Monday, August 08, 2011

Knock on (A Plank of) Wood

Almost everyone in the internet community know that planking is old school. But because of recent shifts in social media (particularly the way posts are shared on Reddit, 9gag, Memebase, Tumblr, Facebook and most recently, Google+), we could say that the plank has just been recycled.

Mixed posts and arguments float around the topic: from die-hard plankers trying to outplank one another, to wannabe-creators of new fads like owling and extreme diving, and of course, some religious and racial critics denouncing the practice.


I had some conversations with some youth leaders and fellow adults about the old-yet-relatively-new fad called 'planking.' Some just laughed it off; some didn't know anything about it; others even wanted to try it. And there were a few who believed we should avoid it altogether.

Allegedly, there seems to be several posts claiming that the origins of 'planking' started with the slave trade culture centuries ago. It depicts how black slaves were 'planked' inside a ship to maximize space. And historically, this was true.

HOWEVER, what is erroneous about the article is when it claims that this inhumane practice is the origin of the fad. (Now this is one of the reasons why the internet is not a reliable source of information). Despite the similarities, the origins the current internet meme craze has never coincided with the supposed slave trade stories. In fact, anyone capable of using Google responsibly can verify for themselves on how exactly the planking fad started.

Should we encourage planking? No. There are more fun things to do in this life... but it never hurts to be silly at times.

Should we discourage planking? No. Don't be a killjoy; it's not like they're sinning or breaking the law (except when they plan to do it on some restricted area, or a really hazardous spot). The only time we need to intervene is when we perceive that the 'fun' is not worth the risk.

So what should we do? Just like every teenage trend, it won't last long. So why be anxious about it? As adults – our basic concern and responsibility is to simply look after them. And we can do that by making sure that while they are having senseless fun, we will be there to watch out for them and prevent any accidents.

Planking isn't the first 'mindless' fad to ever get popular. And it won't be the last. Instead of focusing on the surface, why don't we try to dig deeper and understand what drives them instead of thoughtlessly attacking?

I remember one particular fun conversation I had with a good friend. I said, "Hey, the Bible is the original when it comes to planking!" I could almost imagine his eyes bulge at my almost-heretic statement, so I quickly continued. "How does one perform a plank?"

"You lie down flat with your face on the ground."

"Isn't that the same as 'lying prostrate'?"

And so to add more fun, I hurriedly did some keyword search. And come up with these:
"Then once again I planked before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and so arousing his anger." Deutoronomy 9:18
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” Then Joshua planked to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” Joshua 5:14
(There were a lot of other verses, but I'll leave that to your imagination.)  

And lastly, I said: "Christ died on two planks of wood, right? Wouldn't that mean that He's the greatest planker of them all?"

Well, he didn't sound convinced. But at least he stopped arguing about the subject.

(Oh God, forgive me for using Your Word in vain. Should I fearfully plank before You now?) >_<


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