Bird Box, the Sandra Bullock movie for fans disappointed that The Blind Side wasn't more literal, is blowing up. Netflix has just claimed that over 45 million users watched the sensory horror movie while pointedly ignoring their families over the holidays. Now the movie has hit another important milestone of internet fame. It has become a meme challenge, the social media equivalent of first-graders daring each other to eat sand for a dollar. And like any good meme challenge, it's not only dangerous, but a wee bit ignorant as well.
For those who haven't seen the Bird Box Challenge yet, that's part of it. Like the terrified characters in the movie, participants in the challenge blindfold themselves, though not to try and to survive in a post-apocalyptic horrorscape, but just to giggle and perform mundane tasks on the Hard Setting. Challenges include petting dogs, eating chicken, and, um, driving their cars. Yeah, despite having some stiff competition from eating Tide pods and breaking your ankles for Drake, the Bird Box Challenge has become so dangerous that Netflix had to issue a baffling plea that people not get themselves killed trying to do dumb stunts while blindfolded -- something they probably didn't expect to do after canceling Daredevil.
But there's another issue with the Bird Box Challenge that's about as sensitive as the coffee-table-height spot on people's legs as they walk around blindfolded. It kinda sorta makes fun of being blind. Now, there's nothing innately problematic about blindfolding, with it having noted positive effects in team-building exercises, swimming pool games, and Sting-like lovemaking. Meanwhile, the Bird Box Challenge doesn't seem to rise above hee-hawing at how hard it is to just live a mundane life without the use of your eyes.
And before anyone points a finger and says "But Sandy Bullock got to-", remember that was a movie. A movie which (not so subtly) explored societal issues using sensory deprivation as a metaphor. That's not the same as trying to get viral on YouTube with all of the insight and empathy of Logan Paul stomping around a Japanese forest.
So yeah, please don't hurt yourself while walking around doing dumb shit while blindfolded, but if you do, maybe try thinking further about the implications on your way down to a shattered femur. Either that, or we could try turning it into another Ice Bucket Challenge -- which was also very dumb, but which at least made the world a better place by raising money for motor neuron disease (and making Jeff Bezos feel a fraction of the discomfort of his warehouse workers). And because neither of those things will happen, the rest of us will just start quietly praying that nobody gets killed and that Netflix never decides to remake The Jazz Singer.
For Cedric's overly PC takedowns of 'The Lake House' and 'While You Were Sleeping,' you can follow him on Twitter
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