Over Memorial Day weekend, a group of protestors gathered at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC to express their discontent for a recent law that makes it illegal for people to dance at national monuments. Their method of protest? Dancing, of course. Many have called their act a flash mob, despite it being more of a tribute to the people who were first arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial (thus inspiring the law), but by any name it is a reminder of the power of creativity. After all, people protest with signs and chants every day and we don’t hear about it, but people protest by dancing and the story is national news.
The idea of the flash mob has been around in some form or another for decades, but Bill Wasik of Harper’s Magazine receives the most credit for inventing the craze after he organized a 2003 effort to make fun of hipsters. Since then, flash mobs have evolved from performance art meant for inspiring and shocking people to political activism and even corporate advertising. With that evolution has also come one heck of a niche on YouTube, as these flash mob videos continue to rack up ridiculous views.