Thursday 19 May 2011

Words and Phrases that Baffle Me

There's been quite a bit in the papers lately about a new activity called 'planking', which involves people having themselves photographed while lying face down on things - or sometimes (and it is this that has aroused the media's interest) having themselves photographed as they attempt to lie face down on something, but instead falling off and dying (tragic, yes, but idiotic also).

This in itself is baffling (why are they doing this, when they could be reading Proust in the original, you may ask; certainly, that is the question that poses itself to me constantly as I trudge my way through the modern world.) Anyway, even more baffling, as far as I'm concerned, was the statement made by an expert in the world of 'planking' when he spoke on the radio yesterday morning. This is what he said, when the interviewer asked him whether it was possible to just plank or whether having the picture taken and then uploaded onto Facebook was also vital to the activity: 'Well, the thing you have to understand is that planking is all about mediating the self.'

'Mediating the self' - what does it mean? I have no idea.

Never mind - at least the people writing letters to the Australian seem to be getting some pleasure from the phenomenon:


  1. In the state of Virginia, a big annual political event is the Shad Planking. I suppose the shad are photographed first, some of them anyway, but mostly they're cooked and eaten.

  2. Well, I have never heard of planking ... I clearly need to visit your blog more often ... I've been sadly remiss of yore and decided in this little moment of peace in our Japan trip I'd visit you. I'm not sure now that I'm glad I did!

  3. Maybe you might find this of interest. I wrote it in response to your posting above!
    "The beginning and the end of plankdom"

  4. George - I toyed with the idea of setting up a Facebook page and photographing lots of fish and calling it Shad Planking, so I could prove to you that even shad have to mediate themselves, but it turned out to be easier just to tell you about it.
    Whispering, it's all the go over here at the moment but, as Denis says in his post - - it won't be by tomorrow. Enjoy your travels

  5. Ah, yes. Mediation of the self. I tend to mediate myself with ice cream, which, in the end, might prove more dangerous than planking.

  6. I look forward to photographs on Facebook, Chris

  7. Z: You can find the Virginian version at The shad (mediated by somebody else, I think) are less in evidence than the politicians, but still there are pictures of the planked shad.

    "Mediating the self" must mean if anything "displaying oneself in the media".