Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

Subscribe (RSS)




Homeless veteran from viral makeover video arrested, jailed

The homeless man whose transformation captivated the Internet earlier this month has fallen back on hard times.

James Allen Wolf was arrested Nov. 17 for trespassing and creating a disturbance at a Burger King in Grand Rapids, Mich., MLive reports. Wolf pleaded guilty to both charges a day later — the justice system evidently moves more swiftly in Michigan — and was sentenced to 10 days in jail for each crime.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Wolf drew worldwide attention when he appeared in a YouTube video called "Homeless Veteran Timelapse Transformation." At the beginning of the video, Wolf looked haggard and dirty but by end was transformed into someone who could’ve passed for a CEO or model. It was an inspiring video that had more than 15.3 million views early Thursday morning.

Significantly, the video concluded by saying that the makeover helped Wolf take control of his life and deal with his decades of alcoholism.

In light of his arrest, it seems the filmmakers may have overstated their case. And as a shelter director in Grand Rapids told MLive, "addiction and homelessness is a complex condition. It’s not solved as simply as the video might indicate."

Which I think is why it never showed up on the Meanwhile blog. It was inspiring, yes, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to help a guy out. But didn’t it also seem reductive? And perhaps self-aggrandizing on the part of the filmmakers?

In light of these new developments — not to mention Christopher Smart’s story from yesterday on how to effectively help those living on the street — it’s worth remembering that the challenges relating to homelessness are not easily solved nor do they always lend themselves to simplistic, happy endings. Hopefully this viral video episode helps remind us to prioritize effective longterm strategies — whatever they may be — over fleeting warm fuzzies.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
 
Jobs
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.