Monday, 27 July 2009


It's encouraging that TED is getting loads of news coverage because it's been held in the UK this year. Carole Cadwalladr wrote a brilliant piece about it in the Observer, here. I particularly love this Alain de Botton quote selected from his talk (check out his book Status Anxiety): 

"The next time you see someone driving a Ferrari, don't think they are greedy, think they are vulnerable and in need of love." 

The New Scientist were blogging about the implications of science ideas from TED, here.  You can watch loads of the talks for yourself on the Ted website, and hook yourself up to their back catalogue of tweets from the conference, with teasers and links to talks.

This isn't the first time I'd heard of TED, though. Like the hundreds of thousands who watch TED lectures online, I discovered TED through Googling Eve Ensler. You can see her 2007 talk, which I love, below.

When Anderson, the curator of TED Oxford and founder of Future Publishing says, 

"something is missing from the media diet. Beyond 'if it bleeds, it leads', and celebrity tittle-tattle, people want to learn new things."

I hope he is right.  Of course people want to be entertained but also to be informed. Despite the anti-intellectual education system we have in this country, compared to, say, the Baccalaureate, there seem to be some green shoots - of genuine desire for people to improve their minds, enrich their cultural lives and act responsibly towards the environment and other people. There's an article in Intelligent Life arguing society is smartening up, not dumbing down, here. Do you agree? I feel there is a shift occurring as a backlash from over-simplified stories and pointless, fabricated gossip towards more incisive, contextualised journalism. But maybe that's just wishful thinking in the face of an media under ever more financial and resource-scarce pressure? 

I think the way forward has to be with the editors of the mainstream media. They hold so much power. I'm sure it's a very fine balancing act between giving the masses what they want, commercial success, and gently, seamlessly guiding them about what is important to know and may directly impact their lives. 

The best we can probably do as consumers is to use economic forces to vote for the best writing and editing - the outlets with the most investigative journalism and effective and honourable campaigns - ie whatever you buy you are creating a demand for. 

I suppose we could also inundate readers editors with letters to rival the lobbies, but probably not without suggesting what we want covered in more depth, and how. 

Ok, off to watch some more TED talks now! 

1 comment:

  1. One of one of my fave talks (without getting too geeky):