The key rhetorical device for TED talks is a combination of epiphany and personal testimony (an “epiphimony” if you like ) through which the speaker shares a personal journey of insight and realisation, its triumphs and tribulations.
What is it that the TED audience hopes to get from this? A vicarious insight, a fleeting moment of wonder, an inkling that maybe it’s all going to work out after all? A spiritual buzz?
I’m sorry but this fails to meet the challenges that we are supposedly here to confront. These are complicated and difficult and are not given to tidy just-so solutions. They don’t care about anyone’s experience of optimism. Given the stakes, making our best and brightest waste their time – and the audience’s time – dancing like infomercial hosts is too high a price. It is cynical.
Also, it just doesn’t work.
Indeed. Read the whole thing.
(h/t Kathy Shaidle)
One of the easiest ways to create something that white people will like is to create something that will allow them to feel smart but doesn’t require a large amount of work, time, or effort. There is, however, a catch. Whatever it is that you create cannot be a shortcut. You see white people like the idea of getting smarter quickly, but they don’t like the idea of people thinking that they are lazy. It is a bit of a paradox, but it does explain why white people only like Cliff Notes if they are part of some sort of hilarious college story about last-minute studying for an exam. And why they consider it highly unacceptable to use cliff notes or Wikipedia to get a rough understanding of a book you don’t want to read.
Unfortunately being able to create something that makes you feel smarter without having to do a lot of work has been very difficult. So only a few ideas have ever gained traction with white people, the most notable of which being documentary films and public radio. However, in the past decade a new item has been added to this very short list-TED Talks.