A Tribute to Dabbing


By Scott Grech, English Teacher UWCM
November 18th, 2017


[aesop_content color=”#000000″ background=”#ffffff” component_width=”600px” columns=”1″ position=”none” imgrepeat=”no-repeat” disable_bgshading=”off” floaterposition=”left” floaterdirection=”up” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]A pupil I teach and whose opinion I highly respect commented last week, somewhat morosely no less, that the dab is being phased out, that it has served its purpose, and that like the fidget spinner and bottle flip challenge before it, is no longer a fixation with idle students in the atrium.
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If that is the case, then this is sad news indeed. Unlike the other two, the dab requires no plastic, much to the pleasure of environmentalists and scientists worldwide and, depending on your take on the fidget spinner, is noiseless, which renders dabbing, therefore, a popular medium of expression. There are several reasons why students and adults alike should continue to dab, but I will narrow it down to three.
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Firstly, it is difficult to dab if upset, which is why it is a reliable indicator that someone is in a very positive mood indeed. Over the past few months I have witnessed students dab after disclosing a particular funny or clever joke, for receiving a high grade for a challenging assignment, at the end of a musical performance, or after scoring a goal which requires great skill and intelligence in the outdoor ‘cage’. Essentially, it is difficult not to associate dabbing with moments of joy and happiness.
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This is not entirely the case with other gestures, such as smiles, which are not always an accurate conveyor of someone’s mood, and the rather passé thumbs-up signal, which is at times used rather nonchalantly (think Trump), or specifically in situations which call for an avoidance of melodrama and mountains out of molehills.
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Not only is the dab, therefore, an accurate indicator that someone is experiencing the feel-good factor, but it also highlights how people can be quite creative even with the most modest of means at their disposal, or when at their idlest. 
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This brings me onto my second point. In an age of predictability, where Siri and Google can answer any question that we put forward, and where going somewhere and doing something has lost its element of surprise, since so much of everything is shared online, the dab retains that element which is arguably most missing from present day society: unpredictability, or the unknown. There are a number of different ways to dab, so it is not always easy to assume what expression will be conveyed by the dabbing aficionados once those arms are swung into motion. The double dab, low dab, high dab and scores of other types of dabs all mean different things in different contexts. This is another reason why dabbing has lasted for so long, as there are several ways it can be reinvented, hence keeping it in vogue. More significantly, this element of unpredictability is shared between both the audience and the dabber, for the latter’s head is bowed down with eyes closed, meaning that it is impossible to one hundred percent gauge an audience’s reaction to your dab, whether it is a smirk, eye-roll or something else.

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My last point ties in with the previous two, in the sense that there is never a wrong moment to dab. Hordes of people will argue otherwise, that everything depends on time and place, but while words such as rules, obligations and professionalism matter from time to time, they also tend to stifle creativity. Most importantly, dabbing should not be associated with immaturity. One of the most amusing things I have come across in recent months was an online discussion thread, where several teachers commented in agreement that dabbing in class should be punishable by detention. Funny, I thought, how some want to work with children, but then scold children when they are being children, i.e. playful and creative.

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In contrast to the ubiquitous and consciously made thumbs-up and other similar means of expression, therefore, this is one gesture that deserves to stay. To those who still enjoy dabbing, I say dab, continue dabbing and dab some more.


 

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