On TED talks and being quiet

I don’t like TED talks. I’ve discussed my dislike of them here on the blog before. In writing about one of the reasons I am troubled by Brain Pickings I wrote the following:

Her love of TED, with its business self-helpy tone and its pedagogical model that idolizes Experts-who-enlighten, influences the overall tone of the blog. For a number of reasons, which I’ll leave for another post or a series of posts, I don’t like business self-helpy shtuff and my vision of pedagogy comes into conflict with the Expert-as-awesome model.

One of these days I might have to get around to writing a post/article in which I critique TED by drawing upon feminist and queer pedagogical tools. Has anyone done this yet? For now, I’ll use this post to mention a recent New Yorker article that critically discusses “how the conference has turned ideas into an industry.” Although I haven’t read the article yet, I’m intrigued and amused by the opening image which humorously breaks down the standard format of the TED talk (overly polished and formulaic) performance. I especially like the Head Tilt at 12 degrees. While searching for this article online, I also found a post the author did about the article for the New Yorker blog: Five Key TED Talks. In this post, he illustrates some of the features of the TED format through a description of five talks. One of these talks just happens to be about a book I’m currently reading: Quiet.

I have some misgivings about this book (and Cain’s broad generalizations), but I’ll suspend my critique until I finish reading it. Teaser: I’m troubled by her failure to consider how race, gender, class or geographical positioning complicates our experiences and understandings of being introverted or extroverted. And, I can’t help but wonder, in what ways is the introversion she wants to claim a privileged position (one that requires time + money + space) that many can’t afford? Maybe she addresses these questions in later chapters? I should stop writing and start reading…

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