Mukbang Videos and the War of Raging Appetites - Christ and Pop Culture

Ah! Its chilly!

In a YouTube video that obtained over seven million views in two weeks, Korean YouTuber Ssoyoung wrestles and cleans reside octopus and mudfish earlier than cooking and consuming them on digital camera. The method is well-lit and documented from totally different angles, and Ssoyoungs numerous shrieks and screams punctuate the slippery, slimy course of. Viewers watch as she struggles to elevate the squirming octopus to point out the suctions on its legs and underbelly; she later pours the (reside) mudfish right into a glass container full of water and saltto clear them, she explains. At one level, the octopus almost slides off the desk, a lot to her consternation. Nevertheless, by the tip of the video, shes cooked a large unfold for herself. The pink fleshy underbelly of the octopus, unfold out, occupies almost 1 / 4 of the shot; the mudfish, sprinkled with sesame seeds and organized neatly in a circle, sits in entrance of a row of sauces. Its so delicate, she says, earlier than she takes an unlimited chew out of one of many octopuss tentacles.

The basic attraction of a mukbang video, then, is the promise of satisfaction via extra.

Ssoyoungs video is only one in all kinds of mukbang movies that folks can watch on the web. A pattern during which individuals movie or stream themselves consuming monumental portions of meals, mukbangs initially grew to become in style in South Korea in 2010 and, over the previous a number of years, have unfold to different components of the world, together with the US. The phrase mukbang is a mashup of two Korean phrases, muk-ja (which implies consuming) and bang-song (broadcast), which implies that mukbang itself means consuming broadcast. Skilled Korean mukbangers stream their mukbangs on a web site referred to as AfreecaTV for hundreds of viewers each week, utilizing high-quality microphones and cameras to seize the visuals and sounds of consuming. In response to NPR, the preferred mukbangers could make $10,000 per 30 days.

Its solely been lately that the mukbang has unfold into wider international web consciousness, proper into the center of American YouTube. Well-liked creators like David Dobrik and Colleen Ballinger, Timothy DeLaGhetto and the Attempt Guys have dabbled in mukbang movies, whereas others, like Stephanie Soo, Trisha Paytas, and Zach Choi, have turn out to be well-known for them. The movies themselves can differ in objective and tone. Some YouTubers, like Choi, dont speak throughout their mukbangs and easily eat in entrance of the digital camera, recording the sounds in prime quality for ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). Others movie themselves consuming and speaking about a wide range of totally different subjects, simulating a dinnertime dialog, whereas nonetheless others merely binge-eat on digital camera and concurrently present a operating commentary of no matter goes via their brains.

The ironic factor about mukbang movies is that the idea itself just isn’t inherently entertaining. Theres no narrative arc or fancy modifying, elaborate performing or excessive manufacturing worth, all of that are issues we would affiliate with the world of digital media and leisure. (The fanciest mukbang to exist is perhaps this Vogue video of Florence Pugh consuming eleven English dishes.) The basic attraction of a mukbang video, then, is the promise of satisfaction via extra. CHEESY FLAMING HOT CHEETOS + CHEESY TAKIS MUKBANG + FRIED CHICKEN & LOBSTER TAIL, reads one video title. Different video titles embody $100 Price of Wendys, JOLLIBEE FRIED CHICKEN + SPAGHETTI & CHICKEN SANDWICHES MUKBANG, and Each Taste Cheesecake from CHEESECAKE FACTORY Mukbang. Different YouTubers eat entire sushi rolls and nuclear hearth noodles, triple cheeseburgers and rooster nuggets, Cheeto noodles and Pizza Hut, oxtails and king crabs, Popeyes and Jack-in-the-Field, alfredo pasta and spicy mushrooms, pad thai and Sonic. Its a veritable feastboth for the particular person consuming and for the one watching.

Frankly, Im nonetheless slightly bemused by why individuals watch them and why they watch them so avidly. Whereas not dangerous in and of themselves, mukbang movies nonetheless function an ideal metaphor for a world of huge overconsumption, a world during which we cannot solely fulfill probably the most niches needs by tapping a number of buttons, but in addition one the place we will flip these needs right into a full-fledged business. We are able to order meals to our houses and have our groceries delivered, take lessons on-line, make money working from home, name our mates with out having to take the time to be in the identical place on the identical time, rid ourselves of all of the little inconveniences that include being human. With mukbang movies, we dont need to eat dinner by ourselves; we will eat dinner with a special particular person each night time. And if weve had tough days and need to binge-eat, we dont need to even do the binging ourselves: we will merely watch different individuals do it in entrance of us, and place ourselves of their sneakers. When we now have the will to binge-eat, however we dont need to spend the cash or the energy, we will watch different individuals do what we ourselves want to do, and by proximity, by the tip, really feel higher about ourselves by the tip, as a result of no less than we havent eaten all this meals.

Its one of many iterations and developments of this Fahrenheit 451 have been creating for ourselves. Greater than that, it reveals and displays the vacancy that comes with attempting to fulfill our needs with one thing so great, that God created for us to take pleasure in, however that’s solely finite as properly. We cook dinner and order meals simply to eat it. We fall asleep on the finish of daily, get up, nourish our our bodies, after which return to sleep, solely to get up and do it over once more. And but, even once we really feel most mired on this endlessly banal routine, God has put eternity into mans coronary heart (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Usually we attempt to lose ourselves in one thing as non permanent as meals in hopeless search of the everlasting. However on the finish of the day, when the final noodle is slurped, the final slice of pizza consumed, and the plate licked clear, what do we now have left?

For even when each need is met and each craving fulfilled, an urge for food whose chief goal is earthly satisfaction won’t ever be an urge for food actually happy.


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