The story of Blake Boston’s life has revolved around an innocuous portrait photo for the past eight years — one that has spawned millions of memes across the globe. We know Boston better as ‘Scumbag Steve’, though through no fault of his own.
The photo used for the memes shows Boston in his teens, dressed in a brown fur-collared coat and a baseball cap. The captions of the memes, the internet’s favourite hate-figure, have a fixed pattern: at the top is a sentence to introduce the theme, and at the bottom the punch-line, usually describing unethical and self-gratifying behaviour with focus on drugs, sex, narcissism etc.
‘Scumbag Steve’ is that guy who bullied you in school, ate all your food, came to parties uninvited, made smartass remarks, ridiculed everything you did — well, you get the drift.
The memes can be spotted a dime a dozen at online portals such as Facebook, Twitter, 9GAG, etc.
Boston says his mother clicked the image for her photography class and later uploaded it on Myspace. How it ended up as an internet sensation from there is beyond his knowledge.
Ask him about the viral photo, and Boston says: “I learned very quickly that nobody is bigger than the internet.”
We spoke to Boston aka ‘Scumbag Steve’, a resident of a Massachusetts town in the US, on how he feels about being the butt of millions of jokes. Boston, 24, talks about his career and tells us whether he is remotely like the neighbourhood scumbag we have all once been a victim of. Read the full interview:
How do you think you became part of the memes?
I became part of the memes because I do have scumbag tendencies and I notice them more now that I am ‘Scumbag Steve’. I have no idea who (was behind it) or when it started. I first saw it in March of 2011.
Does it make you happy or are you annoyed when you see the memes?
I have learned to embrace it and it is fun now to go out all dressed up and do stupid things. I learned very quickly that nobody is bigger than the internet.
Do you think because of the repeated use of your memes, a stereotype has come to be associated with you in real life?
I think most people get the joke but sure some people could think that's how I really am.
How has your life changed after the memes?
I have got to travel to many beautiful cities to perform my music and entertain people and I am loving it.
Does it ever annoy you that while millions know you by face in the world, only a fraction of them actually know you as a person and are in touch with you in real life?
I don't really care what people think of me, especially because of a picture. I always treat people with respect until they give me a reason not to. I wouldn't say celebrity status but the meme has helped me gain notoriety.
Do you think the nature or the essence behind the memes with your photo is actually who you really are?
I’m sure I do things that people would say are messed up, but I'm not perfect. I guess it depends on what day you catch me on.
Do people recognise you on the streets and ask for selfies?
People do remember me and usually it's a selfie haha... (sic).
What was the actual reason you had that look on your face? Did alcohol or something else have a role to play? Who took the photo?
I was probably really high or drunk hahahaha... My mom took the photo for her photography class.
What are you up to these days? What were you doing in your professional life when the photo was taken?
I'm still a chef but at a different restaurant. At the time I was working and in high school.