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Scumbag Steve is an image macro series featuring a kid with a sideways fitted cap standing in a hallway. The overlaid text generally centers around unethical behavior regarding drugs, partying, and other hedonistic behaviors.
The original image came from the cover of the album “Ma Gangsta” by the rap group Beantown Mafia. The first known image macros were posted in a compilation to Reddit in a thread that reached the front page on January 21st, 2011 and received 8,607 up votes prior to being archived. A commenter in the Reddit thread identified the young man in the photo as Blake Boston, also known as “Weezy B.” In an interview with Know Your Meme, Blake revealed that the picture was originally taken by his mother.
The scumbagsteve.com domain was registed on January 27th, 2011. A compilation of Scumbag Steve images were posted to BuzzFeed on February 2nd, 2011. The Daily Mail posted an article about Blake Boston’s reaction to becoming Internet famous on February 11th. A Facebook fan page has 13,953 likes, a Quickmeme page has 73,815 submissions and a Meme Generator page has 153,149 submissions as of April 6th, 2012. Other derivatives can be found on Tumblr, Memebase and Funny Junk.
The meme was particularly well received by Reddit’s /r/trees sbureddit, leading to creation of many image macros with references to smoking etiquettes and commonly shared experiences under the influence of cannabis. Blake later confirmed his appreciation of the marijuana enthusiast subreddit, /trees.
A number of notable spin-off instances surfaced on Reddit, many of them influenced by the Dogfort saga as well as current news, such as the oh-so-funny “Mubarak Steve” satirizing the Egyptian president’s ill-advised decision to shut off the nation’s internet access for days in late January 2011.
Hundreds of image macros have since emerged featuring Scumbag Steve’s trademark hat photoshopped onto other people and objects accompanied by Scumbag Steve style captions. The hat is a New Era Red Sox ‘A-TOOTH’ brown fitted hat. A similar style with slightly different colors can be found at the Hatland website.
The first Scumbag Brain derivative was posted to Reddit on March 24th, 2011. It featured an image of a human brain with text describing frustrating lapses in judgement or memory. On July 17th, 2011, a Quickmeme page was created for “Scumbag Brain”. There are currently over 400 submissions to the Quickmeme page as of August 11th, 2011.
Identity & Presence
Blake created the Twitter account @blakeboston617 on Jan 31st, 2011 and created the Tumblr “The Real Scumbag Steve” on February 7th, 2011. On March 6th, 2011, Blake Boston appeared in a video interview with Boston-based indie comedy improv company RoughDraft.TV, sharing his thoughts on the character of Scumbag Steve, how his MySpace picture from High School made its way to memedom as well as his first impression of Reddit and other online hubsites.
“I have no regrets in my life …no matter what I do. I can completely fuck up on something and I still don’t regret it. Because at the end of the day, that makes me who I am, so I wouldn’t go back and erase anything, if I were to go back in time.”
On December 21st, 2011, Slacktory editor Nick Douglas published an open letter from Blake Boston to the Annoying Facebook Girl in which he gives advice about how to deal with unintended Internet fame.
Dear Annoying Facebook Girl, it’s me Blake. You may know me as Scumbag Steve. Or not, if you’re not on the internet much.
I heard you just found out that your pics been all over the internet. Shocking huh? Google yourself, but have a friend with you for support.
Feeling violated? Don’t. You see, like me, your picture was used as a meme. What the fuck, you may ask, is a meme? Well basically it’s you and others in image macro form, that represent a thought, behavior, style or idea that spreads from person to person within a culture.
Waaah? Let me say it again. It’s one random picture, with various sayings on it, that tells a whole story, in really short form, for the world to see, it gets put on the internet and it spreads. Goes viral, like the worst case of herpes known to man. But before you feel like you’re going to jump, you need to know that it’s going to be OK.
Now don’t have your folks look for a meme support group for you, cuz there isn’t one. We’re out here by ourselves. You may feel hurt and embarrassed that somehow one of your friends or foes took that godawful picture of you (we know you really don’t look like that all the time, right?) and put it where the internet meme makers dwell. 4chan. Don’t go there, especially if your parents are looking.
You see, that pic resonated with people. It spoke of a crazy excited girl telling Facebook friends inane shit. It could have been any girl, there’s a million pics just like yours on Facebook. But it happened to be yours.
Now, if you do see a pic of me, try not to go all wifey on me but (scumbag joke, these memes can get inside your head) that too was a pic of me a little younger, looking like a scumbag. Let’s face it. The pics look pretty true to form.
But here’s what I need you to know. When you go off to college, and you’re walking down the hall and a group of kids see you and scream, “Oh my god it’s Annoying Facebook Girl,” don’t cry. You see. Some people can’t distinguish the internet from real life. There are people who refuse to believe my name isn’t Steve and that I am not really the scumbag (well not all the time, that is). Just remember who you are. And that you know you’re a decent kid.
You’re going to be in shock for a while, when you see what people have written. But the most important and self-preserving thing you can do is know that it’s not you. You can’t take this personally. I’ll say that again, you can’t take this personally. Hell if I did… well let’s not go there.
The part that will suck though is that there will always be those people that somehow think YOU did this, that you made the meme, and that you could stop it if you wanted to. That you have some control over it. You don’t. The internet birthed you and they’ll decide when you (the meme) will die.
There will also be those people who assuage their guilt by telling you how great it is, how lucky you are to be a meme. Just smile. What they are really saying is, thank god it wasn’t me.
So search Annoying Facebook Girl on Google images, pull up a chair with a group of your friends and laugh your fucking ass off. Cuz you know who you are and how strong you are and that, that picture has nothing to do with what makes you, you… Hopefully you’ll get to where I am, feeling like some memes are hysterical. But that takes time. I’m here if you need me. I’m sorry you’re hurting,
-- Blake, a.k.a. Scumbag Steve
On January 20th, 2012, Blake was interviewed by the hip hop music blog Tech N9ne and revealed that while he still wants to make music, he was placing his rap career on hold due to “personal issues.” However, on May 3rd, 2012, Boston released his first video “Scumbag Steve Overture” via YouTube. He also announced a series called Scumbag Thursdays, releasing a song and video weekly. In the first day, the video garnered more than 1.2 million views and 20,000 likes. The video was immediately shared on Reddit, where it received 41,765 up votes and 2250 points overall. The video was also featured on Mashable, Slate and Geekosystem. The next day, Boston did a video interview with the Daily Dot about his rap persona and the future of his videos.
the Daily Dot – Scumbag Steve Speaks: “Everybody does pull scumbag moves”
Geekosystem – Scumbag Steve Puts Out A Rap Ode To Himself [Video]