TED Talks have come under a ton of scrutiny lately, much of which revolves around the idea that many of them repackage the same information over and over again, designed only to make people feel good about themselves.
There have been a few thinkpieces on it, one from Salon, another from NewStatesman, but now we have an actual TEDx Talk about TED itself. UCSD Associate Professor of Visual Arts Benjamin Bratton took the stage at a TEDx in San Diego, and gave a presentation called "What's Wrong with TED Talks?"
He jumps right in with his problem:
I was recently at a presentation that a friend, an astrophysicist, was making to a potential donor, and I thought this talk was lucid, and engaging, and I'm a professor of visual arts here at UC San Diego so at the end of the day, I know really nothing about astrophysics. The donor, however, said, 'you know what, I'm gonna pass. I'm just not inspired. You should be more like Malcolm Gladwell.'
"Can you imagine? A scientist who creates real knowledge should be more like a journalist who recycles fake insights," Bratton says. "This is not popularization. This is taking something with substance and value and coring it out so that it can be swallowed without chewing. This is not how we'll confront one of our most frightening problems — this is one of our most frightening problems."
I've watched and listened to a few TED Talks over the past couple years, and I've enjoyed many of them, while others I found I could easily pass over. Either way, if something inspires you, whether it's a TED Talk, a speech, or a painting, do something with that inspiration.
Check out his video below.
I'll leave you with this Charles Bukowski poem:
AIR AND LIGHT AND TIME AND SPACE
”– you know, I’ve either had a family, a job,
something has always been in the
I’ve sold my house, I’ve found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I’m going to have
a place and the time to
no baby, if you’re going to create
you’re going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you’re going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you’re on
you’re going to create with part of your mind and your body blown
you’re going to create blind
you’re going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquake, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find