Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


She’s sad. She has a flip phone.

Adele/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Is it her you’re looking for?

It seems that many of you have simultaneously found her.

After a hiatus that seemed to leave us wanting to just find someone like her, British singer Adele slipped onto the Web’s tubes on Friday with a song, a video and an impact that captivated huge numbers. In its first 24 hours, it amassed some 25 million YouTube views.

This included those who adore (or not) flip phones. The video, you see, features Adele singing “Hello” (not the Lionel Richie song) and attempting to communicate with her past and a man she’d treated very badly, at least I think that’s what it’s about.

Her preferred method of communication is the phone that seems today only charming because it might be harder for authorities and nefarious types to intercept its messages.

Naturally, the Twitterati immediately leaped upon this choice. “When you haven’t released an album for a while and can’t afford to upgrade your phone yet,” a user called No Filter Guy offered.

This was accompanied by two Adele flip phones shots.

But why the flip phone? Is she describing a relationship from a time gone by, when phones were rudimentary and love was far simpler than today?

Not quite. This was an artistic choice.

“The real explanation is that I never like filming modern phones or cars,” Xavier Dolan, the director if the video, told the LA Times. “They’re so implanted in our lives that when you see them in movies you’re reminded you’re in reality.”


The flip phone. It’s art.

Adele/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You’ve been feeling that yourself for a long time, haven’t you? You just haven’t been able to articulate it.

“If you see an iPhone or a Toyota in a movie, they’re anti-narrative, they take you out of the story,” explained Dolan, a 26-year-old from Canada. “If I put an iPhone or a modern car in a movie, it feels like I’m making a commercial.”

There might be one or two sticklerish critics who will suggest that by inserting a flip phone you’re communicating nostalgia for a purer world.

But some will look at this video and kiss their iPhones for saving them from such limited, imperfect and personally painful communication as was served up by flip phones (and this video).

The video also features a phone booth. A real, old-style British phone booth. (Or phone box, as Brits would have it.)

“It says she is stranded in nature, which has regained its rights,” Dolan said. “It’s an element of the past. It’s much more important than the flip-flop and trying to identify whether it’s Samsung or an AE9 or whatever.”

Is nature more important than our phones? Is the past more important than the present? Are past phones signifiers of loss, where today’s phones are signifiers that we can never get lost and always be found?

These and many more philosophical thoughts will rebound around hearts and brains of all ages, as this song and video embeds itself in Web (and therefore human) life.

Which leaves us with one last artistic thought: What if Apple decided to release a modern flip phone?

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Adele and her flip phone rouse the Web