Stupidity and danger running nek and nek

STUPID people do stupid things.

It's a proven, logical and well- documented fact.

Stupidity is also subjective.

Is visiting McDonald's for only a salad stupid? Yes.

Is pub trivia stupid? No.

Are nek-nominations more stupid than planking? Maybe.

A variation of the chain letter, nek-nominations involve a person posting a video of themselves online while downing alcohol and nominating a few friends to follow suit.

It started with sculling a pint of beer, but has graduated to a man drinking XXXX from the toilet bowl, one girl downing a 700-millilitre bottle of Jagermeister, and another well-bred gent doing the same with a bottle of vodka.

Then there have been disgusting drink concoctions.

In one video, a man is seen knocking back a mixture of blended frozen mice, dog biscuits, dog and cat food, tuna, eggs and milk (among other things).

In another video, a man urinates into a half-full glass of alcohol and drinks it.

In one more to churn the stomach, disgraced AFL football manager Ricky Nixon - perhaps starved of attention - does his nek- nomination.

As absurdity has escalated, so has the risk.

Nominees have thieved booze at bottle stores and mixed drinking with driving.

The desire for nek-nominees to outdo themselves is probably unsurprising due to the competitive nature of drinking games and the narcissistic nature of social media.

The Tasmanian Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Council this week were concerned that nek- nominations were taking peer pressure with drinking to a whole new level.

They argued that nobody wants to be the person to break the chain, stop the fun, and deal with the subsequent taunting because of it.

This means potentially thousands of mostly young people have been compelled to be a part of nek- nominations, just to fit in.

Unfortunately, their video can be seen by more than just their nek- nominator and close friends.

You can no longer control where a photo or video of yourself may end up on the internet, and downing a drink and spraying it everywhere in a stupor is never a good look.

The network of viewers is vast.

Facebook page The Best Neknominate Videos, with former prime minister Bob Hawke as its mascot, has attracted more than 175,000 likes.

The number, which grew by 14,000 yesterday, is expanding as the Australian-born trend spreads worldwide.

As evidence that the craziness is not confined to our shores, the page's creator, Jay Anthony, told international online magazine Vice this week that he had witnessed a video where "one Welsh dude bit a baby chicken's head off".

He boasted in the interview that the creators would seek to exploit the fad with merchandise in due time.

Luckily, the rapid ageing of social media trends means that it will be old and lame by the end of the month, so until then, we should hope that it remains mostly harmless and dumb fun.

While nek-nominations might be stupid and unhealthy, and there might be dangers associated with peer pressure and hairy stunts, it is unlikely that people will die from it and most of the pain will just be felt in the liver.

It is nothing new to beer bong, shotgun a beer can, or drink it from a shoe, though it is up to people to know their own limits.

Still, the nonchalance of most people to the craze is indicative that downing a large volume of alcohol in one gulp is widely acceptable.

Matt Maloney

Matt Maloney


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