We all like TEDTalks don’t we…I’ve seen some interesting ones that is for sure…but I’ve sort of waned in my interest and only fleetingly wondered why.
Perhaps it was the manifestation of TEDTalks in NZ that did it in for and how the usual suspects lined up to wax lyrical about really uninteresting people talking at them.
But then I read this article at VICE about TedTalks and it clicked.
Over the last few weeks, for example, I’ve been making a sustained effort to watch at least one TED talk a day.Â I’m not sure what it is about my generation, exactly, but I’ve noticed a weird trend to watch or listen to “informative”, Horrible History-style things for adults rather than actually think. It seems to be a cultural reference point to think about the idea of thinking, rather than actually engaging the old noggin.
Which is why I basically sleep walk through everything.Â I haven’t had an independent thought in years. Sometimes, I forget my own name.
Maybe it’s because I’m a card-carrying member to a tinfoil hat society for the infuriatingly smug, but I think there’s something inherently wrong with passivity. And yet I write this from my bed.Â The most common response I received when I told people I was working on this was, “What? Have you never enjoyed one?” Which, I suppose, isÂ my whole point. When thinking about thinking becomes entertainment rather than a challenge, something has fucked up.
It feels like almost bad manners to have a go at something that is so overwhelmingly positive. But, fuck it, I’m going to do it because, just as Justin Lee Collins making a handful of people laugh didn’t mean he wasn’t a horrible, horriâble man, TED entertaining you doesn’t mean it isn’t a sneaky pyramid scheme, designed to suck off your ego while pretending to inseminate your mind with world-altering concepts.
From my vantage point, swinging from the nether regions of society,Â TED (and all other “thinkies”) is the road of least resistance to thought, dishing out toilet stall profundity willy-nilly for those like me whose cognitive ability languishes somewhere between a turtle’s and a slice of bread.
I have watched, I’d wager, 50 videos at least, because a) I have a lot of time on my hands and b) I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And I’ve concluded that it’s basically havingÂ Alain de Botton in your house with a biro scribbling: “AdB woz ere,” on the back of the shitter door and getting applauded for the effort.