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Harlem Shake: Funny or another meme gone too far?

For those not familiar with it, the “Harlem Shake” is the latest internet meme.

For those not familiar with it, the “Harlem Shake” is the latest internet meme. It features the 2012 hip hop record “Harlem Shake” by Baauer and starts off with one person, usually masked, dancing on their own before the bass drops in the song and they are joined by a large crowd in weird and colourful costumes also dancing.

Already people across the world are replicating it particularly at University campuses. After all it involves seemingly spontaneously dancing in an otherwise mundane scene in weird costumes. It is fun for those taking part, a few seconds of fame and fun. It provides light entertainment for those watching and of course more royalties for Baauer.

However with so many replications so far, many are questioning how long the trend will last. One video of it looks pretty much the same as every other and once the viewer knows what is going to happen, mainly that a large crowd will join in, a large part of the entertainment value goes down. Once you’ve heard the punchline to a joke, it is not longer funny.

The original Harlem Shake dance actually has little resemblance to the meme itself and was a dance that became popular that began in the borough of Harlem in New York. It was originally called the “Albee” by the dance’s creator Al B who described it as a “drunken shake”. The current Harlem Shake meme bears very little resemblance to the real Harlem Shake. It’d be like someone creating a new Gangnam Style dance in 30 years, it is just not right.

That is not the only outrage the Harlem Shake has caused. Recently a group of students flying from Denver, Colorado to San Diego, California replicated the Harlem Shake at 30,000 feet. It is currently being investigated after safety concerns of so many people dancing at that altitude even though everyone on the plane landed safely.

Flash mobs became popular in 2003 when the term was coined. The first ever flash mob was in Manhattan of June that year and was created by Wasik who planned it as a social experiment. Flash mobs also quickly spread around the world in much the same way as the “Harlem Shake” with everyone wanting to be a part of the latest trend. It is not too dissimilar from everyone wanting to wear skinny jeans or have an iphone.

One thing flash mobs and the Harlem Shake do is unite people. In a world where we are all too afraid to speak to strangers and are absorbed in our own lives, it is refreshing to see people come together to watch or join in flash mobs. For a few moments, those strangers have something in common and may bring them closer together.

Ever since the recession started, the mood of the country has been morose. It is no wonder that stand up comedy has grown in popularity in recent years. So it is no surprise that people want to have fun and be entertained and take a few moments out of their stressful lives, not to mention be a part of a global phenomenon.

What do you think of the Harlem Shake? Has it maintained its popularity or do you think it has gotten out of hand? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.