Researchers at Harvard said that they’re seeing indications that the popular “dabbing” fad — assuming an emphatic pose that resembles sneezing into the elbow — is finally fading, and indicated that they believed that it will be replaced by a social trend of punching oneself in face and calling oneself an asshole as early as 2020.
Dabbing has been a part of pop culture since 2015, and despite lots of efforts to see it out the door — even Migos tried to declare it dead more than 2 years ago — the gesture has managed to stick around.
“We’ve been waiting for this thing to die for a while,” admits Harvard social researcher Reed Ligacher. “Most fads stop after a short time, but dabbing has been persistent because dabbing has a certain ‘it’ quality due to its malleability. You can make your own variation of the pose, and it works so long as you still look like an asshole.”
“But, now that every over-60 celebrity has been asked to dab on TV — now that your grandma dabs, for example — it’s finally hastening the push to get dabbing out of the mainstream conscience.”
Ligacher has been using grants to study what he calls “Social Evolution” for 38 years.
“Years of research favor a trend of one fad begetting the next,” says Ligacher. “There’s usually more of a social evolution than a social revolution. For example: the leisure suit assholes of the 1970s begot the Hawaiian shirt assholes of 1982 begot the Jamz shorts assholes of 1985 begot the skate gear assholes of 1988. While you get some outlier fads, you generally see some part of the last fads in the new mainstream trends.”
The evolution of the next trend relies on a number of factors — including rap music, rap videos, and NBA players who also rap — but the research team believes that social media will contribute heavily in bringing about the “punching oneself in face and calling oneself an asshole” theory regardless of the impact of other social trends.
“Anything can happen, obviously, but we’ve been tracking trends long enough to get an idea” said Ligacher, who previously correctly predicted the evolution of Pee Wee’s Dance to the Achy Breaky. “We landed on this particular theory after our research team considered the imminent impact of ‘past memory’ and other anniversary-type features on Facebook and other social media. These features will serve to remind the young, hip public at-large of all the dabbing photos and dabbing videos they’ve posted in the past. Having to reabsorb that during the golden age of dabbing grannies … well, certainly you have to recognize exactly how those assholes will feel.”