What Will We Do When Toasters Can Feel?


Out of all the potentially traumatizing films I enjoyed in childhood, The Brave Little Toaster was the worst -- yes, worse than Bambi. I actually adored Bambi. Even though I loved animals and hated to see them hurt, I could rationalize his mother's death as a sad, but inevitable part of the circle of life. Besides, I grew up in the American south, where you learn about deer hunting at an early age. But the idea that inanimate objects, which I daily used, abused, took for granted, and threw away, secretly were sentient, sensitive beings, tormented me.   Cats, dogs, and humans can tell you through words and body language when you hurt, anger, sadden, or please them. Inanimate objects, being silent, could also suffer in silence without my knowledge. The fact that the favorite blanket I carried everywhere shared the name of one of the main characters, Blanky, exacerbated my concerns. What if I accidentally hurt Blanky? What if Blanky missed me when I was in preschool? What if Blanky didn't like me after all? 

More than once my mother had to assuage some irrational worry and explain that inanimate objects did not have feelings like animals did. Once the lesson stuck, I got over my fears quickly. Like most people, I occasionally anthropomorphize objects around me. But I don't worry that my car will be sad if I forget to change its oil or that my summer sandals will be hurt when I put them away for the winter.

Until now: designer Simone Rebaudengo has created a network of toasters that are addicted to making toast and get jealous if used less frequently.

Yes, you read that right. These are toasters with feelings. Sad feelings.

We haven't even learned how to manage the feelings we have already, and now we're making more?

I'm gonna go grab my cat and my Blanky and take a nap. Let me know when we figure out a way to handle this better than the people in The Brave Little Toaster

photo credit: Chechi Pe via photopin cc