Planking is the social media phenomena where idiots across the globe pose for pictures, seemingly as if they just passed-out, in the weirdest of settings. The body is face down with one's arms by their side and their legs straight.
Planking has been attributed to the Canadian actor and comedian Tom Green where he supposedly planked during his MTV show. Unfortunately this footage never aired however it's not unlikely Green devised this antic. Also occurring in 1997, just across the pond, two teenage boys also decided to lay face-down in public places to amuse themselves. This game remained popular in the UK, where with the onset of Facebook, it blew up. This meme went from being called the lying down game, extreme lying down, face downs, to planking thanks to Sam Weckert of Australia.
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. In 2011 20-year-old Acton Beale planked to death, after plunging off a seventh floor balcony in Bisbane Australia. This occurred just before 4:30 a.m., where the catch-phrase "nothing good happens after midnight" never made more sense.As a result Beale was awarded a Darwin Award. Unfortunately more plankers haven't died and their lack of common sense will continue to proliferate gene pool. With Aussie planking having close to a million Facebook likes and the American sports league planking having the equivalent, it is highly unlikely this trend will ever end. Even those skilled in preserving life have planked, in 2011 seven doctors and nurses were suspended in England after a planking episod. So regardless of the consequences keep planking! Also if you're open to planking, consider a variation such as teapotting or owling.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.