Feb 12th, 2018, 12:30 PM

Hot Off The...Coil?

By Sarah Hughes
Image Credit: Pixabay/Stux
Where to draw the line on self-destructive Internet behavior.

It seems as if the innocent times of wholesome dares have come and gone. Remember knocking back spoonfuls of cinnamon with your friends, trying so desperately not to grab for a swig of water and down it all in one go? Or what about 2014’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of getting drenched in freezing water in the effort to promote awareness and charitable donations to cancer research? Ah. Those truly were the blossoming days of Internet amusement.

2018 has proven to be a very, very different time, where people are taking dark turns and are showing no signs of letting up. Remember last month’s trend of washing down your milk with Tide Pods? Well, out with the old and in with the new. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I please introduce to you the latest fad of... *drum roll*…“Hot Coiling” (yes, it’s a verb).

Warning: Video Contains Distressing Content!

You have, unfortunately, read that correctly. A video was released early Wednesday morning of a young American man being egged on by his friend behind the camera to place his arm on a scorching hot stovetop. After screaming in pain while leaving his arm on the stove for a fair three seconds, he removes it and reveals the massive burn along the entire underside of his forearm. The footage was initially posted on a Reddit page with the caption, “Well, that was fucking stupid”. Well, my boys, at least we can give you a round-of-applause for observational talent. Seriously though ­– forget sanity, where has the fun gone?

As expected, meme curators are furiously at work, pumping out their two cents on the recent controversy that the viral upload has spurred. Among all the starter packs and TFWs, not even the most #relatable content on the web can make any sense of this highly disturbing craze.

A post shared by @doublem2003 on



#HotCoilChallenge @louderwithcrowder #liberallogic

A post shared by CRTV (@crtv) on


Unlike the popular posts that joked about how to make a Tide Pod look the most appetizing (they do look like candy, you can’t lie), people’s attitudes towards the Hot Coil Challenge have become rather cynical, resentful, and straight up savage. The plain truth is that America is already balancing on a fine line of political stability, and videos like these are, shockingly, not playing in our favor. In fact, the comment sections of these videos act as the perfect vessel to intensify identity politics, spreading careless claims such as, “He’s a Conservative!” or, “White people… smh”.

Tweets posted in response to the video may initially appear to express a deep concern for humanity’s future and well-being, but one must consider: is this just another ploy in gaining online exposure?

Despite whether or not responses like these make you chuckle, maybe it’s time that we start viewing them as an equal part to the puzzle of today’s bizarre internet crazes. Crazy content incites excited responses, and excited responses incite crazy content. There exists a fault on both sides of the situation. Now don’t get me wrong- I think it’s important to be able to laugh at life’s misfortunes and express our daily frustrations through any kind of non-violent means. However, the perpetual cycle of “up-posting” one another adds nothing but fuel to the fire, encouraging people to make spontaneous decisions, to cause a storm, or to sacrifice their wellbeing in the hopes of becoming the next big thing.

From dressing up for Halloween as a Gorilla that was questionably shot to death, to vlogging hanging dead bodies found in a Suicide Forest, our generation has come to a point where we see a ‘stupid clip’ of some ‘stupid dude’ doing some ‘stupid shit’ (like intentionally cooking their flesh), and fail to bat an eyelash. Dare I say – we are already used to this kind of stuff. 

Immoral and offensive conduct has captured our attention since we learned right from wrong. However, when does risky online behavior border on being a socially accepted form of self-harm and, furthermore, what is an appropriate way of responding to it? Perhaps social media needs to rid itself of page views, follower counts, and like buttons. Maybe then we’d be able to liberate ourselves from the ever-plaguing “hype”, and just sit down, with a cup of tea, content with our own independent thoughts.