Is this a sex thing?
May 19, 2020 8:29 PM   Subscribe

"Welcome to McBang ASMR eating show. This is an ASMR MUKBANG video channel. If you enjoy eating sounds, then you are in the right place." Let me tell you this, Metafilter: that is not the right place for me. But, more interestingly, NPR's Short Wave science podcast investigates the awfulness of autonomous sensory meridian response.
posted by Evilspork (32 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Omg, no!
posted by esoteric things at 8:57 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Mukbang is...definitely a phenomenon. The human psyche is a land of contrasts.
posted by praemunire at 9:06 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

I thought ASMR was all about sounding soothing, but it seems to have been hijacked by the annoying.
posted by Rash at 9:29 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

i have the clinically diagnosed opposite of ASMR for eating - misophonia w/ chewing sounds.

now then, a solid funk groove? that i can fuck with.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:40 PM on May 19 [4 favorites]

Misophonia. the sound of slurping Japanese soup.
posted by Droll Lord at 9:49 PM on May 19 [16 favorites]

As someone who experiences and is quite fond of ASMR, I think that 99.9% of ASMR content on the internet is absolutely abysmal. From poorly produced stuff, to overly produced stuff, to (especially recently) stuff that claims to be ASMR but is more joke/parody than genuinely trying to give tingles.

My opinion is clearly not that of the masses, as what I consider abysmal still gets tons and tons of views on YouTube. Plus, many big channels have now gotten into making parody content that just continues to add to ASMR's horrible reputation.

However, those 0.1% of videos that I don't think are awful? They're one of the very few things that can diffuse my anxiety and get me to be able to sleep, even when I'm stressed to hell.

I don't really care if science agrees with ASMR's existence, or if the whole thing is viewed as a load of shit, or if everyone just wants to lampoon it as yet another weird internetism. ASMR is weird, no doubt, but I'm gonna keep enjoying my brain tingles.
posted by zekesonxx at 10:04 PM on May 19 [12 favorites]

Sucks to your ASMR!
posted by bendy at 10:20 PM on May 19 [17 favorites]

The only good ASMR content is the kind that wasn’t created with the intention of triggering ASMR. The subreddit r/unintentionalASMR occasionally offers up some good stuff.

Some favorites:
Canadian guy shows you his favorite newspaper
The Crafsman presents: Here go some honey
Dakota Johnson gives a home tour
Soft spoken online live baccarat dealer
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:40 PM on May 19 [9 favorites]

is there such a thing like barfing mukbang

because i could deliver that content right now
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:16 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

ASMR is a poor term for "that feeling you get when someone checks your head for lice in elementary school." Also, literally zero of the "ASMR" videos induce that response for me. Only one video ever has, and that only when I was half asleep. It was a video of a guy inspecting a car.

On mukbang: I don't get it. At all. My SO has been watching one person eat almost daily for the past couple of years. Typically, but not always, while eating a meal herself. Apparently the "girl" (her word) she watches tells stories she finds entertaining. Lest I sound like I'm judging, I should mention that it's not really any different than my constant background noise of RI lectures and old industrial/government films posted by PeriscopeFilms.
posted by wierdo at 1:54 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

When ASMR first started making the press rounds, it was still a "wait, there's a name for it?" phenomenon. It was people who'd spent their lives unable to explain the relaxing tingles they got when people were quietly focused on calm actions, or the lice-check, or the doctor looking in their ears, or Bob Ross episodes.

But I guess some people have a thing for the eating sounds, and there was a cultural strain from Japan (at least) where "mother cleaning earwax" was the equivalent to the nits check. Somehow all the calm whispered ear-massage videos and undervocalised product review videos got drowned out by vigorous rubbing of microphones and smacking loudly while wearing novel costumes.

I feel like we need a new term, because ASMR was always a completely bogus one designed to sound official and impressive through abuse of long words. And now people searching for it are getting a very skewed understanding of just what it was meant to connote.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:05 AM on May 20 [2 favorites]

is there such a thing like barfing mukbang

Kind of?
posted by Burhanistan at 4:02 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I have severe misphonia and this right here will definitely induce full body shivering nausea and homicidal rage.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:15 AM on May 20 [8 favorites]

^ Those commercials for the Calm app do that to me. Searing rage.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:34 AM on May 20

Severe misophonia sufferer here. I found that my anti-anxiety med citalopram has turned the instant rage way, way down on how annoying a lot of sounds are. In fact it's a really good gauge for how well my brain chemical balance is -- if the auditory annoyance is up, so is the reactivity and anxiety. If it's down, then I'm doing pretty well mood wise.

I'm sure as fuck not watching anything linked in this thread, though!

Data for y'all. Might help someone.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:49 AM on May 20 [6 favorites]

Things like this make me think we've permanently damaged our brains and our ability to make culture with video on demand.
posted by eustatic at 5:28 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Remember when people would write songs and make performances?
posted by eustatic at 5:31 AM on May 20

Remember when people would write songs and make performances?

Why? Did they stop?
posted by Lorc at 5:55 AM on May 20 [9 favorites]

I remember when everyone had synesthesia!
posted by thelonius at 6:10 AM on May 20 [5 favorites]

Severe misophonia sufferer here. I found that my anti-anxiety med citalopram has turned the instant rage way, way down on how annoying a lot of sounds are.

Wow that's kick ass...I have never found anything that turns my misophonia rage down.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:07 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

God yes I remember finding MUKBANG when I was researching a Korean Spam recipe and was like "This is definitely some kink shit."
posted by Young Kullervo at 9:48 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I know someone who has really really really bad misophonia (since before there was a name for it) AND really likes the ASMR of Bob Ross (since before there was a name for it).
posted by aniola at 9:52 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]

God, I wish I could experience the ASMR feeling. I can't even really comprehend what you guys describe by it, but it sounds lovely. Sigh.
posted by tristeza at 12:29 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

This is something that is clearly intensely personal, as so many people do seem to go for these MUKBANG videos, but here's my experience:

First, a sense of relaxation, mainly in the head. A sort of mild yawning feeling like a gentle stretch of a sore muscle spreads from ears to scalp. If there's "tingling", it's not like pins-and-needles. It's more like the feeling of gooseflesh. In fact, I always used to assume that when people wrote that their "hair stood on end" that it was this sense of relaxation rather than anxiety.

But what comes with this is a sensation of internal warmth, like the feeling you get when you've woken up to your alarm, realised you had the day off, killed the alarm, and gone back to sleep in the most luxurious floating relaxation ever. It's less intense, but it is every bit the "Oh sweet, I am just falling back asleep" feeling.

And all this relaxation feels very physical, and so it feels tenuous. It seems like an actual spell has fallen upon the entire scene, and I am connected to it. There's a slight anxiety that any loud noise, any sudden move could cut the thread and break the spell. Again, it's like the feeling of going back to sleep while worrying your neighbours haven't really finished that noisy party but are just changing playlists. That's one nice thing about tried-and-tested video sources: you don't have to worry that the person triggering it will ruin it with some misophonic trigger.

And all of this is why mouth sounds can trigger it for me sometimes, sure, but it's the chance click of a boiled sweet against a tooth in a quiet library, not the relentless mushy hiss of food against palate like a remote control with only one button.

Here's something to try: steady the back of your head against a wall and ask someone with good hand coordination to bring the tip of their finger about an inch from your forehead, above and between your eyes about where a bindi would go. Keep it relaxed and calm and slow, and see if you can get any sort of psycho-somatic sensation like a mild magnetic pressure on your forehead. See if your sinuses react by relaxing in any way. You may have a similar response available to something you simply haven't discovered yet. Play with cadences, ambient sounds, your friend's focus.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:03 PM on May 20 [4 favorites]

I definitely get the tingly feelings people seem to be talking from some ASMR sounds, I just find them distinctly unpleasant. Trying to intentionally trigger them repeatedly sounds like a nightmare, along the lines of an "all nails on a chalkboard, all the time!" channel.
posted by Wandering Idiot at 4:53 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I'm surprised this is so polarizing. I don't get the appeal, a couple quick tests a while ago didn't work, and I don't feel any desire to participate beyond mild curiosity. The descriptions almost universally remind me of experiences I find deeply unpleasant and try to avoid. But, the same is true of baseball, quicksand porn, and '70s guitar rock. Unlike some of the others, this stuff isn't playing in every bar in town. Until that happens, cheers!
posted by eotvos at 10:44 AM on May 21 [3 favorites]

I remember when everyone had synesthesia!

No, you're just looking at something taupe.
posted by Evilspork at 12:00 PM on May 21

Wandering Idiot: that sounds like you have misophonia for the triggers involved, rather than ASMR. There used to be a lot of FAQs saying "no this is not the 'frisson' some get from music" as well.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:13 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

The ASMR-vs-misophonia thing is sort of like if someone hadn't experienced laughter, and someone showed them a bunch of offensive jokes to explain. Sure the person showing them laughs when they see them, but the person who has never laughed just feels shame and anxiety.

So you have this cross-purposes conversation about "Yeah I feel the butterflies in the belly. Why would you want those?" and an entire youtube phenomenon of people shouting offensive things at the viewer would develop from this confusion and a very tiny minority would watch them and cackle and assume everyone else has no sense of humour.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:24 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]

My ASMR went away when I started Cymbalta and never came back even after stopping.

There's also a trend these days for ASMR to be more....erotic. ASMR on twitch is geared that way.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 3:05 PM on May 21

Also I am really curious which bars play quicksand porn.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 4:40 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]

With wall to wall giant 4k screens like a sports bar.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:09 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]

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