Unboxings

I couldn’t really begin to say why, but in the process of working myself up to buying an iPad I became slightly addicted to these strange, homemade videos, with their mildly intoxicating mixture of smugness and exhilaration. I started off watching iPad unboxings, and then worked my way haphazardly outward toward the fringes of the technological orbit: to webcam footage of people unboxing leatherette iPhone cases, Kindle reading lights, limited-edition Nintendo DS replacement styluses. I saw a well-heeled New Jerseyite named Lance Linton unbox a Dualit brushed-steel toaster; I saw a nervous and bespectacled Irish schoolboy unbox a Russell Hobbs Glass Touch cordless kettle…

There are 75 more words in that sentence, but I think you get the gist of this essay in The Dublin Review about one man’s fascination with watching “unboxing” videos on Youtube (the “bespectacled Irish schoolboy” is the one I posted above). It reminds me very much of the “haul” videos people like to post of things they’ve scored after a day of shopping, except way geekier. The writer, Mark O’Connell, says his love for unboxing videos probably stems in some way from all the fond memories he has of opening presents when he was a kid. They don’t inspire the same feelings in me, but maybe that’s because my secret YouTube watching mostly involves looking up videos of strangers covering songs I like (which reminds me of my parents singing Karaoke throughout my childhood).

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