I can’t tell you how many people have sent me a link to Amanda Palmer’s Art of Asking talk at TED this year. Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for all of you:
I can’t bring myself to watch it.
It’s not because Ms. Palmer is effectively full of shit (although that certainly doesn’t help); it’s because the first 15 seconds or so of her presentation is just death — the most pretentious, misguided theatrics kind of death there is. Who on Earth would sanction such a cringe-worthy waste of the Internet’s time?
As it turns out, it was the organizers of TED.
How do I know this? I read a feature on the world’s most self-important conference by The Verge. The embedded video was particularly illuminating; pay close attention around a minute and fifteen seconds in and you’ll catch executive producer June Cohen reference the “very deep editorial process”. Watch further and you’ll see how other presenters are bullied into the same misguided on-stage antics. Watch until the end and you’ll hear about the worldwide talent search for speakers and the ensuing auditions.
Wait, what? Auditions? So TED gets to decide what’s important now?
Hey, I loathe a bad PowerPoint as much as anyone else, but give me someone who’s worthy of my time and I’m there. Case in point, a TED Talk from way back in 2003 by Jeff Hawkins on the subject on brain science. Why? Because Jeff Fucking Hawkins, that’s why. He could be at the dumpster across the street and I’d still drop everything to go see him. Only thing that might stop me would be if some asshole made him stand on a milk crate with a rose in his hand. Oh god, I’m cringing again…
TED, it seems, would have you believe that the world has run out of smart people. Why else would they charge $7,500 USD to see a fucking busker?
I guess I can take some comfort in the knowledge that A-list celebrities need shit dumbed down for them, too. As for everything else about this utopian circle-jerk — including links to the damn videos — I’m just not interested.