Today I am feeling honest, so here is a confession: I hate TED Talks.

I’m sorry, but I’m just no longer willing to live in a world where I have to pretend to like TED Talks. And before you chastise me for this sweeping generalization please allow me to explain WHY I hate TED Talks.

Everyone seems to think that TED Talks are the most inspiring, life-changing thing, and I am here to tell you that TED Talks simply inspire people to want to give TED Talks.

TED Talks recreate that situation where someone is telling you a story and instead of listening to their story you are thinking of a funny anecdote of your own that is tangentially related. You’re just waiting for them to take a breath or a sip of their mimosa before launching into your own spiel. If I had a dollar for every time someone sent me a YouTube link to a TED Talk and said some version of  “I really want to do a TED Talk someday” then I would have…several dollars. A medium amount of dollars.

In order to feel less alone, I visited Stuff White People Like and SURE ENOUGH, they are also snarking about TED Talks (and they did it about 3.5 years ago so clearly I am LATE to this party but honestly, I kept thinking TED Talks would go away and instead they keep spawning other versions of TED Talks. Enough already!). They have a slightly different, also valid, reason for disliking TED Talks:

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.

Now, let me be clear when I tell you that I am, in fact, a white person, and I do, in fact, enjoy public radio and the occasional documentary. But I draw the line at TED Talks! They continue to say:

Due to the broad audience watching the talks, TED speakers generally take very complex ideas and boil them down into a simple engaging presentation. So when a white person finds out that you have a PhD and visits and attempts to engage you in a conversation about String Theory, you should know that all of their understanding comes from a twenty-minute talk they listened to while running on a treadmill. You should also be aware that the average white person considers their knowledge on the subject to be on par or superior to yours.

So, there you have it. TED Talks. [via Stuff White People Like]

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