Planking | Tebowing | Bradying



Planking in a field

Planking (or the Lying Down Game) is an activity consisting of lying face down —sometimes in an unusual or incongruous location. Both hands must touch the sides of the body.[1] Some players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play.[1] The term planking refers to mimicking a wooden plank. Planking can include lying flat on a flat surface, or holding the body flat while it’s supported in only some regions, with other parts of the body suspended. Many participants in planking have photographed the activity in unusual locations and have shared such pictures through social media.





The first recorded occurrence of planking was in 1994 when Tom Green performed a stunt he called “Dead Guy” for a cable TV show, which consisted of Green lying down on an Ottawa sidewalk without moving. Green, who was in an MTV show in the 1990s, is a comedian known for his pranks. He informed CNN about this video evidence and how it did not air on the show, stating that it was “a very obscure piece of video.”[2] Tom tweeted “Just found video of me #planking in 1994. I will post it soon. Let people know. :)” on July 12, 2011.[3]


However the video sketch was never aired. So when, in 1997, two bored school boys in Taunton started lying face-down in public places to amuse themselves and baffle onlookers they could not have known of Green’s stunt. Gary Clarkson (then aged 15) and Christian Langdon (then aged 12) called it the “lying down game”. As Clarkson puts it, “It was just a really stupid, random thing to do.”[4][5]


The Lying Down Game remained within Clarkson and Langdon’s circle of friends until 2007, when their friend Daniel Hoppin created a Facebook page for their craze. As Hoppin says, “We began a Facebook group to see who could get the craziest photo.”[5]


Explaining the purpose of the act Hoppin adds, “Because it’s utterly ridiculous. If you go on holiday, you take a photo of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. We thought it would be hilarious if you’re not interested and lying down instead.”[5]


After reports of the craze in the British media in 2009, [6][7] the lying down game spread to the rest of the world.


The term planking was coined by Sam Weckert, a carpenter living in South Australia, “Planking was a term myself and two other mates came up with roughly in the summer of 2008 or 2009”.[5] Weckert created a Facebook fan page to share “plank” photos. After reports of the practice started appearing in the Australian media it grew rapidly and the meme became a global phenomenon.


Worldwide it has also been known as “extreme lying down” (2008, Australasia), “facedowns” (2010, USA and Ireland),[8][9] and “planking” (2011, Australia, New Zealand and worldwide).[10]


Variations (which appear to have arisen independently) include:


  • “시체놀이” (“playing dead”) (2003, South Korea),[11] where participants play dead. Inspired by the manga character Crayon Shin-Chan.[12]


  • “à plat ventre” (“on one’s belly”, 2004, France),[13][verification needed] (2005, France)[14] where participants pose as if they fell on the ground.

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Tebow kneeling in prayer, which has since been referred to as “Tebowing”


Tebowing is a neologism for the act of kneeling on one knee in prayer with one’s head resting on one’s fist, also known as genuflecting.[147][148] It is derived from Tebow’s propensity for kneeling and praying. The origin of the phrase is credited to fan Jared Kleinstein, who posted a picture with friends on Facebook, in which they mimicked a pose of Tebow following the Broncos’ comeback overtime victory over the Dolphins on October 23, 2011.[149] The popularity of the picture led Kleinstein to set up a website showing pictures submitted by people depicting various interpretations of Tebowing all over the world.[149] After two-and-a-half months, the site received 20,000 photograph submissions and 20 million page views from 2 million unique visitors.[150] The New York Times wrote “it can be hard to tell whether [people tebowing] are celebrating or mocking [Tebow] for his virtuous ways.”[148] Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl tebowed as part of a bet with the mayor of Denver following the Broncos playoff victory over the Steelers in 2012.[151] On October 9, 2012, Tebow was awarded the trademark to Tebowing after winning a legal battle with two fans who had expressed interest in trademarking the name.[152]


Tebowing was recognized as a word in the English language by the Global Language Monitor, due to its level of worldwide usage, which was comparable to the word Obamamania (referencing President Barack Obama).[147][153] In December 2011, the life-sized wall graphics company Fathead released a “Tebowing” sticker that became the company’s best-selling product in two days.[154]


Tebowing was included as a feature in the Madden NFL 13 video game.[155]

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