Close-up of a perched Rock Eagle Owl.
Owling involves humans striking an owl-like pose. (Photo Credit: CC BY-ND/hans s/Fotopedia)

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.

Enter owling

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:

Washington Post:

Post By bryanh (1,420 Posts)


Do you have a fantastic idea related to this article, but just don't have the money you need to start your own company or side-business? Get the loans you need from to help get your new company underway, from the small loan professionals at PersonalMoneyNetwork.

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

PG&E to pay $70 million for pipeline tragedy

Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a northern California utility, has agreed to pay $70 million to the California town of San Bruno for a pipeline explosion that killed eight people in 2010. Company says it’s remorseful The San Francisco-based power company’s president, Chris Johns, released a statement Monday, saying PG&E is sorry and eager to […]

Judge stabbed and deputy shot in Washington courthouse

Grays Harbor County Courthouse

Following a standoff in a Washington state county courtroom Friday, a man reportedly escaped after shooting a sheriff’s deputy in the shoulder and stabbing a judge in the neck. The man is still at large. Treachery among the tree farms The incident occurred Friday afternoon in the western Washington town of Montesano, which bills itself […]

Microraptor was one flashy little dinosaur

Microraptor fossil

A team of Chinese and American scientists have found that Microraptor, a small four winged dinosaur that went extinct about 130 million years ago, was likely black and almost certainly had glossy, iridescent feathers. Until now, the coloring of extinct creatures was a matter of pure speculation. That may no longer be the case. The […]

Autocorrected message leads to school lockdown

Homage to the Sun

Adjacent schools in Georgia were locked down for two hours Wednesday after a text message reportedly warned of a “gunman” on campus. Later, it was learned that the message was the result of a smartphone autocorrect function, attempting to “fix” the misspelled slang word “gunna.” A series of mixups A series of mixups led to […]