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Milking is a video fad in which participants record themselves dumping containers of milk directly over their heads. Similar to cone-ing, the videos are often filmed in public places to include the reactions of bewildered onlookers.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, the fad’s creator Tom Morris explained that he came up with the idea while sitting in a kitchen with a group of friends, who decided to film themselves milking outside of a Starbucks coffee house. After the video was well received on Facebook, the group decided to make a new video. On November 21st, 2012, the MilkingNewcastle YouTube channel uploaded a video titled “Milking Newcastle,” in which several young men are shown dumping entire containers of milk over their heads in a variety of odd locations (shown below). Over the next six days, the video accumulated over 244,000 views and 800 comments.
On November 24th, the university journalism blog College Media Matters published a post titled “Milking: Latest Student Viral Video Craze is ‘Legen-dairy’,” noting that the fad was gaining traction throughout Britain. On the following day, The Daily Mail published an article titled “Is Milking the Most Pointless Internet Craze Yet?,” reporting that the Morris video had accumulated over 30,000 views in less than one week. The same day, The Daily Mail article was linked on the community news website Fark. On November 26th, YouTuber frampoid uploaded a video titled “Milking Lancaster: Jack Schofield 2012,” which featured several Lancaster University students dumping milk on their heads while urging students to vote for student Jack Schofield for County College Social Secretary (shown below).
The same day, the fad was reported on by several news site, including The Sun, The Telegraph, Softpedia, NineMSN, Raw Story,MSN, The Guardian and PSFK. Also on November 26th, Gawker published an article by staff writer Neetzan Zimmerman titled “Milking: Latest ‘Internet Craze’ May Be Dumbest Yet,” which compared milking to photo fads like planking and owling.
Derivative: Gallon Smashing
On February 21st, 2013, three teenage brothers from Washington D.C., Omar, Faysal and Zayd Khatib, uploaded a public prank video titled “Gallon Smash Prank,” in which they are shown throwing milk jugs in the air before intentionally diving onto the floor at a grocery store.
The video, which gained more than 400,000 views within the first week, was met by mixed reception, with several blogs and forum communities criticizing the stunt as rude and unoriginal, while others highlighted the video as funny, some even jumping the gun to call it the next “Harlem Shake” meme.
On March 22nd, MyFoxDC reported that Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County police department has charged the three teenagers with seven counts each of misdemeanor destruction of property and disorderly conduct. According to the police statement, the local authorities were investigating the phenomenon for several weeks through duplicate uploads of the grocery stor prank on YouTube, even after the pranksters decided to pull the videos after racking in more than three millions of views and spawning copycat attempts in Britain, France and Germany.
It is difficult to ascertain the exact volume of Google search interest in the keyword “Milking” due to its common usage as a verb (“to draw milk from”). However, the visible spike for the keyword “gallon smashing” can be seen at the beginning of 2013.