'We Sleep Where We Work': 'SNL' Satirizes iPhone 5 Complaints

More

A biting parody of tech culture

The iPhone 5 has disappointed some of its users. The maps problems. The camera problems. The fact that, despite Apple's claims of its device's ingenuity, the phone's improvements are incremental rather than revolutionary. 

These problems are, in the scheme of things, totally and completely insignificant. Which is a fact that "Saturday Night Live," of all outlets, tried to remind us of this weekend. The skit above -- featuring guest host Christina Applegate -- mocks tech blogs. It mocks myopically spec-driven tech coverage. It mocks Apple users. It mocks Apple manufacturers. It mocks pretty much anyone who would think that maps and cameras and screen sizes are worthwhile subjects of extended conversation. Which is to say, it mocks most of us. 

And in that, it is both funny and intensely cringe-inducing. There are the workers' terrible, stereotypical "Chinese" accents, for one thing. And the agonizing employment of an ehru to poke fun at the idea of a small violin. And, above all, the uncomfortable collision of two groups -- producers, consumers -- whose interaction is normally mediated only by an iPhone's silent screen. 

This is actually painful to watch. But that's the point -- or, well, part of it. If advanced technologies are indistinguishable from magic, we don't often want our illusions spoiled. We don't often want to be reminded -- or even to know in the first place -- where our gadgets come from. We don't often want to think of personal tech as a product in the full sense of the word. It's this imposed ignorance that 'SNL' is finally making fun of. The real joke here is our preference for tech that is comfortably reified and that has only one story to tell: our own.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

How have stories changed in the age of social media? The minds behind House of Cards, This American Life, and The Moth discuss.


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In