The Best YouTube Video is an occasional series where Motherboard searches for the best YouTube video ever made, usually on Friday afternoons right before the margarita alarm rings. Previously The Best YouTube Video: Dank Ass Sandboarding Son.
The best thing about being Ken Griffey, Jr. wouldn't be having your face on a bunch of video games or playing on a pro sports team with your dad. No, the best thing about being Ken Griffey, Jr. would be the feeling of smashing the ever-living fuck out of a baseball. There are certainly less-celebrated analogs—tossing pumpkins out of a truck, throwing glass bottles against a wall, kicking a snowman in the chest—but they probably can't compare to completely knocking the hide off of a meaty fastball.
I'm not sure why humans, especially of the male variety, really enjoy crushing things. (A Google Scholar search for "why humans like to smash things" proved less than fruitful.) Presumably its root is in our own fighting instincts, which doesn't necessarily involve physical combat. As Walter Ong writes in his his book Fighting for Life: Contest, Sexuality, and Consciousness, "'Fight,' however, has a more generalized sense: to put forth an effort against odds. 'He is fighting hard to win the game.'" Smashing a baseball or hitting a street sign with a beer bottle feels great because you won.
Which brings us to swords. A whole lot of people love to collect swords, presumably because swords can destroy most things. (Cue the aggro chopping demos.) But what's truly amazing about "I Thoroughly Enjoy Swords" is not that it's a supercut of various YouTube sword infomercials. What's amazing is just how goddamn frustrating it is to watch a whole cut of wild sword-waving and not see the sword man actually slice and dice some objects. Here's some psycho waving a sword around like a sonofabitch—real spectacle!—and yet our own human reaction is to feel teased. And that insight into our weird brains is why "I Thoroughly Enjoy Swords" is The Best YouTube Video.