Take a look at the “Popular Now” page of Vine, and you’ll find any number of vaguely teenage boys shouting, pranking, and getting millions of clicks. Vine is populated by guys with names like Nash Grier, Cameron Dallas, and Cody Johns, names so inoffensive they’re actually kind of offensive. You have to wonder if they came from some sort of… Vine stars name generator.
And perhaps they did. Created by Leon Chang, the generator pumps out names like Korey Tane, Pierson Benham, and Zane Plape with one click. You could also probably get a good band name out of it (Mikey Girls, Lil Blort, Gobungo Gungle).
“Half of the names are real (Cody Newkirk), half are made up,” Chang told the Daily Dot. He says he and friends started making fun of teen bro Vine after tweets like this:
— leon (@leyawn) March 18, 2014
Which was a spoof on posters for real tours like this:
these keep getting funnier pic.twitter.com/7AEkQRymaF
— rob whisman (@robwhisman) October 28, 2014
While Chang is playing on the interchangeability of their names and personalities (many of the names are men’s, but there are women’s names in the generator as well), he points out the content that lands many of these stars lucrative brand endorsements and spots on million-dollar tours is often pretty toxic: “Most Vine teens are six seconds of low-hanging racist and sexist jokes.”
Indeed, stars like Nash Grier have been called out for their sexist and homophobic behavior. Curtis Lepore was accused of rape last year, but took a plea deal in February. He was recently dropped from Rainn Wilson’s new show about Vine, but Grier just picked up an Aeropostale partnership, which people were not happy about.
And yet, these interchangeable personalities and swoopy haircuts continue to multiply, like when you get a Gremlin wet. Is Landon Blabey real? It’s hard to tell anymore.
“The real names are already absurd,” Chang said. “Those are real names. The rapper Kittavelli confirmed, for example, that she knew Wellington Boyce in high school. Like, that is an actual name that someone wrote on a birth certificate.
H/T AV Club | Illustration by Jason Reed