Saturday, September 24, 2011

Planking: Why It Rocked The Congress (And Why It Actually Shouldn't)

Just The Facts:

1. Planking is the new jump shot. Because jump shot is so gay.

2. It requires you to lie face down straight, and look completely moronic.

3. Some members of the House of Representative prefers lying on their backs.

What Is It?

If you're living under a rock, "Planking" is the newest fad that hits Metro Manila, as well the rest of the social networking-dependent world. It consists of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands should touch the sides of the body. And because it isn't insanity enough  for whoever came up with this game, it should be photographed and posted in the Internet for everyone else to see how desperately you need to have a life. If Jose Rizal isn't stupid enough to turn around after the shot, he would have fell face down, and would be the first "Planker".

I'll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen. Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign. Fuck you all, I will die on my back.

Where The Hell It Came From?

Very much like Ben Affleck's appeal, the origin of this fad has no clear existence. Canadian actor, comedian, writer, and full time has-been Tom Greene claimed he invented the game back in 1994, an awesome piece of history coming from a guy who has always joked ever since we know him. But perhaps the most believable origin came from Gary Clarkson and his friend Christian Langdon, who came up with the game out of boredom 14 years ago.

Chris: Let's play a game. Let's see which one of us can make the girl next door cry first.
Gary: That sucks, Chris. I suggest we lie down on our faces and look rock-fuck stupid.

Calling it simply as the Lying Down Game, the two, then 15 and 12 respectively at that time, would perform planking in public places, amusing one another and baffling the shit among onlookers. It was a pointedly pointless way for the boys to pass the time. As Clarkson puts it in one interview: "It was just a really stupid, random thing to do."

Gary Clarkson (left) and Christian Langdon (right) looking really stupid and random on their own.

The game spread like Black Death to Clarkson and Langon's friends at school and, after a while, on to other kids from the neighborhood, who found the act of tensing their lumbar muscles while burying their little faces on the ground as they hold their breath amusing as it is.

You're awesome Harry! You've planked for three hours now! Harry? How come you look so blue? 

And the rest is viral, social networking site-peddled history. Planking became famous to the rest of the world. It is known as "시체놀이" (Playing Dead") in South Korea, "à plat ventre" ("On one’s belly") in France, "extreme lying down" in Australasia, "facedowns" in Ireland, and "planking" in New Zealand and USA.

In Persia, they call it the "get hacked by the Claw Guy" game.

But the fad isn't without any detractors. Critics of the lying down game (a group of guys who probably swore to lie on their backs only during their sleeping hours for the rest of their lives) compare it with the slave trade-era practice and manner of stashing African slaves upon the planks of a slave ship's lower hold. However, a professor from University of Pittsburgh sinisterly named Marcus Rediker states there is no "deliberate connection" between the contemporary usage, or any previous meaning imputed to the term, who we believe made such claim based purely on the fact that his name was awesome.

This is shit, Stevie! I slept with you because I heard you're into Spelunking!

The Philippine Setting:

The game of planking was just another viral fad as harmless as honey badgers, with no deliberate objective of harming or putting the lives of it's practitioners, as long as it's done with safety and concern for the other people around in mind, just like its newer (and far more stupid) cousins that followed like Tea-potting (NOT  the homoerotic act), Owling, and Horse Manning.

"HOLY FUCKING SH --  Oh, it's just Jane with her head cut-off."

And like honey badgers , the game has a few casualty of it's own. A few months ago, 20-year-old Australian Acton Beale reportedly fell seven storeys to his death from the balcony of an apartment block in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. And last May, a 20-year-old man from Gladstone in central Queensland was charged for allegedly planking on a police vehicle, which makes us think twenty year-old's should be banned temporarily from executing this.

Jump shots are not life threatening enough. Let's do something more fun.

But it wasn't until September 2011, here in the Philippines, that its notoriety had been full blown big time like an exploding piñata, when Quezon City Representative Winnie Castelo (he's a guy) passed the Anti-Planking Act of 2011, probably to the complete awe and surprise of his fellow Congressmen who were only beginning to unravel what the fuck Planking is.

"And in addition to that, seriously? Is that your first name?" 

But of course, Representative Castelo didn't just woke up one dire night from a nightmare suddenly realizing he really, really hates the fad.  It started with the Metro Manila Transport Strike last Monday, September 19, when 300 Jeepney drivers and rallyists decided they won't give shit about the commuters anymore (which, ironically is the primary source of their income) and just tell the Government that they deserve a raise.

Castelo, like the other politicians, lawmakers, and Government officials, went back to the drawing board, re-analyzed the economic landscape, considered the probable solution to these poor protester's plight, and discussed  in the House of Representatives the possible implications of this ambling crisis.

Nope, I'm kidding. He just actually lay his entire focus and attention to this scene in the news.

Students rallyists, still largely caught up with the trend, tried to bring planking into the street as a form of protest, to the astonishment and shock of motorists who probably thought they included mass suicide to their otherwise futile plea.

The road is unusually humpy today. And is that a guy under my car?

And so Representative Castello, clearly bothered by anything lying face down on the street, brought up the idea of the Anti-Planking Act of 2011, stating "Parents and teachers have reason to be alarmed if these similar protest actions will have as a scheme and scene otherwise warm and living bodies laid down across street highways as though they were offerings to the gods.”


Seriously? You're trying to abolish planking? Amid the rising gasoline prices, the pin falling peso rate, the looming terrorist attacks and unsolved car-jacking cases, not to mention that a huge mall company is somehow hosting vendetta activities/crimes of passion in its venues, you're busy pointing fingers to those idiots who like to lie face down?

For this reason, I really think that in any given day, the Congressmen at The House of Representatives decide the next bill to pass based purely on a weird logic:

"Let's file an Anti-Planking Bill and call ourselves heroes!"

So Why Is This Happening?

The Government, or at least, some of its dim-witted officials, will always need a bogeyman. That mythical creature hiding in our closets forever threatening us and playing with our fears and security. But at the end of the day, the bogeyman will always be what it is: An imaginary, benign, and very unimpressive monster. It never goes out of its closet. It never harms anyone. You can sleep tight.

Just be sure to watch out for that TV in the kitchen.
Back in the 80's, it's the Rock Metal Bands and Marylin Manson, spewing songs of the devil, with demonic lyrics, and singing for the churches of Satan. Corrupting young minds' moral fibers, invoking them to a life of violence. Mind you, if KISS and Iron Maiden and Judas Priest is the best the Devil can come up with, we're pretty safe.

Very, very safe.

The 90's have the Gangster Rap. Reflecting urban crime and gang wars and the violent lifestyles of inner-city youths with their songs composed of 98 percent curses. Promoting violence, profanity, sex, homophobia, racism, and plenty more. 

We can't get the Al-Qaeda into our hands, so let's blame the rappers.

When the new millennium stepped it, it's the Internet to blame. We always hear news of murder due to a twitter argument, or real-life beatings due to an online gaming, and Oh God, a baby drowns while his mother is going gaga over a game in a little something called Facebook. Suddenly, the social networking site has become the new Anti-Christ, dragging us all helplessly into its spear of influence, and then to our own destruction.

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."

Planking is no different. It's something new. It's different. And it's very easy to blame. In a world of confusion and chaos and seemingly endless crisis, this harmless fad becomes the chimerical bogeyman that some people condemns about. If there'll be story that involves crime or violence that has even the most remote connection to this kind of fad, then we all can bet our left nut the blame will all come down into it, instead of focusing on the true story. 

And it happened on that faithful day of September 19, when the plight of the poor protesters fighting for their right boiled down only into a singular picture of guys lying face down on the street just because one guy failed to get the goddamn message. Truly, this country is all about surprises, but full of irony nonetheless.

Come and get us, Congressman... uhh... hey, what's that guy's  name again?

If you liked that, you might also want to know the other things that rocked our lives in Why Science Will Kick Religion's Ass and the Government in 10 Things You Should Know When Someone's Blowing Off Our Buses. Also, you might want to know why Batman rocks in Only Human First Part: Why Batman Is Awesome and Only Human Second Part: A Guide On How To Become Batman.

No comments: