Dude, I can totally plank that!

Planking is a meme that has become extremely popular in the past few years, though it seems to have originated more than a decade ago. Interesting enough, this meme doesn’t really involve any mental effort whatsoever. You don’t need to think, you don’t need to discuss, you don’t need any particular environment in order to propagate this meme. What do you need to do? Mimic a plank. That’s all; just mimic a plank of wood. 

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A man planking infront of Lady Liberty.

Planking is a trend that was claimed to be started by a comedian name Tom Green in the early 90’s. All he did was lay down on a sidewalk without moving. Boom. One simple, and pointless, idea has triggered a cultural meme where planking has become a widespread form of comedy. It is replicated the same way, with one or two additional rules. People lay down in random places, with their heads facing the ground and their hands touching their sides. This confirms that this meme is definitely one that includes a behavioral component. As time has spread, though, planking has almost become a game. People try to go beyond the last person by finding a more difficult, and sometimes more dangerous location to plank on.

For this meme, the memetic equivalent of orgasm in planking would be when someone planks in a uniquely different and equally strange location. The more random these locations are, the more laughs they cause. This has a lot to do with why this meme has been so widely replicated. For one, this meme does not require any knowledge or thought, as all you have to do is lay down. Another reason is simply because planking is not location specific. You can plank anywhere and everywhere, technically.

This meme is definitely part of a larger memeplex. Stemming from planking, there are are many other random acts that have been given birth to, one of which includes owl-ing. This meme involves sitting perched like an owl on random locations. In essence, the meme boils down to do something random in even more random locations. This contributes to one of the most exciting aspects of this meme: the entire world is your playground. You can plank virtually anywhere. At the same time, this notion has also attracted much criticism. As more and more people are planking, the competitive nature of humans has also been building, which has been leading to people planking in more remote and dangerous locations. In some cases, planking has even resulted in death due to this.

The cultural meme of planking has been growing rapidly in the past few years. Where would you plank?

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