RAW: Planking? Be Afraid, Very Afraid – The Nanny State Is After You

Planking - The National Assoc of Mannequins Outraged After This Photo Was Posted On The Internet

Planking – a cause for alarm? By Lewis Dowell

“NSW police have ruled out planking in the cause of a man being induced into a coma after falling off the back of a car” said the newsreader today on Channel 7. The news came as if to bring relief that the ‘planking’ epidemic wasn’t continuing to grow. As if a disease or virus was quickly spreading and we were to be assured that a recent death although tragic, was not the cause of said disease or virus.

I think planking must be one of the more ridiculous sources of a media scare campaign and public debate in recent memory. The fact that the PM had to issue a statement last week in response to the planking craze seems equally ridiculous. Perhaps the dividing issue at the next election will be “what will your party do to combat planking?”. The way Australian politics is going and the pettiness involved, I wouldn’t be surprised.

For those of you who aren’t aware of planking, it is when you lie face down with your arms by your side completely still in weird public places. The photos which are published online, gained popularity and before you knew it people were planking in more extreme and dangerous environments. The craze came to a head last week in Brisbane when tragically 20 year old Anton Beale fell from an apartment balcony to his death whilst planking.

The police urged for the craze to stop, and the Facebook planking association urged people to ‘plank safe’. The founder was even invited to discuss the issue on the 7pm Project. Julia Gillard warned against it and the Ambulance service of NSW urged people to not take any unnecessary risk whilst planking. It seemed like we were under attack.

Then just as it seemed to die down, last night Simon Hallam fell off the back of a sedan and suffered a severe head injury and was later induced into a coma. It was originally thought that Hallam was attempting to plank on the back of the sedan, but police have reassured the public that Simon was in fact standing when he fell off the back of the car.

The fact that it was news worthy to report to the public that Simon was in fact ‘standing’ when he was injured, shows just how ridiculous the situation is getting.

These instances are not caused by Internet crazes, but by unfortunate stupid and alcohol induced behaviour. However, the news and media aren’t interested in individual acts of drunken stupidity. They are much more interested in coining terms that can be regurgitated over and over again. And before you know it we’re all scared of bird flu, or swine flu, or boat people, or apparently planking.

Soon enough there will be a government campaign “Think twice before you plank” along with pamphlets “Is your child planking?”.

For once lets be mature about the situation and not let our selves be distracted by meaningless terms and so called ‘dangerous’ Internet crazes. People will get drunk and do stupid things, and these will sometimes end in tragedy. All you can do is warn against this behaviour and ask people to behave responsibly. However targeting some new Internet craze as a way to stamp out this behaviour is tedious and can only act as a distraction to real issues.

Now see Lewis Dowell’s follow up article at: Plank Wars – 25 May

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  1. […] our article earlier in the week at:  Planking – The Nanny State Lewis Dowell lies down for us […]

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