U of R needs to stop flashing

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Oh, University of Regina. Your attempts at being hip and cool are really, really pathetic. I saw your “flash mob” during orientation and, though it was kind of cool and kind of fun, it was not a flash mob. Not at all.

Let me tell you about flash mobs. A flash mob is a mostly spontaneous and usually pointless act that happens quickly, and then those involved disperse. What you did at orientation – that little choreographed dance routine in the middle of the gym – was not a flash mob.

Listen, I had been getting those “flash-mob-practice” emails for weeks – WEEKS – during the summer. Don’t send a mass email out. Call your friends and get them to call his or her friend and he or she will call his or her friends and so on and so forth, until you have a group of random people who meet up to practice a few times and then perform a rough but sort-of-impressive piece.
There’s nothing wrong with practicing; Improv Everywhere does it all the time. These things take a lot of practice to pull off effectively and you should practice your flash mob routine.

But the routine doesn’t even have to be perfect. In fact, it’s probably better if it looks a little rough. Flash mobs are spontaneous, so they should look spontaneous. If they’re choreographed to the point where it looks like Miley Cyrus would perform something like it on MTV, then you’re missing the point.

Flash mobs are as much about location and timing as they are about performance. If you want to do a dance routine, don’t do it in a gym during orientation. People will be expecting that. Had the dance routine been in a crowded hallway, then you would have been a flash mob, or more of a flash mob than what the first-year students were presented at orientation.

Oh, and don’t alert the press or even attempt to get the word out that there’s going to be a flash mob taking place. Don’t do that. That just takes all of the flash out of a flash mob. If you alert the press, it is no longer a spontaneous social event – it’s a planned media grab.

I remember hearing on the radio one day, a few months ago, a call for participants in a flash mob. Sure, it was in response to an Ellen DeGeneres contest asking for the best flash mob in America or something, but the contest itself was initiated on a false pretense. That’s not a flash mob; that’s an organized dance routine.

To make your flash mob truly spontaneous, you have to keep the knowledge of it as limited as possible. Don’t go blabbing to all your friends, “OMG, LIKE I’M TOTALLY GOING TO BE IN A FLASH MOB.” For the love of God, don’t advertise. Just don’t.

So, potential, past and future flash mob enthusiasts, next time you think of putting on a “flash mob”, ask yourself: am I actually doing something spontaneous, or am I just organizing a lackluster dance routine?

Jonathan Petrychyn
A&C Editor

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