Letter: The Neknomination Temptation

b&b logoThe next time you feel tempted to film yourself shotgunning a beer, biting off a baby chicken’s head, downing a fifth of vodka, and nominating a friend to one up you, please pause and think for a second.

Ok, are we on the same page now?

Welcome to the social drinking craze of Neknomination, where nominees are asked to film themselves “necking” drinks and nominating two other friends to do the same. It appears to have started in Australia, before spreading to Europe and Canada. Now the craze is upon us in Montreal. In the past twenty-four hours, I’ve seen at least twenty-five videos of my friends neknoming.

Twenty-five videos? Doesn’t sound like much of a social media trend… I would have agreed, had I not noticed these videos were getting hundreds of likes from my other friends. Maybe even you, my dear reader.

Although you might not have been the one chugging a two-four out of a toilet, by liking the post, you implicitly give others the encouragement to to try a similar challenge. By liking the post, you, in effect, condone your friend’s dangerous and extreme behaviour. Do you really?

We live in a generation that measures social status by the number of Facebook Likes and YouTube views a person can generate. At the core of the Neknomination craze, we find a game that can rapidly engender social media attention but also seriously hurt the individual performing the stunt. There is a precarious edge between making the most creative and daring Neknomination, and flat out killing yourself, which two people supposedly already did.

Can we learn from the tragedies of others or must we continue until one of our immediate friends gets seriously injured?

Let’s look past why posting these videos on Facebook is a bad idea and realize that drinking enough alcohol to kill oneself is stupid. I think everyone can agree with such a statement, but I can’t seem to find any friends publicly saying it. I can only find their likes, and what they say away from the public spotlight.

I was speaking to a friend who pulled me aside and told me he regretted doing the Neknomination. He gave me the sense that he was disappointed he could not make the best Neknom video and felt silly for even attempting it. He added that he did not want his parents to see him in such a state, nor would he want future employers to see the video. As McGill students, we strive to be the best, sometimes despite the costs. Recognizing when we won’t be number one can be difficult, even devastating.

My message comes in two parts. One, don’t be a ______ idiot; neknoming is a stupid _______ idea. Fill in the blanks as you find appropriate.

Two, for those of us who don’t participate in the Neknomination game but who are undoubtedly bombarded with such videos each day, show some restraint. Remember, your opinion carries weight and what you like shows a reflection of you. Forget what others may think and feel free to speak up when you get the chance. You would probably be surprised to learn that many other people agree with you. It’s your Like, so treat it as such.

And then ask yourself, do you really like watching someone drink enough alcohol to die?

Alex Rohrbach is a U3 finance major and co-captain of the McGill Redmen lacrosse team.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Bull & Bear.