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

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.

Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

Join the Discussion

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

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Technology

Just In