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CHICAGO (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn is concerned right now with issues such as turnout for the Illinois primary Tuesday, but in the world of cyberspace, people are flocking to YouTube to watch him take the notorious Cinnamon Challenge.
The clip isn’t brand new. It was uploaded back on Feb. 3 by WGN-720 AM radio host Jonathon Brandmeier. By Monday, the clip had racked up more than 11,400 views.
The Cinnamon Challenge is an Internet meme that began going viral last year. Participants pour a spoonful of finely-ground cinnamon into their mouths and try to swallow it without water.
Because cinnamon is slow to break down, it gets stuck in “challenge” participants throats, and they often end up coughing, gagging or throwing up.
In Brandmeier’s clip from last month, Quinn is seen in WGN’s Tribune Tower studio, as Brandmeier directs a camera operator to focus on the governor because, he quips, “I want the record to state that I did not kill him.”
“I will give it a try,” Quinn says. “I know that cinnamon is actually very good for you.”
Quinn proceeds to take a spoonful of cinnamon, appears to chew for a couple of seconds, and finally takes a swig of water from a bottle – thus beating the challenge.
“The will of the people, the law of the land,” Quinn says afterward.
Brandmeier responds: “I don’t believe what you just did! The governor, I bow before you!”
Quinn has plenty of company on YouTube. As of Monday, there were 32,100 clips titled “Cinnamon Challenge” on the video-sharing site.
The most popular video, which dates back to Jan. 30, had more nearly 10.5 million views as of Monday. The clip shows comedienne GloZell Green attempting to swallow a ladle full of cinnamon, before spitting out a cloud of the spice power and going into a violent coughing fit.
In another clip that has acquired 6.3 million views, Anna Diaz, a teenage girl who is quick to emphasize that she is not Rebecca Black of “Friday” fame, tries to swallow a serving spoon full of cinnamon, and begins gagging and coughing before she goes off camera and appears to vomit.
NBA basketball players Nick Young and JaVale McGee, then both with the Washington Wizards, also took the cinnamon challenge on video back in November.
Multiple other video clips have gained millions of views, some of which involve small children.
But a published report says the cinnamon challenge isn’t just innocent fun that may or may not result in humiliation. The London Daily Mail reports doctors are warning that the Cinnamon Challenge is dangerous, and could result in particles of cinnamon being inhaled into the lungs.
The result could be inflammation, and even choking, the Daily Mail says.
In Ann Arbor, Mich., a student at Huron High School was hospitalized for 4 1/2 days after taking the cinnamon challenge – in a story that made the front page of the Wall Street Journal last week. Principal Arthur Williams told the newspaper that he e-mailed parents warning the dangers of the challenge, which he said kids all know about through the Internet, but parents have no idea.
The Wall Street Journal also made mention of Quinn’s Cinnamon Challenge experience.
Some schools have banned students from bringing the spice to campus, the Daily Mail reported.