This 10-hour YouTube video turns Donald Trump insults into art

Play it again, Donald.
Play it again, Donald.
Image: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
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Some Donald Trump insults are so mesmerizing that you have to watch them again and again. Now you can, for 10 hours straight.

The Independent Journalism Review has put together a video of that length, made up of nothing but Trumpisms.

It’s not 10 distinct hours, but roughly seven minutes repeated over and over. “[John McCain] is a war hero because he was captured!” Trump is seen shouting a minute and a half in to the video. Then again after eight minutes. And at 15 minutes, and so on, every seven minutes until 9:54:30.

Why does this exist? In fact, there are hundreds of 10-hour videos on YouTube. Like the Trump video, they’re usually just one short thing, over and over. It started in 2011, when YouTube user TehN1ppe discovered that the length limit on videos had been extended, and uploaded 10 hours of Nyan Cat. (There is now a 1080p version, naturally.)

These became extremely popular. “Nyan Cat 10 hours” has 45 million views, and another 4.5 million if you count the 1080p version.

That popularity inspired many more patience-testing videos. TehN1ppe alone went on to make several more lengthy smash hits. Ten hours of an installment of Fukkireta, a Japanese music video series, has 10 million views.

“Epic sax guy,” a looped section from a performance at Eurovision 2010, has 10 million views on TehN1ppe’s page, and another version has 17 million.

Obviously, these numbers don’t mean every one of these people have watched the entire thing. YouTube is vague about how many seconds count as a “view.” But that’s still a lot, especially considering YouTube periodically removes fake views.

What’s more, some people actually have watched all 10 hours. In the description for the Fukkireta video, TehN1ppe writes, ”I actually listened whole video o_o.” There are even 10-hour videos of people watching all 10 hours of a 10-hour video. Consider “Nyan Cat 10 HOURS REACTION VIDEO!” which itself has 1.5 million views.

Or “Reaction to Nyan Cat 10 HOURS REACTION VIDEO!” in which somebody watches—for 10 hours—10 hours of the guy above watching a 10-hour video (250,000 views).

Ten hours seems to be the magic number. Search YouTube for “9 hours” or “11 hours,” and it’s mostly bland videos intended to be played in the background, like calming nature sounds, yule logs, and white noise.

You might be saying, at three layers of Nyan Cat videos and reaction videos, 10-hour videos are unbelievably out of hand. But very, very long videos are not pointless.

The most basic function they serve is to prolong something that is shorter than it deserves to be. In 2013, for example, Daft Punk released a 15-second teaser for their then-upcoming album Random Access Memories. The teaser featured one of the freshest grooves in recent pop memory—a snippet from their to-be hit Get Lucky—but it was over quickly. So why not simply loop it for 10 hours?

And there is beauty and discovery in repetition. Twentieth-century composers such as Terry Riley and Steve Reich made music by cutting up magnetic tape and reconstructing it in an infinite loop. Their musical contributions are built on repetition. Reich’s Piano Phase is nearly the exact same pattern repeating for about 20 minutes. He wrote of his famous piece Come Out—a repeating clip of a disturbing quote from a boy beaten by police in the 1964 Harlem Riots—”by not altering its pitch or timbre, one keeps the original emotional power that speech has while intensifying its melody and meaning through repetition and rhythm.”

I’ve been listening to “Epic sax guy 10 hours” for the past 40 minutes or so, and I am starting to see every nuance in it. Maybe if I watch Trump insults for 10 hours, I’ll finally figure out what makes him tick.