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The Enduring Appeal Of Young James

One of my favorite things to do after a long day, an hour or two before bed, is to get really high and watch old Vines.

If you are someone who gets high, watching Vines is just great. They’re fast and funny, nostalgic and weird. They bring me back to a simple, absurdist time when six seconds of fun on loop were all we needed for a little kick in our day. Today? We aren’t as lucky in a time when it feels like the world will end at any second.

While compilations are quite fun (And there are many a good one.), the real magic of this is when you fall down a rabbit hole of a Viner that you never knew of, who probably doesn’t make anymore, and who had such a unique, ridiculous point of view that it tickles all your high parts. Currently, my “that” is the work of Young James.

Young James was (Is? Unsure.) a Viner that consists of a digital puppet boy who made funny Vine jokes critiquing online hashtag teen culture. Like the Max Headroom of Vine, Young James gurgles computerized teen speak – “That feel when your crush doesn’t follow you back on Tweeter.”; “When bae says she think the Minions are of the cute”; “When you see other shoes but they are the bad shoes.” – which launches into an absurd “unpacking” of said teen situation. Young James speaks with a Terrance and Phillip style unhinged mouth and succeeds in not being dad by getting so fucking weird, using the format of After Effects as the “home” for content which conjures and entire meta-tech culture that truly sells the teen commentary. It’s a delightful example of Internet oddity and, like many Vine artists, proves why the medium was so important to Internet comedy because something Young James only could have existed there.

While Vine may never return, it’s becoming a popular pastime for some to peruse YouTube and Tumblr for compilations of these six second gems. While I doubt I’ll stumble upon someone as great as Young James, the below compilation of the account hits the spot at a certain point on my nightly visionquests. I highly recommend giving it a watch, high or not.

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