And The New Yorker is right - we are obsessed with them. In this clip, someone suggests airing them after the fact, but I think a big part of the reason we can't stop watching is because they are live, and no one knows what is going to happen next. You don't have to worry about someone on Twitter spoiling the outcome. Another thing is that it's interesting when we recognize neighborhoods, cities, streets and freeways. It gives you a sense of being part of it.
I think the New Yorker actually did a pretty objective, if brief, job of trying to explain this phenomenon, although I do wonder where they got the "13,000 killed by police pursuit" number. Except for the guy who shot himself and a couple people killed in crashes, rarely do these seem to end in death, at least here in L.A. I personally have never seen a fatal crash on TV and I really hope the number isn't that high.
And yeah, the TMZ van trying to end a pursuit is definitely the most Hollywood thing you'll see all day.
On the downside, as I type this The New Yorker's website also has an article entitled "The Case For Not Being Born", which promptly made me think of The Twilight Zone. The title alone is so creepy, I feel like the only way I could get through it would be by imagining it being read by Rod Serling. I think I'll stick with the car chase video.
H/T to Curbed LA on Twitter for this one.