Did you know “jazz hands” are slowly replacing clapping? No, really: Clapping as been banned at a leading university in the U.K. “to avoid triggering anxiety” for students.
Lest you think this practice doesn’t exist in the U.S., I can personally vouch that it does. When I spoke at Bard College in New York last year, the students there did this exact thing with their hands whenever one of their classmates would challenge me and they wanted to show their support. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until about halfway through the talk when I just flat-out asked the students,”What on Earth are you all doing?” (I had kind of figured it out by then, but I wanted to hear them explain it.)
Ironically, just after reading the U.K. article I got text from a friend who said our local high school is doing away with class rank, valedictorian, and salutatorian. The message? It’s just too stressful for kids to lose. They can’t cope.