Saw Cloverfield last weekend. Yet again, New York has been destroyed in a movie. I see a connection here to the iPhone, which I'll get to in a second.
Back to the Big Apple. Just last month, Manhattan had been pre-ruined, like a pair of designer jeans, at the start of I Am Legend. Before that, the City That Never Sleeps was a nightmare in The Day After Tomorrow (2004); the God-awful U.S. version of Godzilla (1998); Deep Impact (1998); Escape From New York (1981); and others too numerous and/or too tedious to mention. The delight in destroying New York on film goes back to at least 1933, when a movie called Deluge showed massive tidal waves trashing Manhattan.
Now to the iPhone. Have you noticed the videos on the Web in which Apple's smart phone takes a serious beating? Sure, there are lots of stupid YouTube videos of people smashing their Razrs or Nokias. But really, when given a choice between watching someone pound the crap out of a BlackBerry and witnessing the fatal encounter of an iPhone and a sledgehammer, wouldn't you opt for the latter?
So what does this all mean? For starters, New York City and the iPhone are both icons--towering symbols of status, success, and creativity. As much as we love our icons, they make us feel just a wee bit insecure about our own status. So, stronger than our love for icons is our desire to watch them get knocked down, and these movies and videos pander to that desire. Also, destroying an icon makes the destroyer look big--or at least feel big. Finally, we're just curious to see what total devastation looks like, from a safe distance.
But enough of my half-baked philosophizing. I'll shut up and leave you with the clip below, my favorite iPhone destruction video on the Web. As of this writing, the video has been viewed on YouTube a total of 3,406,803 times.