Business management expert Tom Peters has written, “As a consumer, you want to associate yourself with brands whose powerful presence creates a halo effect that rubs off on you,” and that’s certainly true too. for librarians, who gravitate towards the most reliable sources of information.
That’s why I turned to the Oxford English Dictionary, the pinnacle of English lexicography, to find a definition of mukbanging. This term is relatively new and not found in the OED’s print or online versions, but hey, there’s a lot about old “mud”.
With “Oxford” in its title, the OED usually lists UK definitions before US definitions. In this case, “mud” is first defined as “cattle dung, usually mixed with decaying plant matter”, and three meanings later as “USA: soil material consisting of plant remains in decomposition, like peat”.
The OED can be surprisingly entertaining. For example, a later definition of mud, “anything disgusting”, is followed by excerpts from English writings throughout history showing how it has been used, and includes this 1959 quote from Iona and Peter Opie (the well-known English folklorists who specialized in tracing the stories of nursery rhymes) from their “Lore & Language of Schoolchildren”: “School dinners are ‘muck’, ‘pig swill’, ‘poison’, ‘slops’ ‘and YMCA (Yesterday’s Muck Cooked Again).” Over the next 5–6 pages of the OED (each containing approximately 4,500 words of text), mud is described in many other ways. Even casual glances reveal interesting information; mud can be “waste removed during mining operations”, “Lady Muck” is “a woman who puts on airs, has condescending manners and is considered excessively vain”, and a “muckender” is “a towel or a bib”.
However, “mukbang” is missing, so I turned to a National Library of Medicine article, “Mukbang and Disordered Eating”, in which Mattias Strand defined mukbang as “a recent Internet phenomenon in which video recordings of hosts eating large amounts of food are streamed on an online video platform. It originated in South Korea and has since become a global trend. Wikipedia provided the etymology of the term: “The word mukbang is a portmanteau of the Korean words for ‘eating’ (mugneun) and ‘show/TV show’ (bangsong).” He said mukbanging started in South Korea in 2009 and first featured attractive people cooking and eating food while interacting with their audience in real time using social media.
Early mukbanging spawned a variety of spin-off video programs, or vlogs, including ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) mukbang, which “taps into streamers’ tendency to record noises and sounds that make us ‘feel’ something while we watch – think slurps, chewing hard, crunching and all those sounds that go along with a good meal.
Another mukbang subgenus features “extreme eaters” hosts that consume huge amounts of food. Enter Nikocado Avocado, aka Nicholas Perry. Born in Ukraine and raised near Philadelphia, Perry is a classically trained violinist with severe mental and emotional issues, which spice up his extreme mukbang vlogs. His initial mukbanging career focused on healthy eating and veganism, but before long he was consuming entire fast food restaurant menus in one sitting, and his 5ft 6in frame grew from 160 at 350 pounds.
What happened? Perry’s mental instability from the age of 5 is well established, but the concept of audience capture also played a big part. My son learned about audience capture from a podcast he heard on the subject, and after mentioning it, I found out that there are several types of audience capture, and the one in question was described in an online article by Gurwinder, titled “The Perils of Audience Capture: How Influencers Are Brainwashed by Their Audiences.” The first part of the article uses Nicholas Perry to illustrate the phenomenon. Perry began by posting videos of himself showcasing his passions: playing the violin and veganism. “He went largely unnoticed. A year later, he quit veganism, citing health issues. Now free to eat whatever he eats.” he wanted to, he started uploading mukbang videos of himself eating various foods while talking to the camera, as if he were having dinner with a friend. These new videos quickly found a large audience, but at as the audience grew, their dem andes were also rising. The videos’ comment sections quickly filled with people daring Perry to eat as much as he physically could. Eager to please, he began to set himself torturous food challenges, each bigger than the next. His audience cheered, but always demanded more… Nikocado, shaped by his audience’s desires into extreme cartoonishness, is now a completely different character from Nicholas Perry, the vegan violinist who started making videos. Where Perry was sweet and health-conscious, Nikocado is loud, abrasive and spectacularly grotesque. Where Perry was a picky eater, Nikocado devoured everything he could, finally including Perry himself. The unbridled appetite for attention caused the person to be subsumed by the character.
Another form of audience capture adopted by the advertising world is “the method of capturing a specific audience…which can later be used to target campaigns.”
This type of technique, which involves selling consumers’ likes, dislikes and other personal information, makes Facebook and similar sites a lot of ad revenue. Another form of audience capture is known in political circles as “regulatory capture”, which Wikipedia defines as “a form of authority corruption that occurs when a political entity, decision-maker, or regulator is co-opted to serve the commercial, ideological or political interests of a minor constituency, such as a particular geographic area, industry, profession or ideological group… In the event of regulatory capture, a particular interest takes precedence over the general interests of the public, resulting in a net loss to society.Regulatory capture has become widespread in the United States, such as when a person with direct financial conflicts of interest, such as Louis DeJoy, who owns stock in ‘UPS and other USPS competitors, was named Postmaster and ordered many questionable changes that made USPS less appealing to consumers, such as rac shorten the opening hours of post offices, limit deliveries, restrict the delivery of medical prescriptions and postal votes.
Advertising and consumerism seem to make the world go round, as shown by an online chart from dig.com, “The Most Popular Consumer Brands in Each State.” Alaska, like most of the Northwest, is a Costco state, Walmart rules in Texas and the Deep South, while Ebay leads in the Midwest. Another chart shows North America owned by Amazon, South America controlled by Netflix, and most of Europe, Russia and Asia leaning towards IKEA. That’s why it’s healthy to balance this by thinking about some of history’s great philanthropists, like Andrew Carnegie, who funded the construction of 2,509 public libraries, and his early predecessor Herodes Atticus.
“Herod who”, you ask?
He was “the first great ancient philanthropist”, according to HistoryCollection.com. Born in 101 CE into “a fabulously wealthy Athenian family”, Herod had an excellent education and career opportunities, and when he retired to Greece, to better the lives of the common people. He has privately financed dozens of public construction projects, including theatres, baths and aqueducts, which have boosted employment while improving everyone’s quality of life. And “when Herod died, the people of Athens mourned him greatly”. I suspect Elon Musk will not engender that response, especially in these troubled times. As noted by “Small Is Beautiful” author EF Schumacher, one of the leading mid-twentieth-century proponents of “appropriate technology (“friendly, environmentally appropriate technology applicable at the community scale”) ), “Infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is an impossibility.
#internet #popularized #keeping #audience #captive #predates #online #world