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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Hooping


A fairly accurate demonstration 
of what I look like Hula Hooping 
(but nearly as cute.)

Like most ethnocentric Americans, I just assumed global-sweeping crazes, including the Hula Hoop, were ingenious inventions of clever American manufacturing and marketing teams. 



Granted, I had some awareness that Wham-O did not pre-date the Hawaiian Islands Hula or the invention of the utilitarian barrel hoop, but still . . . that has to be a California 1950's baby boomer invention right?



Turns out, the Hula Hoop it is a little bit older.



“A man who does not understand games 
and is unskilled with ball or hoop keeps quiet, 
for fear that the crowds of spectators standing round 
will burst out laughing." 
Horace, Roman playwright 65 BC to 8 BC.

Ancient Egyptian men improved dexterity and agility with hoop activities. Evidently ancient Egyptian women were already proficient at hip dexterity and were excluded. Greek and Roman men also adopted the hoop and excluded women.


The name isn't original either. Starting in the 14th-century, the English were involved in hoop and waist rotations to the extent that dislocated backs became a common injury. When English sailors observed the Hawaiian Hula they put "Hula" and "Hoop" together. 


Wham-O didn't even introduce the hoop to the American Content. Pueblo Hoop Dancers (and yeah they were all male) have been around long before the boomers.



Women didn't get popular and public access to hoop and hip combination until Wham-O went into Hula Hoop production in 1958. They sold 25 million hoops in the first four months and 100 million in two years. 



Several countries, including China and Russia banned the hoops because they caused indecent hip motions and were example of the “Emptiness of American Culture.”



The fad, like they do, ended but had some resurgence including in the Disco era because hot pants and roller skates are pretty much screaming for some hip gyrations.



China and Russia, during the 1980's, reevaluated their whole indecent, culture emptiness stance and hoops became popular in circuses and in rhythmic gymnasts.



Hooping is the new, not your Momma's Hula Hoop, dance and exercise fusion. 



What isn't new is the American entrepreneurial spirit. Compared to the original under $2 price tag, collapsible travel hoops are on sale for $39.95, marked down from $59.95. Adding fire wicks will set you back about 100 bucks.


However, there is some completely fantastic hip wiggling. 



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