중앙데일리

Finding happiness online

Aug 06,2018
MOON SO-YOUNG
The author is the cultural news editor of the JoongAng Daily.

[SCREEN CAPTURE FROM YOUTUBE]
A rapidly growing YouTube channel recently caught my attention. CreamHeroes chronicles the daily lives of a butler and seven cats. Cat owners often call themselves a “butler,” as they cater to the needs of their cats. CreamHeroes was the only animal-related channel on YouTube’s top 20 Korean channels with the most new subscribers, excluding K-Pop and children’s videos.

CreamHeroes has more than 1.4 million subscribers. Whenever a new video is uploaded, thousands of comments are posted. The videos are about ordinary and simple everyday moments, confrontations between the butler and the cat, the butler assembling cat toys and the cats who enjoy interfering with it. Viewers may ask themselves why they are watching this, but these videos are so addictive that you can’t help but click on the next one.

The charm of the channel is that it is nonchalant and comfortable, but isn’t boring. The butler never shows her face, so the viewers can focus on the seven cats with different personalities and appearances and take a break from the burden of dealing with humans. The butler naturally encourages the cats by setting up the situations where they can show off their different behavior. Her sense of humor keeps the videos from turning boring. It is what art historian Ko Yu-seop calls the “technique of no technique.”

The explosive popularity of CreamHeroes corresponds with Korea’s latest trend: “small but certain happiness.” Japanese writer Haruki Murakami used the phrase when he described “a cat sneaking under the blanket on a winter night.” Those who may not have the time and money to have actual cats can enjoy small but certain happiness digitally by watching cats on YouTube. Many eating shows on the top 20 fast-growing YouTube channels are also aimed at providing small but certain happiness.

Many modern people who cannot afford to enjoy small luxuries in real life find their happiness online. Simple and ordinary lifestyle channels on YouTube are growing more popular. Star YouTubers who seem to nonchalantly share their joy actually create the content with meticulous strategy and hours of effort.

Popular YouTuber Benz, who is known for eating huge meals, says he exercises seven to eight hours a day when he is not binge eating. The natural-looking videos of CreamHeroes are also meticulously planned, recorded and edited. The age of finding small but certain happiness online could be proof that life is hard for everyone.

JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 4-5, Page 35


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