Planking. Fucking planking.
I drove to Arlington Heights today for the first day of Illinois State Insurance Exam pre-test class. I drove back and got stuck in rush hour traffic. Because car purchase plans fell through, I drove a 1995 Ford Explorer to and from Chicago. A 1995 Ford Explorer with no muffler. I’m quite sure I’ve lost 20% of my hearing today. So I’ll admit that I was unhappy BEFORE I pulled off of I-90 and decided to stop for a bite to eat. And then I saw them, first in the Subway receiving bay, then out on the tire store front lawn before I left.
The secondary Hate of the Day is Android OS for deciding that I need a fucking babysitter and deciding that I’m unable to take pictures or voice recordings when my battery is under 15% health, as if somehow I don’t know that my damned battery is low. Without that piece of coding dumbassery, I could have shown you first hand exactly the same damned thing every other planking picture is.
Yes, the world has entrenched itself with the newest batch of shitwittage to come flying out of the Idiot’s Internet Inner Sanctum: people lying face down doing nothing. Thousands and thousands of photos of people doing absolutely nothing. I used to get pissed off when girls would post 3000 photos on Facebook of the party they went to over the weekend, all 3,000 of which were with the same friends as every other weekend, taking the same damned poses as every other weekend. Planking makes those girls look like Monets and Rembrandts.
I just don’t get it. And I think there’s something right with me because I don’t get it. Now given, I’ve participated in my fair share of dumb fads: POGS, Tamagotchis, and practically all of the multiple brands of trading cards I delved into are transgressions on my list. But all of those were done while I was a child. And at least all of them actually involved me DOING SOMETHING. Oh, wait, maybe that’s it…we as a society keep talking about how we’re all becoming lazier, so counter-culture’s answer is to take gobs of dumb photos that glorify laziness…RIGHT?
Does anyone else remember when there was this thing called “art” where people would create images and other mediums that took effort? Anyone else remember going to museums and being struck dumb by paintings? And now, with the ability to expose artistic culture and deep, free expression through the realms of technology like the internet, we squander huge parts of it with stuff like this:
“Josh, you’re getting all bent out of shape over nothing! It’s just people out having a good time; at least they’re not out using drugs or something.”
Last I checked, the 60s and 70s were full of drugs. And though I’m not advocating drug usage here, I’ll certainly point out that the 60s and 70s also had Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Andy Warhol, The Beatles, and a host of other art we still love and value today. Now it seems that our society revels in poor, empty substitutes for art. It feels like every day we celebrate the newest iteration of Springtime for Hitler, whether it’s Rebecca Black’s Friday, or this:
I know we’ve all got guilty pleasures. “You are so dumb, you are really dumb, ‘fo real,” is about a regular part of my vocabulary as any article in the English language. But guilty pleasures involve a sense of understanding that there are better things out there. I know that every time I hear that auto-tune warbled word “rape” I’m laughing at something inherently wrong. I’m lowering my standards. Hence the GUILT. But each time another one of these dumb meme fads shows up, I think, “Is there any guilt left, or is this just the best we can do?”
Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m overreacting. I see it in “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” “Teen Mom,” “The Real Housewives of _________:” a continual lowering of standards. And though I could write an entire series on the reasons I hate Twilight (without having read them fully or watched them, mind you) I would gladly read the entire Twilight series before I saw another planker. At least the Twilight books encourage people to read.
But not planking. Planking says, “Hey, you don’t have to really work to be valued. We’ll all love you if you just lie on your face and take it.”