Watch the Scathing Anti-TED TED Talk

A Scholar Disparages TED Conference Culture as 'Middlebrow Megachurch Infotainment'

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Our Clip of the Week is a newly posted TED talk that bashes … TED talks. In this nearly 12-minute presentation, Benjamin Bratton, director of the Center for Design and Geopolitics at U.C. San Diego and an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts there, disparages TED conference culture as "middlebrow megachurch infotainment." He comes off as a bit of a haughty provocateur (and a nervous one at that, especially at the start of his talk, when he paces the stage like a caged animal), but by the end you might find yourself thinking that he's fired off some shots that really hit the mark.

On Monday, the same day TED released this video, The Guardian posted Bratton's talk in text form. Scroll down below the video for a link and a choice excerpt.

Read the text version of this talk, titled "We need to talk about TED," here. A sample:

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?

Pro-tip: If you glean a vicarious insight, etc., from Bratton's talk, keep it to yourself!

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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