Do you know your memes? Do Facebook trends follow you rather than the other way around? Then you know that planking is so two months ago. In the interim, coning and forking tried to assert dominance, but they gave way to the new crazy scene that is owling, reports the Washington Post.
Planking falls flat
It began in 2009 on Facebook with the “Lying Down Game,” aka planking. Planking is a humorous public social exercise in which a human photo or video subjects lie down in surprising locations like stiff wooden planks for the sake of sharing the event on Facebook. While this may seem innocuous, planking has been blamed in the death of a 20-year-old Australian man who slipped off a seventh-story balcony while allegedly in the act of planking. Another man was arrested for planking on a police car in Queensland, Australia.
Before there was Owling
When people began to view planking as too stiff and unoriginal, cousin projects like forking and coning were born. Forking involves embedding plastic forks in someone’s lawn. Coning builds on the culinary joke, but involves eating. The coner buys an ice cream cone at a drive-thru, then quickly grabs the ice cream and jams it into his mouth and drives off. The drive-thru employee is left holding the cone. Ramping up the difficulty involves drizzling chocolate while the employee is still holding the cone or dipping in some fingers to make ice cream war paint. In both cases, the drive-thru person must be left with the cone for the coning venture to be considered a success.
Owling is a kind of throwback meme, in that it returns to the act of body positioning that began with planking. Instead of being as stiff as a board, owling acolytes perch in strange locations while adopting an owl-like posture. Take a picture, share it on Facebook, and you become part of the owling movement. Check out the Facebook page Owling: The Evolution of Planking. It’s a real hoot.
Planking in the time of slavery
Perhaps planking’s time had come, suggests the Washington Post. The rapper Xzibit and various other Twitter users implied that planking was actually racist, as the body position involved is supposedly similar to that of the African slaves who were packed onto European slave ships four to five centuries ago on the Middle Passage.
“Planking was a way to transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, its [sic] not funny,” Xzibit tweeted. “Educate yourselves.”
Historians like Dr. Marcus Rediker say slaves were kept on the lower planks of ships, which some critics believe lends credence to Xzibit’s complaint. Yet most people seemed to agree that planking is simply a silly pastime and there was no strong connection between the dark past of slavery and the Facebook phenomenon.
Tampa Bay Online: http://bit.ly/nrqGME
Washington Post: http://wapo.st/nXTu08
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