Mar 12, 2014
Posted on Dec 31, 2013
Ah, TED talks. They boast the veneer of prestige, the promise of innovation, and many have gone viral seemingly irrespective of the actual merit of their content. What gives?
UC San Diego professor and cultural critic Benjamin Bratton raises some provocative questions in this piece that takes a skeptical look, to say the least, at the self-help-inflected and tautological (e.g., What I’m about to say is extremely significant, because I say so and because you, eager audience, are in on it) subculture that in part gave rise to TED and that TED continues to build—one pithy line at a time.
Addendum: TED stands for “technology, entertainment and design.” Here’s a link to the home page, which offers clips from talks on a smattering of topics, delivered by ambassadors from the cultural vanguard sporting headsets and slinging tag lines like: “The $80 prosthetic knee that’s changing lives,” “Invest in social change,” and “What I learned from Nelson Mandela.”
The site itself, meanwhile, sets the bar high in summing up its offerings: “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” You be the judge.
—Posted by Kasia Anderson
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