Cutting-Edge Minivan Technology Lets Parent Yell at Kids Extra Loudly

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 21 2014 3:04 PM

Cutting-Edge Minivan Technology Lets Parent Yell at Kids Extra Loudly

72252680YQX011_Acrobat
NO WE ARE NOT THERE YET

Photo by China Photos/Getty Images

The newest version of Toyota’s Sienna minivan is the company’s most creative and family-friendly yet. There is, says the press release, an optional Dual-View, Blu-Ray rear seat entertainment system to make the car “a kid-favorite destination.” There is a “pull-down conversation mirror” that allows parents to check on passengers in the back without contorting themselves awkwardly. Oh, and there is Driver Easy Speak, which uses a microphone to amplify the driver’s voice through the rear speakers, so that he or she can better scream at the kids. Call it a creative, frictionless yelling experience.

Driver Easy Yell, as this innovation should be called, is necessary because “today’s parents are embracing their life stage and those relatable family moments that make us laugh and feel connected,” said Toyota Division marketing vice president Jack Hollis. When, in the midst of a relatable family moment, you feel so connected to your children that you wish to scare their pants off, Driver Easy Yell lets you do just that. The company claims that its latest feature will make it easier for parents to communicate with rear passengers without raising their voices. This “communication” line is clearly a pretext, however, because Easy Yell only goes in one direction—the backseat will not be miked, the revolution will not be amplified. Plainly, Toyota wants to help you terrorize your misbehaving kids by booming rebukes at them in the implacable Voice of God. In the next version, the car will make flames appear to erupt out of your forehead.

Advertisement

What kind of parent would use Driver Easy Yell on their kids? All of them, at least according to an unscientific (but unanimous!) survey of moms and dads in the office. Some representative replies included: “I’d use it if it came standard, but I wouldn’t pay more for it. … I’m pretty good at yelling at my kids” (from a father of two), “I’d use it” (from a mother of two) and “only to occasionally terrify them” (from a dad of two).  

The pricing and availability of the 2015 Toyota Sienna have not yet been announced, but an auto industry analyst told AP she thinks Toyota is on the right track spicing up the perennially unfashionable minivan with intriguing features. Meanwhile, driver Easy Yell offers four distinct volume settings: Ann Coulter, Wizard of Oz, Agatha Trunchbull, and Asmodeus, Lord of Darkness.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Katy Waldman is a Slate staff writer. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 7:30 AM Ring Around the Rainbow
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.