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Charlie Charlie Challenge – The Latest Way to Exorcise Intelligence from Social Media

The Sleep of Ignorance Produces Monsters

Remember in the days before MySpace, when email was pretty much the nearest thing anyone had to a social media account? A dark time for us all, I’m sure you know, but I’m finding myself more and more reminded of it of late. One particular thing that I find my mind being dragged helplessly back to is those ridiculous chain emails that used to snowball across the web like bloating clumps of pure, crystallised stupid.

You know what I’m on about, ‘The Last Girl Who Didn’t Post This Email To Her Friends In 5 Minutes Was Chopped Up By A Psycho Zombie Spider Clown And YOU’RE NEXT’, that kind of thing. I honestly thought that with the advent of Facebook and Twitter that kind of BS would cut a swift exit, but, as it turns out, internet superstition is tantamount to some kind of titanium cockroach fitted with a GPS tracker directly targeted to your faith in human kind.

Never mind the fact that those same chain emails have given way to chain Facebook posts which fulfill exactly the same role, now it seems like demonic summoning has started to catch on. Did you ever play ‘Bloody Mary’? You say the name 3 times in front of a mirror whilst flicking the light on and off and supposedly she appears. The Charlie Charlie Challenge is a bit like that, but the key difference is that people who play Bloody Mary are usually too young to remember who the president was before Obama.

It's based on a traditional Mexican 'pencil game', but the version trending online is far more condensed. You write a question on a piece of paper, then 4 possible answers below in a square grid. You balance two pencils in a + shape to intersect them and then summon ‘Charlie’. Holding the top pencil level, you say ‘Charlie, Charlie, can we play?’ For this reason the first question has to be a yes/no, so that Charlie’s demonic influence (or, you know, gravity) can determine whether or not the game can be allowed to continue. Only then can you ask Charlie what the future holds for One Direction.

It’s completely harmless in isolation, and I take no issue with people pretending that a Mexican demon is talking to them but it’s another depressing example of how unevenly weighted towards irrelevant nonsense ‘trending’ really is. It’s true that most of the other popular ‘challenge’ trends have been a hell of a lot worse, ranging from downing drinks to setting yourself on fire (not even kidding), but this one has gotten to the point where Catholic priests are speaking out against it for fear that the whole world will descend into some chaotic phantom free-for-all like that scene near the end of Ghostbusters.

The thing that’s been keeping this thing going for so long is that the answers in many cases have become increasingly sinister, befitting some kind of malevolent (or demonic) (or completely random) force. Truth be told, while I lament the fact that something like this has reached the point where it makes international news, when even a few years ago even a local news feature on it would have been utterly preposterous, it does neatly highlight the fact that just because global connectivity has skyrocketed, and half the world has more information than they could absorb in 1000 lifetimes at their fingertips, there will always be idiots, and they will always be loud. 

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Charlie Charlie Challenge – The Latest Way to Exorcise Intelligence from Social Media Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, May 28, 2015 Rating: 5

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