Over the past few days, an objectively very boring video has been getting a hell of a lot of views and attention. It’s a video of an unquestionably shitty act for a person to perform — keying a car. As far as shitty acts go, it’s hard to say it’s the most heinous, or even remotely engaging to watch. So why are we all so damn interested?
Maybe it’s that awful sound. Yeeesh.
Before I go on to investigate things, I’d just like to re-iterate Jalopnik official policy and my own personal creed: you don’t fuck with someone’s ride. It’s just not done. It doesn’t matter how crappy the car is, if it’s another individual’s car, let it be. That’s why my family mausoleum has ut non noceat te currum ex persona alterius carved into the lintel above the entrance. We take this seriously.
That said, why, exactly are there so many news stories and so many views and comments on this video of this particular act of vandalism — an admittedly mild one, given the extreme and ridiculous acts committed to YouTube every day? I think there’s a number of factors at play:
• The car is an expensive car, an Aston Martin V8 Vantage
• The guy who keys the car is pushing a baby in a stroller
• The guy does make some funny faces
• The guy is black, which does introduce a racial element to the comments
Beyond this, we don’t know much about why this guy, pushing what we assume is his kid in what appears to be a pretty expensive baby stroller, decides to key this Aston Martin. The news articles and the YouTube pages are all packed full of comments, rage, barbaric racism, and half-assed theories.
The prevailing theory in most of these is that the man with the stroller is lashing out at an expensive car because he himself is unable to afford something as swank as an Aston. I’m not so sure I buy this one, because that stroller is absolutely not a cheap stroller, the guy’s tracksuit seems to have been identified as an Armani tracksuit — I don’t know anything about this car-keyer’s finances, but by simply looking at him, he could be the owner of that car as much as he could be the guy who keys it.
Would this video have been as big a deal if a Corolla owner had a dashcam on and caught someone keying their car? Probably not; part of the lurid fascination is that the car is expensive and the repairs are estimated to cost about $14,000 to fix. I mean, I’m sure the owner has insurance and all, but that’s still an alarming number for such a quick act of vandalism.
It’s telling and it shows a lot how our society values expensive cars that this act, which must happen on a daily basis somewhere in the world, to some poor car, is gathering global attention. It’s strange, right, how much people are fascinated by this?
It’s hard not to try and create narratives for why this happened. Maybe the guy had some personal beef with the owner of the Aston? We really have no idea.
What I do know is all the self-righteous indignation based on almost no real information and the even worse race-related comments are awful, and I want better half-assed theories about this mundane and strangely fascinating video. If we’re going to assume a lot of shit and find ways to be outraged (beyond just that a car got keyed) we can at least come up with some better theories. Here, I’ll get you started:
• The guy’s just a dick
• The baby’s the jerk, and is making the guy do it because the baby blames Aston Martin for the decline of Jensen, a marque the baby loves
• The guy’s a spy, and by making a scratch on the car, he’s sending a signal to a field agent to not detonate the UK’s secret doomsday device. This act is performed once a month.
• The guy is an advanced experimental android, and is malfunctioning. That would also explain the strange grimaces. The baby is probably some sort of data transmitting unit transmitting data back to the parent company, the Wham-O corporation.
• That Aston killed his sensei
• The baby is actually an alien pod-baby, and is controlling the man through his mind; the invasion plan involves crippling the global economy by flooding our body shops with key-related repair jobs
• It’s his own car, and he really, really doesn’t understand how proximity keys work.
So, let’s raise the level of discourse on the internet and really try to think our way through this inane puzzle. Have at it.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.