A novel drinking craze sweeping the U.K. and Ireland may be the closest thing to a subculture young people have after punk and other fringe scenes have been subsumed by entertainment capitalism.
Clive Martin writes at Vice:
NekNomations, the cinnamon challenge, milking, turning up at parties in blackface. For many, these internet-led crazes are the definitive proof that young people in Britain have hit an all-time zenith of stupidity, an absolute cultural zero, the point where no form of intelligence can survive. To the broadsheet commentariat, the people involved – and, in particular, the people who’ve died – are tragic victims of an increasingly banal society, a depleted culture that treasures mindless peacocking over changing things for the better. To the tabloids, they’re just fucking numpties who spend too much time on the internet.
It’s easy to sympathise with both points. Watch the NekNomination videos of people drinking pints full of live goldfish, or dead mice, or stripping in supermarkets, or riding horses into supermarkets (these things always catch on in the countryside eventually), and you can’t help but wonder if British youth haven’t lost the plot a bit. Why now, in our hyper-developed, information-obsessed culture, are young people doing this?
… [W]hile the left and right find a kind of middle ground in astonishment, not many people are trying to understand the appeal of NekNominate. I think that perhaps – in their own tasteless, Scream pub kind of way – these internet trends offer some kind of identity to people. I think that this is what we have instead of subcultures now.
Read more and see a disgusting photo of one of the many consequences of NekNominate here.