The Best YouTube Video is an occasional series where Motherboard searches for the best YouTube video ever made, usually on Friday afternoons right before the margarita alarm rings. Previously The Best YouTube Video: Ball_so_hard.avi.
I recently wrote about being in love with my busted-ass cell phone for cathartic reasons best explained over a sixer on a roof somewhere, and it struck me how many people have mentioned in the intervening weeks that they love, or at least are emotionally attached to, their gadgets too.
It's probably due to an innate community-based predilection we have for anthropormorphization, and yeah, there's a fair bit of brain-hacking going on in the emotional messaging around gadget marketing—when your phone promises you happier friends, more attractive love interests, a better relationship with your family, and an altogether better life, damn right you're gonna love that thing—but oh well. This our future, one in which we're all in some state of emotional limbo to every bleeping, bloopy, needy thing in the house, human or not.
And, of course, this is our present as well. So here we have some dad somewhere losing his goddamn mind over a pair of automated trash cans that are flopping their fucking lids all over the place. It's not in the video, but you just KNOW that someone in that room said "Look! They're talking to each other!" *Raucous, G-rated laughter*
If you'll indulge me, a few thoughts I wanted to share (happy to hear yours as well):
1. Could this dad be any more Dad? The cackling is obviously infectious, but he's got the whole package: Glasses on nose, the sucked-in neck look down at the iPhone screen held daintily in his dadlike hands, Saturday t-shirt covering a well-earned belly. This guy is basically Tim Allen and Santa Claus combined into one package (although not the actual combination of Allen and Claus, which was fairly frightening.)
2. How Norman Rockwell is it that the dad is ALSO filming on his phone? Previous point aside, this video is far more meta than I initially anticipated. We all laugh at the occasional photo that pops up of a bunch of teens hanging out at home, all staring at their phones—kids these days, can't even play Nintendo together—but it's the olds that are probably guiltier than anyone.
I was at a family reunion last week, and the number of photos taken by people over 40 oustripped the rest of the group by at least 50:1. I'm sure this point has been elucidated ad nauseum on a billion millennial-focused content farms, but it's still nuts. I don't know if its the feeling of the Reaper staring us down, but grownups sure do take a lot of random videos of fruit bowls and trash cans.
3. I'm not sure if automated trashcans are all that expensive in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that this household has more than one of them is pretty fancy. More importantly, it's fascinating to see them as a symbol of how affluence breeds complexity.
Does one really need an infrared-powered trashcan, when any old one with a step/lever system does essentially the same thing? (Granted, hand-lifting a trashcan lid sucks.) What's the point of buying a trash receptacle that requires "4 D size batteries or optional AC Power Adaptor (both not included)"? What about all those tiny moving parts? Seems like a pain in the ass.
But so it goes: The more expensive things get, the more difficult they are to deal with. I probably sound like a grandpa here, but when was the last time you sat in, say, a German luxury car? I remember sticking my head in an Audi at an auto show and there were just buttons sprayed everywhere, farted out of the brain of some brilliant engineer. Smart homes, universal remotes the size of ironing tables, yachts, Swiss watches, being rich is complicated as shit.