Enter “#slime” into the search bar on Instagram and you will be sucked down a gooey rabbit hole, delivered directly into the wet hands of internet slime aficionados. Go ahead, try it. We’ll wait.
One of the first things you’ll notice is top user Slime Jewel, whose brief description proclaims that they are all about “<heart emoji>Just slimey things.” Rife with video content, Slime Jewel regularly posts full-minute long recordings of the creation and manipulation of Slime: an amalgam of “White elmer’s glue, glitter, rhinestones, borax, and glue sticks.”
In Slime Jewel’s videos, seemingly endless variations of Slime unfold in a rainbow of colors and textures. A chopstick will enter the bottom right corner of the frame and prod deliberately at the gelatinous mass, pushing it into gratuitous flaps and glistening bunches. The opulent sloth of the material is as glorious as it is deeply disturbing. The chopstick gouges at the wet bundle, testing the tensile limits of the Slime. It quivers and submits.
The captions beneath each video range from a simple “peach” or “baby bottle” emoji, to the more exacting “cereal milk slime. It’s so cute to me.”
Another popular user, Slimeycandy, who clocks in at 114,000 followers, proudly announces “slime videos are what I do,” and “NOT SELLING ATM.” A well-liked video, captioned “Fail Attempt at Pastel,” features a hand obsessively poking and twisting a candy-hued wad for 50
uninterrupted seconds. Further exploration of the comment section reveals this juicy hint at controversy in the burgeoning Instagram slime community:
“...if anyone knew what the old caption was and is mad about it, my point was NOT ‘copying me’ making slime. Like wtf why would I accuse people of copying me,make slime (sic)? Its (sic) about a different problem so the person I’m talking about knows what they are doing. Obviously they found out and got mad.” -Slimecandy
The ensuing 433 comments are a tailspin of human emotion with users issuing various succinct but meaningful pleas to “Stop poking IT,” “how about you don’t even watch it then. why are you even on a slime page,” and the enigmatic: “for what?”
‘For what?’ or even simply ‘Why?’ may be the question we should all ask ourselves. As voyeurs, hobbyists, fetishists, human beings. Why are we here and what are we really seeing? Like everyone else in this modern age of transactional pleasure and attention deficit, Slime People endlessly surf the weird undercurrent of human noise and detritus that constitutes our digital zeitgeist.
Slime, the grooming of pets captured in slow motion, miniature paintings of Star Wars characters; Pick a topic, any topic. Millions of these disparate subjects flicker, mutate, and grow like an absurdist cancer entwined in the complex constellations of Instagram. And all of these things bring us inexorably together, reminding us finally, for better or worse, that we can never be alone again.
You can follow users SlimeJewel and Slimeycandy on Instagram.com