It was with great shock that I woke up this morning and started looking through the daily news to find that so-called "neknominations" had not figured in it. Immediately my reaction was to think to myself "ah, but this is the ABC! It does not dare talk about the youth" and so off I trudged into the loungeroom, parking my bum on the chair, ready to digest the commercial nightmare that is National Nine News. Minutes apart, yet another shock. Nothing there.
Very rarely do Facebook fads pervade my newsfeed so badly that I begin writing the news stories in my head. Neknomination provided the year's first opportunity to do so, and so Tracey Grimshaw barged her way in between my ears and started prattling on "And now, the new and real danger on Facebook that could affect your children. Neknomination is the latest Facebook craze putting everyone at danger. Children as young as 12 are posting videos of themselves participating in binge drinking then encouraging their mates to do the same, some with nearly deadly consequences".
In true form, imaginary Tracey pumped her story with a big and 100% Australian dose of hyperbole and bullshit. This time, however, I couldn't help but agree with her a little bit; even if that did mean agreeing with myself, technically.
Neknominations aren't the stupid kind of ridiculous, like that handbag thing that was somehow supposed to promote breast cancer awareness by only letting women know what it meant (remember the one, with the "I like it on the ______"). Neknominations are dangerous and should provoke a legitimate response from Facebook.
Australia already struggles with its drinking culture, despite the fact that is quite broadly lauded by the populous. Neknominations provide a timely reminder that Australia's culture of binge drinking is endemic and will require a significant policy response to correct. More broadly, a cultural change must occur, one that sees alcohol grouped with illicit drugs. The damage is too great, it's time to act.
EDIT: I was a little bit apprehensive about being seen as a fun-killing prude when posting this. My views about alcohol are often at odds with most people—I don't like it and would happily see it go, but I do still believe in to each their own in this respect. With that said, only a few minutes after I posted this I was greeted with another Neknominate video. This time it was of someone downing a glass of goon, as is required of them, in front of their young brother and sister (only about 4-6) who were giggling all the way through. Feeling a lot less apprehensive about my opinions now.