The Art of NekNomination

Oooh – a craze – let’s blindly follow it.  Or not.  Either way, these internet-based phases are bound to rub some people up the wrong way.  Now, however, people are dying, and the resulting carnage is being blamed on a meme which is largely innocent.

For those who don’t know, let me explain what NekNominate is. Simply put, one person receives a nomination, has a drink (a pint of beer) on camera, and nominates two people to do the same.  They then post it on YouTube of Facebook.  Can you see now, why this is such a terribly dangerous activity.  For many years I have been going to the pub and having a pint, without realising that on EVERY SINGLE OCCASION I was dicing with death.  I thought I was enjoying a few refreshing suds.

But now parents across the country, indeed the world, are blaming this stunt – I will repeat – drinking a pint of beer – for the deaths of their kids.  Tragic it may be, but one pint of beer does not kill the huge, indeed vastest majority of people.  OK, if you have an allergy to the old booze, probably best not to do it.  But even the most featherweight of drinkers are not going to fall in to an alcohol induced coma as the result of a pint of the landlord’s finest.

No.  What IS killing these poor, backwards wretches is stupidity.  Fatalities come in a number of guises, but stupidity is a deciding factor in the majority of these.  Drinking a pint is drinking a pint.  It is NOT drinking a pint and then jumping in to a river.  It’s not downing a beverage, and then ‘chasing’ it with a bottle of vodka.  The one-upmanship is fine, but killing yourself in the process is really hoisting yourself by your own petard.  Or ‘retard’ – as The Thick Of It would have it, probably justifiably in this case.

A friend – who will remain nameless – dealt with his NekNomination in style.  He poured a pint of Guinness, waited for it to settle while explaining what NekNominate was, then drank said pint (in about two seconds – he may be sensible but he’s no slouch) and nominated two friends to continue the chain.  That was a textbook NekNominate.  Well done.  He didn’t then stab himself in the chest, drown himself by taking a walking holiday on the Somerset Levels, or have a drain-cleaner chaser.  In other words, he imbibed a pint, and then inexplicably failed to kill himself.  If only everyone else could be so sensible.

Losing a friend or family member so young is a tragedy.  I would like to say I was spared such anguish in my youth, but like the vast majority of us I lost my first friend before the age of 20.  A school friend dropped dead on a sunny weekend afternoon, and for a while the world became a darker place.  So no, tragedy did not leave me behind.  On the other hand, we didn’t seek it out either.  I know how some of these people are feeling, and I sympathise.  I really do.  But please, stop blaming these torturous, painful bereavements on a craze – it’s the stupidity which has taken its toll, not a nomination.  And blaming the person who nominated them is surely causing far more grief for them than it is saving for yourself.  Consider this – if you are a parent who has brought up a child who – when challenged to do so by a member of their peers – will jump off a riverbank in to a raging torrent, who has really failed here?

The question my mother used to ask on these sorts of occasions rears its little head.  “Well, if Gareth jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”  I never knew this would be taken literally.

The only thing we can do to prevent these deaths is ban people from filming themselves having a drink.  I don’t see how that is possible within a free society.  Of course, a knee jerk parliamentary reaction may be to ban alcohol, which I am not willing to consider at the moment.  Or – and here’s a thought – stop being fucking idiots.

Here’s how I first phrased this on the demon Facebook:

“Drinking a pint can be dangerous if you inhale it. Downing a pint can kill you if it is overproof rum or everclear. Life has risks and we manage them using intelligence.

If you down a beer, that risk is tiny. Doing the same and then jumping in to a freezing cold river or running across a 6 lane highway increases the risk exponentially.

Neknominations may be a little childish, but they can be a bit of fun too. They don’t kill people. In fact, I’ve seen them done in an entertaining and mature way. Thanks for showing us the way, Chico. No, it’s not drinking 20 ounces of 4-6% abv beer (for US citizens, 2-4%) that kills people. Being a dickhead kills people.

So, when in doubt, remember this handy little guide:

Don’t be a knobber.

Simple, eh?

Enjoy your beer. Whatever speed you drink it at.”



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