It is not an item, or an invention of sorts, but the craze of ‘planking’ was strangely a big cultural emergence of 2011, with ‘plankers’ taking to Facebook and YouTube with their ‘acheivements’ in laying-down. Regardless of its absurdity, though, all things seem to have an origin, so who was the ‘inventor’ of planking?
While the ‘act’ of pretending to be a plank of wood (done by lying face-down and rigidly in a crowded or unusual location), only broke out under its current name last year (with the term originating from Australia), a number of people or groups lay claim to having founded it.
A number of these (one from South Korea in 2003 (‘playing dead game’), France in 2004 (‘a plat venre’ – on one’s belly), and Australia in 2008 (extreme lying down)) can be noted as just renaming or re-launching the craze, with the earliest dated claim coming from Canadian comedian Tom Green, who believes that it was his original idea back in 1994.
Whether or not it was true, ‘planking’ began to take off with the world of social networking, as English pair Gary Langdon & Christian Clarkson set up a Facebook page for ‘the lying down game’ in 2006, when the movement (or lack of) started to take off (and at the time of writing has around 100,000 ‘fans’ worldwide compared to over 175,000 for the ‘Planking Australia’ page set up in 2011), although the duo claim to have started ‘planking’ with each other in 2000, and are also said to hold the official copyright papers to the ‘The Official Lying Down Game’.
While it is unknown how long ‘planking’ will remain popular for amongst people who have little in the brain cells department, it can be laughed at by non-participants even in its prime, as this compilation video of the best ‘plankers’ demonstrates: