Monday, March 19, 2012

The Old Fools

I don't know when, exactly, the TED talks went from being nerd cool to being the nerd musical; perhaps they always were, but at some point in the last two or three years the lights went out for me. So much hope in tomorrow! So much faith in cool gadgets! So much belief in belief itself! "We can change the world if we defy the impossible," declares one speaker on this autotune remix of the TED 2012 conference, expressing what might be the universal theme of technocrats and thespians everywhere. Isn't it pretty to think so! And how poorly equipped that fantasy leaves you for this cold intractable world. No wonder I've felt the need to read Philip Larkin after watching a TED talk or two, just to recalibrate afterwards.

So it was a relief to come across this article in New York Magazine, with its knowing take on the allure and the hollowness of TED: "Until recently, the universal self-actualizing creative ambition was to write a novel. Everyone has a novel in them, it was said. Now the fantasy has changed: Everyone has a TED Talk in them." And even more fun to watch this:

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