Monday, 3 February 2014

Is that a Neknominate bandwagon I hear passing?

Ireland's Minister for Communications deserves to be moved to Minister for Transport in any Cabinet reshuffle, for he rarely misses an opportunity to jump aboard a passing bandwagon.

UPDATE: among those also clambering on, in the wake of Pat Rabbitte's statement, appear to be most of the British press: see here and here and here for examples.
Minister Rabbitte and his wife.

Today's Irish Times reports that the Minister had called for a ban on the so-called internet drinking game 'Neknominate', whereby you film yourself necking a drink, post the video to Facebook, and then nominate someone else to do the same thing.

It all sound harmless enough, right?  Well, it probably would be, in a normal country with a normal relationship with alcohol.  However, Irish and British people do not have a normal relationship with alcohol, so instead of sun-drenched Australians cross-dressing in bikinis and downing a bottle of Victoria Lager, or attempting to down a beer while water-skiing, we get people downing pints of vodka and biting the head off a dead chicken, downing pints of whisky, and downing beers and then getting into a flooded river.

Sadly, these last two 'Neknominations' appear to have led to the deaths of at least one, and possible two (the circumstances surrounding the whiskey-drinking 'Neknomination' are in dispute) young men in Ireland, which has prompted the Minister to lead the charge of "something must be done!"

Irish Times, 2nd February 2014
Now, Neknomination is not really my cup of tea, so don't expect videos to be posted here of me doing a naked handstand in Whole Foods car-park downing gallon or rum.  But the problem, it seems to me, is not the 'game/craze'phenomenon' or whatever you want to call it, but stupidity.  Let's recap, and take Neknominate out of the equation.

  • Downing a pint of whiskey, under any circumstances is a bad, stupid and potentially life-threatening thing to do.
  • Jumping into a flooded river, under any circumstances, is a bad, stupid and potentially life-threatening thing to do.
  • Inviting anyone to do any of the above means you are a cretin who deserves a bit of sense beaten into you (metaphorically of course, you understand).

Instead of calling for Neknomination to be banned from Facebook, which is a completely empty and meaningless gesture designed to make it look that the Minister with responsibility for the internet is doing something, why doesn't he use the power of his office and media to remind people not to do fucking stupid things, drunk or sober?

Calling for a ban on Neknominate because of the tragic events I have mentioned above, is like like calling for a ban on 'Paper, Scissors, Stone' because instead of scissors, someone one day suggested using a chainsaw.  A real one.

UPDATE: Someone has reminded me that I was a fan of Pat Rabbitte's not so long ago, and indeed it is true.  Watch the clip below from 2010, from 0:50 to 2:10, when (the then) opposition Labour Party spokesman Pat Rabbitte appeared on RTÉ's Primetime alongside Fianna Fáil Minister Pat Carey.

It's good to see a bit of passion in politics now and again!

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