when’s the last time you got flashed?

what exactly is a flash mob?

A flash mob is an assembly of people in a public place for the sake of surprise, shock, and awe. They usually last only a short time and tend to have some sort of theme that represents abnormality to the daily occurrences in that area. I.e. see below…

These flash mobs originated around 2003 in New York and can actually be tracked down to the original creator; a guy named Bill Wasik. Over the last decade or so, these flash mobs have grown into massive productions and occur all over the world. I guess it’s safe to say that they weren’t just a flash in the pan…sorry terrible pun. Since there is little to no boundary of the “abnormal acts” involved in a flash mob, the ideas keep flooding. Some of the most notable types of flash mobs are choreographed dances, free style dancing (sometimes referred to as a silent disco), pillow fights, chorus singing, marriage proposals, standing in place frozen, ninja or light saber fighting, and many, many more!

street art? REALLY?!

Some still question this but the answer should be relatively clear as despite your opinions on flash mobs, it is hard to deny the creativity and hard work put into these types of events. The planning, choreography, and communication involved is impressive to say the least.

what’s illegal about it?

The First Amendment ensures our right to gather peacefully. I don’t know about you but I don’t typically interpret large amounts of people dancing around as a threat (though you could make a decent argument citing West Side Story. Nevertheless, for the most part there is not much ground for arrest in these types of situations right?Handcuffed Dancer

So I decided to do a little perusing all for my wonderful reader’s sake (you’re welcome) and found out that this whole process is a little more serious than one might think. In fact it is almost to the point where it is necessary to have a lawyer involved from the preliminary stages and even after the fact. Lawyers help the planners set guidelines so that lines aren’t crossed and those that are not involved in the flash mob are not involuntarily roped in. This is especially important for flash mobs that necessitate contact such as the pillow fights or ninja strikes. Ninja Flash Mob

Another protruding issue is the awareness of trespassing. Public areas such as malls are optimal candidates to get your flash mob on the map but the reality is that someone owns that property and if they don’t want you there, then you better leave. Of course this can put a real damper on your flash mob and sometimes the feelings aren’t mutual which leads to confrontation with security and managers.Flash Mob Vs Security

A final consideration of this whole operation is the matter of disturbance. Foot and vehicle traffic can be made victims when large groups fill an area but this is not the only type of disturbance a flash mob can make. the video below displays an incredible amount of talent from so many people at once and it receives a great response. Despite this, the libraries code of conduct was still broken and there are members who would potentially have a case against this type of disturbance. Intense studying, test taking, or perhaps even an online interview would be distracted by an event such as this.

make your choice

groups are always going to be split by their reaction to the enchantment of group choreography. This is basically why not every single movie is a musical. That all cast aside, how do you perceive this form of art in the streets and the impact it has on the public. You have now read the joy it can bring but also the potential for disruption. I’m interested to hear you opinion in the matter, so tell me if you are more inclined to start one or not participate.

side note:

The flash mobs discussed and intentionally described in this blog post have absolutely no correlation or connection with recent events of flash mob robbery, flash robs, multiple offender crimes, or anything related. That is blatant theft and yields no room for discussion on value, merit, or ethics.


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