The Michael Jackson publicity stunt

Look, I don’t want to make it seem like I’m anti-fun or something, because I really do enjoy it when people just go out and do something silly, if only for a few minutes.

But when you have an event involving a professional dance troupe that you’ve publicized to the media, when you have dozens of journalists present, when police and a government minister are taking part, can you really call that a “flash mob“? If so, the term has lost all meaning and should cease to be used.

No wonder groups so associated with the term, like Improv Everywhere and Newmindspace, have rejected it. I think it’s time we all follow their lead if it’s going to be commercialized like this.

Call it a publicity stunt, call it a public performance, call it street art, but don’t call it a flash mob.

UPDATE (July 30): Similar thoughts from Patrick Dion, Jean-Philippe Rousseau and Le Détesteur, plus a defence from a participant.

12 thoughts on “The Michael Jackson publicity stunt

  1. Peter

    You’re right, I guess that makes it less cool, you know being organized by people who can actually dance….I’d much rather see a bunch of people strip to their underwear in the metro…that would be FAR more entertaining

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  3. Mike

    Watch for the black police officer white shirt in lower right screen at the beginning of the video, he’s a commanding officer! ;-)

  4. Billy D.

    Definitely agree with you there Steve. I thought it was a “true” flash mob when I heard about it on the news, but then I saw on Youtube they repeated it 4 times but in different places in Montreal. Boo-urns.

  5. Pingback: Vous avez dit Flash Mob? « Le détesteur

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