The thought police are out in force. While truancy rates escalate and drug taking at schools and work is now an epidemic, the thought police are out in force about planking in an attempt to show they are still in charge. Good luck!
Folloing our article earlier in the week at: Planking – The Nanny State Lewis Dowell lies down for us again.
By Lewis Dowell
The war on planking, not to be confused with the war on drugs or war on terror (although it would seem the media have already made that mistake), escalated this week with employers and schools taking strict disciplinary measures against the act.
Woolworths, Australia’s biggest employer, sacked 8 employees across three states last week for performing the act and posting photos online. 6 girls who attend school in Queensland have been suspended and 22 students who attend Walford Anglican School for Girls here in SA were sent home, all for performing the internet phenomenon known as planking.
Walford principal Mrs Trebilcock said that “we have shared our concerns with the school community about how a seemingly innocent prank can escalate through the web and become dangerous… our parents and teachers are in agreement that the girls need to be educated about the risks involved.”
McDonald’s has told staff that planking was inappropriate in the workplace and the NSW police have said that planking won’t be tolerated. 3 people were arrested for planking on a moving car as well as the driver just last week. Although it has already sacked 8 people, Woolworths has stated that they are still investigating several other planking incidents.
A Facebook page titled “Australia: the only country where lying down can be illegal” was initiated last week for people to post their grievances.
It would seem that the war on planking was in full swing.
As ridiculous as planking is, the media have given it such notoriety amongst police, educational institutions and work organisations, that they don’t have a choice but to take strict measures for fear of coming across the media blowtorch, where it always pays to be seen as strict and conservative, over logical and rational. Be it some planking pranks may have been inappropriate and dangerous, and deserved scrutiny by superiors, whether or not the act is sackable is another question. Australia’s leading workplace law firm, Slater and Gordon has since said that if the acts were not obviously and directly harmful to the working environment, and termination was based on the act of planking alone, some sacked employees may have ground for unfair dismissal.
Also entering the war was Sam Newman whose radio planking stunt (that took place on a 40-storey high balcony) landed him on last Thursdays A Current Affair (ACA). The way ACA approached the topic was as if he had demonstrated how to inject heroin on Youtube, saying that “it doesn’t bother Sam that everyone from the Prime Minister down thinks this sort of behaviour is not only dangerous, but also sets an extremely bad example for millions of young Australians”.
Later that night Sam’s colleagues on the Footy Show, Gary Lyon and James Brayshaw, jumped on the bandwagon and grilled Sam for his exploits claiming he was being stupid and irresponsible. Sam replied, “Of course it was irresponsible, that was the point! You don’t have to be told you’re irresponsible to know that you’re irresponsible!”.
But the issue isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. We all know just how much the media love a good “Gen Y is doing something stupid again” story and so they will cover it until the planking fad dies. Meanwhile as more and more planers plank, the media are licking their lips as they continue to ram another pointless buzzword and fear campaign down the throats of baby boomers and their parents, for the benefit of their own ratings and readership, all under the disguise of being socially responsible.
And yes I myself have wondered why people are still persisting with the fad, as surely if you’re like me you are getting bored with the constant coverage of something so petty. But really why should they stop? In cases like these it can be easy to think that it is the perpetrators who are being petty and tedious, refusing to stop participating in what seems to be a ridiculous and meaningless act. But are they being petty for continuing to plank, or are we being petty for insisting people stop lying down in public? I think it’s time we all take a step back, and let the people plank.