Monday, May 16, 2011

Plank Stares

a man died on Sunday taking part in the latest craze going viral on the Internet — "planking."

Acton Beale, 20, plunged to his death after positioning himself for a picture on a balcony railing seven floors up in Brisbane after a night out drinking.

He was a "planker," a fast-growing group of people who lie flat on their stomachs with their arms against their bodies — to resemble a plank — in unusual and sometimes dangerous situations.

Photographs of their exploits are then shared through social media sites.
Really? This isn't a story from The Onion? Nope; it's apparently a real phenomenon, for some reason. Viral is right; something is infecting these people.

(I know from my gym that the "plank" is actually an exercise designed to strengthen ab muscles--but you do it on the floor on a mat, rather safely.)

Then again, these types of silly stunts are nothing new to social media. I remember back in the early 1990s when a movie called The Program came out, there was a scene in which several characters, in a rather ridiculous demonstration of courage (as most such demonstrations are), lay down in the middle of the road and had trucks drive over them. Apparently, there were enough copycats in real life that the filmmakers had to excise the scene.

Get the Darwin Awards people on the phone...

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