Video: Government-sponsored aerobics downtown officially kills the flash mob trend

After watching the above video of a yesterday's "aerobics flash mob" on the 16th Street Mall, I think it's fair to declare the "flash mob" concept officially dead. And thank God. The spectacle of seemingly-spontaneous, absurdist street theater popularized by left-wing "prank-tavists" and urban, drama club hipsters began to lose its remaining sense of cultural relevancy for me last year when I saw a flash mob weaved into the plot of one of those prime-time CSI shows.

And here we have an aerobics flash mob organized by LiveWell Colorado, a state-sponsored fitness non-profit funded by millions in federal grants intended to lower obesity rates. They're not the only local public health campaign that has turned to so-called guerrilla marketing to project their message onto the public. This spring, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers slapped hundreds of oh-so-mysterious "Love Heals" stencils on sidewalks across the city.

I'm all for people losing weight and curing cancer through love or whatever. But if your underground media effort involves high-end ad agencies, pulling permits and obtaining permission from property owners and security guards, then it's not really underground. It's Big Brother in spandex.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jared Jacang Maher