Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

Shawnee Mission West's online student newspaper

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Planking Pastime


We investigate the craze that skyrocketed to fame this summer and find the best places to plank at West.

It’s a fad that has quickly spread from a localized, unknown game to a worldwide craze. Its extremely simple premise has sparked an astonishing amount of controversy and debate. Its name has surprising and horrifying origins. It’s been called pointless and racist by some, and entertaining by others. It’s a trend that has gripped the attention of many West students. It’s planking.

To those not familiar with planking, otherwise known as the (astonishingly creative) Lying Down Game, the rules are quite simple. Planking is the practice of lying completely flat and face down in front of, on top of, under, or around unusual places. To plank, press your arms against your sides and keep your feet together. Once the planking position is assumed, have a friend take a picture and post it online to exhibit your superior planking abilities to the entire world (or at least your friends on Facebook).

The origins of planking as a fad have been disputed. The comedian Tom Green claims to have video evidence that he invented planking in the early 1990s, whereas there are numerous other claims that it originated in the late 1990s in England or Australia. Planking was, however, a relatively unknown practice until this past summer.

Its popularity skyrocketed after two events in the Queensland region of Australia brought it first national, then worldwide, publicity. On May 13, 2011, a 20 year-old man was arrested and charged with being found on police property without a lawful excuse after planking on a police car. Two days later, a 20 year-old man by the name of Acton Beale fell seven stories to his death while attempting to plank on a apartment balcony. This unfortunate event garnered attention from the media and even inspired the Australian prime minister to comment. Despite the tragic surroundings, all the publicity caused planking’s popularity to take off.

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Recently, planking has received negative remarks from many public figures after the name’s origin was revealed. The term “planking” was supposedly used to describe the horrid conditions slaves were subjected to on the long Middle Passage to the Americas. Slaves were chained to “plank beds” with little or no room to move for the entirety of the voyage.
In spite of the dangers and accusations surrounding planking, the fad has continued to be immensely popular. Why, you ask? Well, we have no clue. Maybe it has something to do with its almost universal appeal. People of all ages, races, and levels of intelligence can participate. Maybe it captivates that immature sense of humor that no one ever completely outgrows. For some inexplicable reason, people just love planking.

So we decided that the time has come to bring the craze to West. In our search for the best places to plank in school, we had plenty of fun roaming the halls. But it’s important to remember that there is a time and place for planking. Please don’t use this article as an excuse for planking when or where you shouldn’t be. It’s important to remember that while planking can be a lot of fun, it can also be very dangerous if pushed too far.

So what is the future of planking? Many believe that it will come and go quickly like many other fads. But there are also signs that the game is here to stay. A number of celebrities, politicians, and pro athletes have become self-proclaimed plankers. And there are multiple spinoffs of the game, such as owling and teapotting, that are quickly gaining popularity. Whatever the future may hold, we’re jumping on the planking bandwagon while it still exists.

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Planking Pastime