By now, you’ve scrolled past a few Mannequin Challenges on your news feed. The mannequin challenge requires participants to freeze like mannequins as the camera pans across the room to the smooth sounds of Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles.” If you are not familiar, here is all that it entails:
The Mannequin Challenge has found its way to where the air is sweet… pic.twitter.com/FXHbiWYeB0
— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) November 15, 2016
It might be the least difficult challenge the world has ever seen. It requires minimal set up and is 100x safer than planking. I would argue that the mannequin challenge is the most 2016 thing to happen in the 319 days we have had so far in this year of our Lord.
Not the previous election.
And certainly not all these Joe Biden memes.
Just like “The Rachel” haircut evokes 1995 and hover boards immediately remind us of 2015, the mannequin challenge is all things 2016. The captured video is like a pre-planned museum exhibit for future historians. It is an actual preservation of our current mindset.
This is a challenge that has a very low level of difficulty. Hillary Clinton had the fortitude to complete this “strenuous” challenge after months out on the campaign trail. At least the cinnamon challenge takes a strong palette. The cheerio challenge takes great patience and balance. The mannequin challenge is for a bunch of wimps. The challenge would be more precisely named, the mannequin assembly.
Calling it a challenge is problematic. The real reason people attempt the “challenge” is to say they did it and post their accomplishment on social media. Much like going to brunch on Sunday or getting the donuts with the prettier sprinkles, the mannequin challenge is completed just for the sake of saying you did it and getting a few likes.
Notice, there isn’t a charity connected to the challenge. The call to arms isn’t to raise awareness for catatonic cats or people traumatized by Tyra Bank’s movie Life Size. At least the water bucket challenge, although equally annoying, lead to some medical breakthroughs for ALS. The mannequin challenge is just empty pandering for likes.
The challenge also mirrors something else that is very 2016, the lonely cameraman. Sometime soon we are going to get a lengthy think piece from someone at Vulture explaining how the lone cameraman symbolizes our dependence on technology and documenting life experiences and not actually experiencing them.
One of the last pieces of the 2016 mannequin challenge puzzle is the person who inevitably flinches. This year has had numerous examples of someone flinching, blinking, losing, blowing a 3-1 lead or letting others down. Although the challenge is flawed and pointless, it can serve as a little memento to help us remember all of the good (and bad) times of 2016.
I’m just waiting for the ultimate mannequin challenge from all the employees at Madame Tussaud. Until then, I will be patiently scrolling through the news feed for the next ridiculous internet challenge to take its place.