Ridiculously Photogenic Guy vs. Gorgeous Guy —
If you follow internet memes at all, you're going to be aware of 'Ridiculously Photogenic Guy'. The title has been attached to 25-year-old Zeddie Little of New York. A picture of him was taken while he was running a 10k race in South Carolina. He seemed to look upbeat and well-composed, while everyone else looked like they were suffering. Someone uploaded the picture to reddit, with the comment, "My friend calls him 'Mr Ridiculously Photogenic Guy'"
. The image and title promptly went viral, making Little an overnight internet celebrity.
Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
This immediately reminded me of the Gorgeous Guy phenomenon
, from way back in 2001, in which a guy's picture was uploaded to San Francisco's Craiglist with the comment, "Gorgeous Guy @ 4th and Market at the MUNI/Amtrak Bus Stop (Mon-Fri)." The Gorgeous Guy's picture soon went viral, resulting in the real-life Gorgeous Guy being tracked down and invited to appear on CNN, The Tonight Show, etc.
The punchline of the Gorgeous Guy story, however, was that his initial burst of internet popularity turned out to have been artificially engineered. David Cassel of the San Francisco Bay Guardian
discovered that the initial flood of messages promoting and gushing about the "Gorgeous Guy" all traced back to the same IP address — which was the address of the company where Gorgeous Guy worked. Cassel suspected that Gorgeous Guy had been promoting himself, though Gorgeous Guy himself insisted it had been his co-workers playing a prank on him.
There's absolutely no indication that Ridiculously Photogenic Guy's popularity was artificially goosed up in any way. In fact, Zeddie Little seems to be trying his best to avoid his unasked-for celebrity status. But it is odd how these internet memes echo and repeat themselves.
Incidentally, after I wrote about the Gorgeous Guy incident in the book version of The Museum of Hoaxes
, Gorgeous Guy contacted me, and I continue to get updates from him every few years. Last I heard, if I remember correctly, he was working as a real-estate agent somewhere.