Can we stop celebrating idiocy, please?

Also… aren’t you at university to improve your job prospects?

Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief Ω

A screencap from Rebecca Dagley's neknomination video. Image from YouTube

A screencap from Rebecca Dagley’s neknomination video. Image from YouTube

I’ve done some stupid things in my time.

I’m not going to put them all down here for the entire world to see, though. I’m not proud of them, I’ve moved past them and they weren’t for public consumption in the first place, so why would I share them now?

This is one of my main issues with this whole “neknomination” craze that’s seemingly sweeping the world.

It’s confusing to me.

I’m not confused about people doing stupid things, or people daring others to do even stupider things, even. But why people would do these stupid things, and dare other people to increase the stupid level of those things on video then and put it on the Internet is what baffles me.

You really want to show the world that you’re capable of making really bad decisions in your life?

You want everyone to know that you don’t have enough self-restraint to say, “Wait, maybe that’s a bad idea,” when one of your friends asks you to do something dumber than what they just did?

Also, assuming you’re attending a post-secondary institution to increase your job prospects, it seems counterintuitive to your goal to broadcast to the entire world that you make some terrible and dangerous decisions on occasion – and that you make those decisions with enough forethought to have someone there to record it when you do.

“Everyone will go as far as they want to,” Rebecca Dagley, whose video of herself stripping to her underwear in a supermarket in Britain before chugging a beer, said in the Leicester Mercury, “nobody is forcing anyone to do anything.”

I suppose that’s where the Darwinism aspect of it comes in for some people. You see a lot of comments on stories about neknomination that basically say, in one form or another, “Natural selection will sort these idiots out.”

I’ll admit to having a fraction of that thought when I first heard about it, but it’s certainly not the way I want the world to think. “If enough of them die, they’ll see the folly of their ways,” or, “Do we want stupid people to live, anyway?” is not how I want the world to think.

I’d like it if we could harvest the power of social media – the driving force behind these ridiculous crazes – for good. If people got as much traffic and attention for doing good things and fewer people paid attention when people do stupid things, we could maybe change the culture of the whole “15 minutes of Internet fame,” that causes these trends.

Maybe if we shot videos of people doing good things for each other and daring others to do something even better for someone else, we’d have a better society. Sure, it wouldn’t be “dangerous,” but it would certainly be edgy, as it would definitely be out of the mainstream.

Wait… that’s a thing, too!

“A counter-movement to a potentially dangerous online drinking game appears to be growing in Halifax,” says the first line of a CTV article posted Feb. 6.

Alyssa Roy of Mount Saint Vincent University was “nominated” in a friend’s neknomination video, and decided to use the opportunity to do something positive.

“Raknomination” (for “random acts of kindness nomination”) is something I can get behind, and you should, too.

Think about what looks better to a future employer: when they look up your name on the Internet because you applied for a job, and they see you in your underwear in the snow drinking a concoction of mayonnaise, beer, pinot noir and urine yelling incoherently at a camera challenging your friends to action, or buying a homeless man a fast food combo and challenging the world to be more compassionate, like 22 year-old Kat Watson of Nottingham did.

Better yet, think about the difference you could make in people’s lives if you celebrated and helped them more often than celebrating intoxication.

So here’s the long and short of it: I won’t be watching neknomination videos—every number that increases the total beside the word “views” is encouraging that idiocy.

Any time you want to point me to something online where someone is helping the world be a better place, I’ll go check it out, though.

Let’s encourage the kind of behaviour we want to be celebrated in our society, rather than secretly hoping that people who do stupid things get hurt so it changes on its own.