This skit, mocking users who’ve complained about problems with the iPhone 5, might as well have a giant “#firstworldproblems” hashtag ticker running across the bottom. Normally that argument carries with it a huge bag of problems, in that it flattens the experiences of people who do live in the developing world (or in this case, work in Foxconn factories). As Teju Cole put it, #firstworldproblems is marked by “the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.” It makes Foxconn factory workers simply factory workers, not complete human beings. What makes this skit interesting though, and why it works, is that it complicates that picture a little bit by making the iPhone workers the funny people in this skit — they’re the ones doing all the mocking, they’re the ones with the power. They were people. (Where it fails miserably is the horrendous accents.)
What’s ironic is that, in a sense, the iPhone is becoming too perfect for humans to make — a fact that came out during a recent strike by Foxconn workers who’ve been pushed to the edge by increasingly demanding manufacturing standards.
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