Australian Import “Planking” Surges in Popularity: But Why?

It may be time to pull the phrase “kids these days!” out of the mothballs.  A new trend out of Australia, known as “planking,” encourages lying stiff as a board, face down, in increasingly outlandish places while a friend snaps a photo. Cars, railings, even the Taj Mahal, are all fair game for planking, with the only rule being “the crazier the better.”  Like George Mallory before them, plankers do it because it’s there, or more accurately, because they can. Facebook is inundated with photos of planking and pages dedicated to the new “sport” are receiving tens of thousands of “likes” on the popular social networking site.  Even Australian television news anchors are planking on their shows. But as planking grows in popularity plankers are trying to outdo each other with increasingly dangerous stunts.  Videos of planking on railroad tracks or on moving cars are showing up on YouTube.  The first planking fatality occurred in Australia when 20-year-old Acton Beale fell 7 stories after attempting to plank on a 2-inch wide balcony railing.  Australian authorities are hoping the tragedy will discourage others from participating in “extreme planking.”

Planking may be this generation’s pole sitting, a fad that should fade quickly with time as all fads do.  In the mean time, plank with care.