Joe Kloc explores the enduring appeal of painter Bob Ross and finds that he is especially loved by those who believe in “autonomous sensory meridian response”:
For those who experience it, ASMR is most frequently described as “the tingles” in the head and back that one gets when hearing certain sounds, particularly in the context of some mundane task like being fitted for a suit or learning to paint trees. (But, as just about anyone in the ASMR community will tell you, it is almost impossible to describe to someone who, through bad luck or cosmic misalignment, does not experience the sensation.)
ASMR stands for “autonomous sensory meridian response.” It was coined by Jenn Allen, the founder of asmr-research.org, who hoped that legitimizing the phenomenon with a scientific-sounding name would spur research into the subject. But it is, for lack of a better description, completely unscientific: Allen once commented to Vice that she chose meridian because it was a more “polite” synonym for orgasm.
So far, there is no science to support ASMR. But the phenomenon, which boomed on YouTube beginning in 2010, has gotten large enough to warrant coverage by The New York Times, The Atlantic, Dr. Oz and Oprah Winfrey. A Kickstarter fund-raising campaign for a documentary on ASMR has received more than $15,000 in pledges. If ASMR isn’t real, its online community, which numbers in the millions, certainly is.
And among the dozen or so creators and consumers of ASMR that Newsweek spoke to, one thing about it is almost universally agreed upon: The lasting, unlikely, appeal of Bob Ross is, at bottom, due to his uncanny ability to induce the ASMR response with every breath and stroke of his brush. As Ilse Blansert, the creator of the calculator video, put it, “If you have one thing in common, 9 out of 10 times it’s Bob Ross.” Ross, she adds, is often referred to as the “king of ASMR.” As a commenter wrote beneath a video of Ross painting a mountain, “Bob Ross [was] the creator of ASMR…without even trying…dayum.” The video has more than 6 million views.
Seen above. Previous Dish on ASMR here.