Friday, July 15, 2011

Just HOW does a Twinkie being attacked by an action figure fit in here? (THIS is a THING!?)


You ever just page around the Internet, skipping from site to site, looking for something good to read or catch your attention during the slower parts of The Office reruns you've been watching lately at night after the twins go to bed?

Or is that just me?

Some nights, I'm not tired really, not sleepy tired, but I am worn out, and I don't feel like reading a book or watching a new TV show and so I sort of browse the web on my phone and sort of watch The Office and sort of just veg out, and it was while I was doing that that I read this headline:


Now Photographers Working The Home Run Derby Are Planking Too

It's kind of normal for me to read headlines and think to myself: I recognize all of the words in that sentence as being English, a language I speak good and all, and yet the sentence does not make any sense.

So I had to investigate what that headline meant, which led to today's THING that THIS is:

Planking.


But first, an explanation about the picture that accompanies this post. You may remember that when I first started THIS is a THING!? I mentioned that it seemed a bit unfair that I spent 6 years working on this blog, bringing you all kinds of interesting thoughts like this actual thought I posted just over two years ago:

Is there anyone that watched all those Star Trek episodes and movies and thought "I wonder how Kirk and Spock ever met up?"

See? That's genius. And yet, despite that obvious genius (Obvious genius is the worst kind of genius) I get less hits in a lifetime than a website that posts pictures of January Jones in yoga pants does during the time it takes me to type January Jones In Yoga Pants.

Well, I am not one of those people who sits around complaining that life is unfair and then never doing nothing about it. I am one of those people, instead, who sits around complaining that life is unfair, then tries to take a picture of a Twinkie being attacked by an action figure (long story) and then does something about that unfairness I just remembered, and the way I've decided to remedy the unfairness is to do this:



That's right. January Jones is going to be the official spokesman for THIS is a THING?!, at least until she sues me to stop doing that.

But I am also mindful that there are those readers of this blog who may prefer genders that are not January Jones, and I am also mindful that I want them to keep reading, and so for those people, I am also going to, on each of these THINGS that are a THIS!?, introduce a co-spokesman for that post. And because I am not personally able to discern the appeal of the co-spokesmans, I will rely on Sweetie's ability to pick them, going off her past Hunks Of The Week, which also lets me recycle those posts, and recycling helps save the world, so, really, I am something of a superhero this morning.

This post's co-spokesman is Simon Baker. Here he is:


Enjoy!

And now, on to Planking.

What THIS THING is, in a nutshell: Planking, from what I can see, is lying down, and then having a picture taken of you. So that Deadspin story that set me off on this journey of self-, and planking-, discovery, was accompanied by this photo:



You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out what "planking" is when you see that.

Although it might help, anyway, as Sherlock Holmes also planked:




Like everything, "planking" has a more scientific name: The Lying Down Game. I learned that from Wikipedia! Where you can also, if someone decides to do it, be labeled a suspect in the Kennedy assassination.

When did THIS THING start? That's a matter of some dispute. The Star says it was invented in 1997 by two British guys, who also get credit from iamplanking.com (which says they invented it in 2000).

But a different and I'm sure VERY authoritative website doesn't mention the British guys at all. The T-Dogg and Stinga website says this:

The word planking is a dirivetive of the word plankopace, which is Latin for "artistically displaying stiffness" & originated in the 1590's when the Dutch were ferrying exotic spices around the world via sail boat. On these year long journeys they would also ferry people trying to escape their homeland. Those not fortunate enough to afford their own living quarters would travel the year long journey in the lowest poorest part of the deck sometimes not seeing light for months at a time. As it was extremely close living arrangements, a married couple wanting to engage in a sexual encounter, in fear of being caught, would lie on each other in the plank position & let the motion of the ocean rock each other forwards and backwards therefore inventing planking. When more than one couple was planking at the same time it was called plankorgy, also inventing the orgy, which was later shortened to orgy.

Planking, or plankopace^ was later outlawed in 1633 due to rogue waves causes serious injuries & the ship doctor couldn't keep up with all the plakories as described in his tell all book, "Planking, are you in?"


Now, THAT is an origin.

Also, Tom Green, who you may remember as...

...well, as having once been someone who did something or other. I don't know anymore. I just remember that I'm supposed to remember him. Or maybe I'm not...

... Tom Green claims he invented planking, back in the 1990s. But the Washington Post, which used to matter, said planking came from the movie The Program, which might have starred Tom Green.

I'm going to have to go with T-Dogg and Stinga's explanation, since as I have already long ago established, everything* was invented in the 16th Century.
*Except pancakes on a stick.
That settles that. Nobody else need debate it. Remember, at TBOE, Our opinions are righter than yours.

When did THIS THING officially pass into pop culture?

According to that article that claims British guys invented it in 1997, the popularity of "planking" a/k/a "not doing anything, much" grew when they created a Facebook page for it in 2007. Since nobody uses Facebook anymore ever since they let your uncle on it and he kept posting those links to pages reprinting, verbatim, jokes from Totally Gross Jokes VII, I won't bother posting a screen cap of that page.

Instead, I'll move on to the scandal (?) created when a group of medical personnel at a hospital in the UK posted pictures of themselves planking on medical trolleys...

... man, I wish we lived in Great Britain. How much more awesomer is life when they wheel you into an operation on a trolley instead of a gurney?



I almost wouldn't mind them taking my spleen, under those circumstances...

...and after that scandal, of course, planking caught on around the world, because who doesn't want to do exactly what British doctors do for fun? Wait until 2013, when "voting for Tories" or "carrying umbrellas" becomes all the rage*.

*Fun fact: In the UK, umbrellas are referred to as Poppinses.

But regular people doing it does not mean it's a part of pop culture. You've got to get famous people doing it, or nobody cares.

So should people start caring? Let's see: Rappers and NBA players are planking, Australian models are planking...


... and decidedly D-list celebrities are planking; all the "celebrity" planking sites are filled with stories of "celebrities" planking but those "celebrities" always turn out to be Dax Shepherd (who inexplicably is not only in show business, but more importantly/inexplicably-er, gets to date Kristen Bell!) or Katy Perry or Flavor Flav, and these are not the people pop culture is made of; these are the people E!'s summer lineup is made of.

I was about to scrap the whole thing in favor of just posting more pictures of January and Simon, but then I came across a bona fide celebrity beloved by all Americans planking away:

(Credit to @ltsmichaelkelso for the pic.) As SpongeBob goes, so goes the WORLD.

Is THIS THING still going on? We are at the epoch... am I using that right? Epoch? Apparently, I'm close. I'm going to go with it. (Take that, Updike!) We are at the epoch of planking; that SpongeBob picture was posted June 28, 2011, which means that this is the point in time when planking is at its most popular! Go out and plank! Right now! Before it gets old and you look stupid and people say "Oh, yeah, I remember that. Huh." when you show them your pictures on your cell phone, the way people last month were saying "Oh, yeah, I remember that. Huh." about Diablo Cody's career.

And... it's over. You missed it. Sorry, people who want to plank, but you forgot the Universal Rule of What Kills A THING:

It's over when someone older than you tells you about it. So, again, I've killed it off for many people, but more damage was done by this man:



That's M. Myers Mermel, a former Republican candidate for New York governor, planking.

It's over. When Republicans do something, that thing dies.


Can You Sum Up Planking For People Who Skimmed Through This Post And Just Want A Quick Takeaway?

I can 100% guarantee you that no later than November, 2012, there will be a planking reference on one of the CSIs or Law & Orders. I will also be so bold as to say that the plot will involve someone being wrongly accused of running over her ex, when the ex was in fact, planking and got run over by some random stranger.

Or maybe it'll be on The Mentalist?



Read more THIS is a THING?!'s here.

3 comments:

Rogue Mutt said...

I heard about it a week or two ago when Sportscenter showed a group of CFL players planking after a touchdown. (Also a thing, the Canadian Football League.) Which as far as endzone "dances" go should get an F. Anyone can not move--people in comas are planking all the time!

Also, I'd like to take a plank to Simon Baker for basically stealing the whole premise of "Psych."

Michael Offutt said...

LOL...planking. My friend does this and takes pics of himself on his phone and sends them to me.

Petri Dish said...

Freddy Got Fingered is all you need to know about Tom Green. Tom Green is Tom Green.