thing your friends will be talking about for at least another week.
Barack Obama also paid tribute to Lee on Facebook saying:
“Atticus, he was real nice.”
“Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.”
When Harper Lee sat down to write To Kill a Mockingbird, she wasn’t seeking awards or fame. She was a country girl who just wanted to tell an honest story about life as she saw it.
But what that one story did, more powerfully than one hundred speeches possibly could, was change the way we saw each other, and then the way we saw ourselves. Through the uncorrupted eyes of a child, she showed us the beautiful complexity of our common humanity, and the importance of striving for justice in our own lives, our communities, and our country.
Ms. Lee changed America for the better. And there is no higher tribute we can offer her than to keep telling this timeless American story – to our students, to our neighbors, and to our children – and to constantly try, in our own lives, to finally see each other.
To Kill a Mockingbird sold more than 30 million copies around the world and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Lee only published the sequel, Go Set a Watchman, last year.
The novelist was born Nelle Harper Lee on 28 April 1926, the youngest of four children, and had always lived a guarded, private life, rarely giving interviews.