There have been lots of headlines about the Nek Nominate craze in the past week, and plenty of people and organisations weighing into the argument about what it all means and how it can be stopped.
For those that don’t know, it is a craze where people film themselves drinking ridiculous/dangerous concoctions, and then nominate another candidate to do the same, usually with increased risk and quantity of booze.
The media loves this sort of story. It is a recognisable craze, which comes with its own shocking footage, and the deaths that have been associated with it are genuinely alarming. Added to that, it is a craze which has floated up from the murkier depths of the internet, which always makes it a story. Maybe it is even tempting to imagine that without these new technologies, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
The phenomenon was supposed to have started as a joke in Australia, another nation with a fixation on drinking bravado, though perhaps not as heavy drinking on us (more on geography to come in a later post).
There have been calls for Facebook and Twitter to intervene in some way. I doubt whether this would actually be effective however, and any warning messages might even encourage it more.
It’s a long time since I would have contemplated drinking two pints of gin, and even when I did, it would have been over a (reasonably) longer period of time than the seconds it takes to down them. I still can’t help but think such things take hold in cultures which already have a bravado around drinking.
Why wouldn’t this take off on the internet, in a place where people routinely get bullied into doing shots on a Friday night, or even drinking in rounds, which generally pushes everyone to drink at the same pace as the fastest person?