Planking | A Historical Footnote


2011. They call it planking. The practice of laying on your front,
completely still, for social media kudos. It was safe, fun for families, fun for professionals, fun for brands. Australian Sportsball players
were doing the plank. [Commentator] There is obviously
a message here. He lays down and stays very still
for a couple of seconds. The news was doing a plank. By golly, even TV funny-mans were doing a plank. [Homer laughing loudly] Soon there were thousands of kids just laying around downtown. Some of the location selections quite creative, others less inspired… But soon the one-upsmanship drove people to do evermore daring planks. Some were really asking for trouble, [TROUBLE] especially those that partook in subgenre spin-offs such as the intersection plank, the balcony plank, and that’s when the accidents began. (oopsie-daisie) A 17 year old was planking on his roof, fell off, crashed onto the concrete below and his kidney ruptured. It had to be removed. Not to be outdone, an 18 year old fell from a fifth story balcony (so guys, we d–) On his way down he bounced off an awning, landed on the pavement and destroyed his spleen. That had to be cut out too. “Hold my beer,” another guy says as he planks from the roof of a moving car. GPS: [Your destination is on the right] It’s a coma. Then finally a man in Australia planks from the seventh story of an apartment complex. He fell off…and died. (tape noises)
Alright you stupid kids, shut it down, game’s over–time to start punishing anyone who planks. Shit’s a safety hazard! A blanket ban in schools and universities is implemented; that leads to several suspensions. Then it progressed to the workplace; GameStop fired a guy for planking, Woolworth’s fired 8, a hospital fired 7, a factory fired 2. Want to plank in a mine?
Want to get fired? Surely it couldn’t hurt just to plank a little in the old folk’s home. Now you’re unemployed. [KILLING SPREE…MONSTER KI–] But it doesn’t stop there. It goes all the way to the highest levels of power–the South Australian government. They consider a statewide ban on planking… …which is quickly dropped. The prime sheila of Australia, Julia Gillard issues an official decree to “knock it off, kids.” But that’s not enough to stop this epidemic from spreading. The more the media said “PLANKING BAD,” the more alluring it became. You even had your serial offenders. [Have you seen this man?] This guy went on a planking spree–here, and here, and here, and finally on a cop car. When he uploaded it to Facebook, however, the police weren’t so pleased and they send him a summons to court. At first, he tried to claim the images were ‘shopped. No one was believing that, so he confessed and he received a three hundred and three dollar fine. The police cracked down on a number of others too – but it all backfired. Soon the new defiant sub-genre of cop car planking emerged in direct protest, and when one was struck down a hundred more took their place. (Although some police didn’t help the situation either.) [It takes a lot of bravery to be that vulnerable and I’m so proud of this community] But while this was all going down, the sub-genres were becoming more esoteric. A rotating escalator plank, for example. [Holy sh–] The [♪Down ride♪] [♪You got to pimp my ri–♪]
Hold on, hold on, hold on. Hold the fucking phone. Everyone, shut up. It’s Xzibit, and he’s here to tell everyone to stop planking. Why? Because it’s racist! That’s right. X goes on to give it to his followers by explaining that the Atlantic slave trade also had people lying down with their arms at their side, too, therefore… Not really. He just plucked this entirely out of thin air or overheard it at the pub. There is absolutely zero connection between this lame fad and the Atlantic slave trade. And besides, everybody knows that planking originally started with the Catholic Church in 595 AD. Something called the Litany of Saints; even the Pope was planking. Anyway, so John Key, chief cuz of New Zealand, decided to take things into his own hands. [ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh] He does a fine “how do you do, fellow kids” and uploads this slightly ominous picture of his son planking. and… …you did it. You killed the meme. It’s done. Some desperate resuscitation was attempted with owling, and tea potting, and beheading. Actually, that’s pretty good. But the timing was all wrong and it never properly took off. And that is the story of planking, a small footnote in internet history. Ho-ho, here come those nam–whoa, whoa Was that a bit — That might’ve been a bit quick for ya. How ’bout – How ‘boooout — NOW! Did ya catch ya name? That’s a– that’s a shame C-Coming in from the left hand si– — Ooh! Oh jus — Just missed it I saw a — I saw a Steve…? In there…?


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