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Teen Twitter is nothing without its challenges, both great and stupid. Recently, we saw kids roast each other in that classically immature “hurrr-durrr” voice for the #HuhChallenge. On the more daring side, they’ve been known to deliberately pass out and even set themselves on fire—because even if you die, going viral is forever. (Forever = about 30 seconds.)
The latest trend is unlikely to send anyone to the hospital, however, and makes clever use of teens’ inherent awkwardness. In the #FightingAirChallenge, one thrashes and flails as if trading blows with someone who doesn’t actually exist. Which makes them easier to beat.
Sadly, the earliest use of the hashtag links to a Vine that has been deleted, so we have only the haziest idea of the concept’s origins. But another early video shows a group of girls engaged in a massive brawl with nobody.
And last December, long before the hashtag existed, it appeared that at least one dude was always ready to throw down against thin air.
The year before, this Vine of a dude shadowboxing was also a viral hit.
But moving forward, the action choreography only got more intense.
Not everyone is a fan, however—the #FightingAirChallenge has its haters.
Meanwhile, some highlighted previously existing examples of the gimmick.
Whatever your feelings about kids throwing wild punches in imitation of a knockdown melee, you can rest assured that—like all things now popular with the youth—it’ll be over by the time you’re done reading this sentence.
Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions, and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'