Horsemanning Destined for Internet Death
By Carmel Lobello Friday, August 12, 2011
( not-to-be-missed slideshow here)
This week’s new posing meme—Headless Horsemanning—is like planking only slighly less inane, and thus immensely less popular.
Last week, when viewing a picture of 85 year-old Hugh Hefner attempting the viral trend planking, it occurred to me that planking might be popular because it kind of looks like death, and we as humans are perpetually fascinated with mortality.
I was mostly kidding. But then this week coughed up a new death-referencing posing meme called Headless Horsemanning (or Horse-manning, or Horsemaning), which seems to be taking the internet by storm.
The pose involves at least two people, sometimes three, and requires one to show her body while hiding her head, while the other hides her body and shows her head a few feet away.
The two posers create the illusion of one person having her head severed from her body like Washington Irving’s Headless Horseman, minus a horse.
This new trend marks a sharp turn in the evolution of inane internet memes.
Planking begot owling, which was slightly less boring than its predecessor, simply because it challenged people to mimic a living thing, rather than an inanimate object. It was also shorter lived, because on the internet the lifespan of any given thing tends to be in inverse proportion of how interesting it is.
Planking also begot Leisure Diving, which also lived only briefly but for different reasons. Leisure diving, in which a person strikes a relaxed pose while jumping into a pool, requires an in-ground pool and works best if the person is wearing expensive-looking clothes. These things have been sharply out of style since around October 2008.
Headless Horsemanning, which overtly reminds us of death and dying, better reflects our current times, in which the news is predominantly morbid. It is also more evolved than owling, because rather than mimicking an animal, it mimics a fantastical creature.
Horsemanning is appropriate in all places—public, private, mundane and exceptional—and unlike planking, it conjures death without requiring anyone to risk his life.
But the best thing about horsemanning is that while it’s about a fictional zombie, it’s actually life-affirming because it’s social. Not social media social, but actually social because it requires cooperation between two people who are physically together to pull it off.
Unfortunately, Horsemanning probably won’t be around for long. It’s a literary reference, something most of the web seems to loathe, and it actually is (relatively) funny and interesting, which ensures that it will soon become uncool.