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Time to move on to the next fad

March 3, 2013
By CRAIG HOWELL , Weirton Daily Times

When I was a kid, my peers were crazy about slap bracelets, comic book trading cards, video game watches and high bounce balls.

There was always some gimmicky toy or activity just around the corner, and everyone just had to have it, even if it meant saving up all of your allowance for weeks in order to buy the item yourself.

These days, while I'm sure there is that absolutely amazing toy or gadget kids feel they can't live without, fads have become much more advanced thanks to our technological advancements with things like digital photography and video and the Internet.

A few years ago, there was the big "planking" fad, where people would take a picture of themselves laying face down, balancing themselves on some object and then post it online.

Then, thanks to a now infamous move by a particular pro football quarterback, there was "Tebowing." People would post pictures kneeling down as if they were praying, mimicking the football player.

Those both went on for several months until they were pretty much jokes and had run their course.

Then the next thing came around, just as always happens with the circle of fads.

The difference between then and now is that fads tend to wear themselves out more quickly before we're ready for the next thing to start.

When I was little, for example, a good fad could easily last us a year, possibly even longer before we were ready to disavow and knowledge of the item or action, let alone acknowledge we had ever owned said item or performed said action.

I think part of it was because we were a little more isolated and didn't always realize just how far it had all gone.

With the Internet and social media, however, we can easily see people all over the nation or world taking part.

It no longer seems unique, and when things aren't unique they tend to not be as fun, especially for the younger of us.

In recent weeks, and yes, it's only been a few weeks since most of us took notice, there has been a large fad making its way around cyberspace.

It's called the Harlem Shake.

Now, I could take the time to sit here and do a bunch of research into how it got its name, or why people decided to do it, or where it started, but, to be honest I really don't care because most people are already bored and are starting to move on.

Here's the gist, though, a video starts with one person standing in the middle of a room, usually wearing a mask and goofy costume, dancing around with all the others acting as if they don't notice that person.

The video cuts and everyone in the room is suddenly wearing goofy costumes and masks and doing goofy dances.

I myself only heard about it maybe two weeks ago, and at that point I read comments from people saying how tired it had gotten.

Time to move on.

I'm sure the first few times it was done, everyone had a good time watching it. But then, everyone had to try it out. Everyone had to put their own spin on it, and it became stale.

I've seen videos of college kids hanging out in their dorms doing the Harlem Shake.

I've seen videos of firefighters sitting in the cab of a firetruck.

I've seen videos of television news anchors, reporters and producers while on set. (although I'm sure it wasn't done during a broadcast)

Apparently, even members of the Miami Heat basketball team have put a video out there.

Late last week, NBC News did a segment about a group of college lacrosse players who had done a Harlem Shake video while on an airplane, getting the other passengers and the flight crew involved.

I'm sorry, but when a national media outlet starts reporting on incidents of a fad, unless it's to warn of possible deadly consequences, it's time to move on.

This is probably one of the biggest fads to have gone out of style so quickly.

I wouldn't be surprised to wake up Monday morning and find some new thing has started to pop up on Youtube or Twitter, and within a few weeks no one will remember doing this one.

I'm not sure what the next fad will be. Who knows, maybe it will even be created by someone in our own area.

But let's just go ahead and bring it on now. I think it's beyond time.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

 
 

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