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Crying While Eating is a series of homemade movies depicting people crying while they eat something. Originally produced by a group of friends as a contest submission for the Contagious Media Showdown, a viral media competition hosted by Jonah Peretti in May 2005, the series went onto inspire several dozens of copycat videos on YouTube.
The website CryingWhileEating.com was created by filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski and writer Daniel Engber as their submission entry for the Contagious Media Showdown, a viral media competition hosted by Jonah Peretti in May 2005 to see who could draw the most web traffic within a week. The site was launched with a batch of 12 videos starring Nozkowski, Engber and their friends on May 19th, 2005, with each entry accompanied by a descriptive summary of uploader’s first name, choice of food and reason for crying:
Contagious Media Showdown
Contagious Media Showdown was a viral media competition held in May 2005 and organized by the co-founder of The Huffington Post Jonah Peretti. The idea began as an experimental project to study the dynamics of what he referred to as “bored at work network” and the competition paved the way for several viral startup projects including Crying While Eating, Forget Me Not Panties, Blogebrity, and Ringtone Dancer.
By the next morning, the website had been spotted by Andy Baio’s blog Waxy and picked up by BoingBoing and Metafilter, drawing more than 50,000 visitors within the first 24 hours of launch. Throughout the rest of May 2005, the project continued to curate user-submitted videos of people crying while eating from all over the world, drawing more than 7.5 million views and notable mentions from a variety of mainstream media outlets like VH1 and Entertainment Weekly, as well as blogs in Dutch, Galician, Italian, Turkish, Norwegian, and German. By the end of the contest, Crying While Eating had received more than 13.4 million hits and took second place after Forget Me Not Panties, a hoax website that offered GPS-equipped chastity belts for women.
On June 23rd, 2005, co-creator of the site Daniel Engber wrote a column article on Slate detailing his experience of creating a viral website, in which he noted that the majority of total traffic was referred from blog links and internet humor forums like Something Awful and College Humor, rather than from news articles and television coverage.
On YouTube, searching for the phrase “crying while eating” yields nearly 190 videos, as of October 2012.
In Pineapple Express
In the 2008 American stoner action comedy Pineapple Express, one of the main characters Saul Silver (played by actor James Franco) can be seen crying while sitting on a swing and eating a hamburger.
Despite taking the second place in the Contagious Media Showdown, search queries for “Crying While Eating” surpassed that of any other entries, including the grand prize winning hoax site Forget Me Not Panties, as well as the contest itself.