TED People Nix Income Inequality Chat In Favor Of More Prissy Totebagging Social Media Efficiency Crap

  lamers

occasionallyDo you kids like the TED talks? They’re a series of conferences where David Brooks pretends to explain scientific innovation or a “social media pioneer” babbles about how clicking a new computer button on a computer program will save Africa or… well, let’s just see what the top video on their website is right now: “David Kelley: How to build your creative confidence.” We’d rather listen to John McCain sing Ke$ha. “Bart Knols: Cheese, dogs, and pills to end malaria.” Oh my god. “Reuben Margolin: Sculpting waves in wood and time.” Whatever, fraud. “José Bowen: Beethoven the businessman.” Each one is just a fresh new apocalypse. Why not post a talk about, say, the major socioeconomic issue of our era, income inequality and stability? Apparently this would have been too “political” for the TED folks, so they won’t post it online. This deserves some extraordinarily negative feedback.

National Journal had the great scoop of how these Idea Leaders thought it would be too “political” to distribute an actual worthwhile chat that might make some Republicans (or corporate donors) sad:

TED organizers invited a multimillionaire Seattle venture capitalist named Nick Hanauer – the first nonfamily investor in Amazon.com – to give a speech on March 1 at their TED University conference. Inequality was the topic – specifically, Hanauer’s contention that the middle class, and not wealthy innovators like himself, are America’s true “job creators.”

“We’ve had it backward for the last 30 years,” he said. “Rich businesspeople like me don’t create jobs. Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers, and when they thrive, businesses grow and hire, and owners profit. That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all is a great deal for both the middle class and the rich.”

Sounds pretty perfect and relevant and backed by empirical data. Well done, organizers! BUT THEN WHAT HAPPENED?

You can’t find that speech online. TED officials told Hanauer initially they were eager to distribute it. “I want to put this talk out into the world!” one of them wrote him in an e-mail in late April. But early this month they changed course, telling Hanauer that his remarks were too “political” and too controversial for posting. [...]

Hanauer’s talk “probably ranks as one of the most politically controversial talks we’ve ever run, and we need to be really careful when” to post it, Anderson wrote on April 6. “Next week ain’t right. Confidentially, we already have Melinda Gates on contraception going out. Sorry for the mixed messages on this.”

And then Anderson had a patronizing little email chat with Hanauer about how he was wrong about stuff:

In a May 7 email to Hanauer, forwarded to NJ, Anderson took issue with several of Hanauer’s assertions in the talk, including the idea that businesspeople aren’t job creators. He also made clear his aversion to the “political” nature of the talk.

“I agree with your language about ecosystems, and your dismissal of some of the mechanistic economy orthodoxy, yet many of your own statements seem to go further than those arguments justify,” Anderson wrote.

“But even if the talk was rated a home run, we couldn’t release it, because it would be unquestionably regarded as out and out political. We’re in the middle of an election year in the US. Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party. And you even reference that at the start of the talk. TED is nonpartisan and is fighting a constant battle with TEDx organizers to respect that principle….

Chris Anderson is everything that is wrong with the world right now and should self-deport to a remote cave forever.

[National Journal]

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Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell

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147 comments

  1. GuanoFaucet

    Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party.

    Facts have a liberal bias, you daft asshole. Deal with it.

    1. Dumbedup

      Right. Saying anything true is now hyper political because the right hates the truth. Examples? Global warming is real, sex education works, the war in Iraq was stupid and pointless. Basically anything that deviates from billionaire talking points is political. God forbid someone say something true at one of these fucking fap fests.

    1. chicken_thief

      I'd throw my support behind his decision, but I just don't want to take a side…

  2. Arken

    "Confidentially, we already have Melinda Gates on contraception going out."

    Is Bill aware?

    1. DaveJ

      It's really quite brilliant. By the time Melinda is done talking about opening a Durex (TM) brand condom and slowly and tantalizing unrolling it down the length of Bill's throbbing, pulsating wang, the urge of people to procreate will drop to 0.000%.

  3. tbogg

    According to Chris Anderson's bio at TED he is a:

    "Change Agent, Connector, Event planner, Global soul, Idea generator, Journalist, Philanthropist, Potential employer, Producer, Social entrepreneur"

    But on his business card it just says Big Flaming Douche

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Mine says "Geologist, seismologist, paleontologist, vulcanologist, hydrologist, and friend of the working girl."

    2. Fare la Volpe

      Change Agent, Connector…Global soul, Idea generator…Potential employer, Producer, Social entrepreneur

      For fuck's sake. I've read Proust selections that were less obtuse.

    3. Wile E. Quixote

      He left out job creator. Oh wait, that's probably because he doesn't really have any money but is hoping to attach his lamprey like lips to the backside of someone who does. Jesus, what a fucking douche-nozzle. He reminds me of the geeks I see at events like MacWorld or USENIX/LISA who work for some small startup that is going nowhere fast and who have their attendee badges labelled with job titles such as "Intergalactic CEO", "Dark Lord of IT" and similar nonsense.

      1. emmelemm

        Without snark for a moment, I believe "Potential Employer" is code for Job Creator.

        But yeah, this guy is the douchiest douche who ever douched. (OK, not really. But man, he is douchey.)

        1. Wile E. Quixote

          Hey, give me a boatload of money and I'll be a job creating, potential employer too, and not just for the thugschange agents I hire to repeatedly punch Chris Anderson and any other idea generating, event planning global souls in the neck.

  4. anniegetyerfun

    The only people I know who attend TED events are the same ones who try to give me cooking advice when I complain on Facebook about how I can't seem to get my husband to eat Brussels sprouts ("Try them in a foie gras demi-glace"; "Have you considered using Indian spices?" – of course I have, dumbass, my husband IS South Asian). In other words, overly concerned foodies. It's not that they don't care about politics, it's just that they care more about gastronomy.

      1. anniegetyerfun

        "Have you tried them pan-roasted, then lightly tossed with extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt flakes, and extra coarse freshly ground black pepper?" – TED attendee

        1. Wile E. Quixote

          Seems like a waste of perfectly good extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt flakes and extra-coarse, freshly ground black pepper to me. Plus you're going to have to scrub the Hell out of whatever you cook them in to make sure you get that nasty Brussels sprout odor out.

        1. BarbdarTFlagass

          In my life, I have eaten chocolate syrup, as well as whipped cream, off a pair of titties, but never Brussels sprouts. I can't imagine that being erotic, even to a Flemish girl.

          1. Chichikovovich

            I wouldn't be so sure. I hear some of those European women are into weird stuff.

          2. anniegetyerfun

            Combine all three of those ingredients (four, if you count breasts), and you might have something.

        2. Wile E. Quixote

          Newt Gingrich sent me a letter and told me that for a $50 campaign donation I could eat Brussels sprouts off of his pair of big boobs. It contained an endorsement from someone named Chris Anderson who said that eating Brussel sprouts off of Newt Gingrich's pair of big boobs helped him to become the "Change Agent, Connector, Event planner, Global soul, Idea generator, Journalist, Philanthropist, Potential employer, Producer, Social entrepreneur" that he is today.

    1. Halloween Jack

      If there are any advantages to living in a shithole town in flyover country (there aren't any, but anyway), it's that I've never met a single person who attends TED events, at least when I knew them. (I was acquainted with Clay Shirky way back in the day, but I'll give him a pass because he's a nice guy, or at least he was then.)

  5. SorosBot

    Because being nonpartisan is more important than the truth! This is why flat-out liars like global warming denialists, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists and creationists are treated credibly by our wonderful media.

    1. anniegetyerfun

      Totally. Heaven forbid a talk that inspires actual CHANGE would be featured. It's better to sit back and pat ourselves on the backs over ideas that we think might work, but that we aren't going to implement.

    2. jodyleek

      "Ideas for which We've Spread Our Asscheeks to Our Corporate Overlords", more like.

  6. BarbdarTFlagass

    How many people look at that TED thing anyway? 850 or so? I just can't get too exercised over this.

    1. actor212

      They carry some of the more techy stuff on Science Channel, so I bet its a lot more than that. FreeSpeechTV carries the tapes, too.

    2. chicken_thief

      I've watched a few. Not that the addition of me would grossly distort your estimate…

      Dan Ariely is worth the time, imho.

    3. BarbdarTFlagass

      Well, just about everyone I know that looks at TED is a liberal, so his lecture would be preaching to the choir anyway.

  7. Lucidamente1

    José Bowen once did serious work on the history of classical music performance. Sigh.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Who cares if Beethoven was a music creator? What matters is that the man was a job creator.

      1. Lucidamente1

        When his brother signed a card as "landowner," LvB signed his reply as "brain owner."

  8. Baconzgood

    I never heard of TED (I guess that makes me uninformed), but if your screen header sais "Ideas worth spreading" wouldn't you kinda….well…HAVE POLITICAL OPINIONS ON YOUR SITE?!!!?!!!!?11!!!?????

  9. Fare la Volpe

    Jesus, TED. God forbid your site that no one has ever heard of actually generated some traffic.

  10. actor212

    Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party.

    Um, which party is in favor of income equality and middle class job creation? Cuz if you mean Obama, I don't recall TARP going to people like you and me.

    1. Crank_Tango

      Just wait for that warm, golden trickle down to trickle down all over your face. It's gonna be great.

  11. V572 Is this him?

    Maybe they could have posted the lecture if they'd let Romney give a response.

    1. bikerlaureate

      I bet Bachmann would step up, though it would be best to throw away the microphone after use.

      In the interest of "fairness", natch.

      1. JustPixelz

        "…throw away the microphone …"

        I know of a woman who's daughter suffered mental retardation after using Bachmann's microphone. OK, it was Bachmann's mother and … OK … the daughter had the mental retardation before that. But throw it away anyway.

    2. chicken_thief

      Rmoney is small potatoes in that world. John Paulson, who made billions shorting stock during the crash, would be a better choice.

  12. Baconzgood

    Ok I logged on to the site and all the people are doing what I call "Cenergy Hands" (those are the hand poses you make when you say "cerergy" or "out side the box thinking") and those stupid head gear things. LAME! Who wants to watch that crap? I see enough of these dildos on mandatory work retreats.

    1. JustPixelz

      I'll remember your observation when the U.S.A. is surpassed by Somalia in rational governance under prez Romney.

  13. Schmannnity

    John McCain sings Ke$$ha:

    Wake up in the morning feeling like Perry Como
    I got my dentures–I'm out the door–I'm going to hit the DC
    Before I leave brush my teeth that I got in 'Nam
    Cause i wouldn't want to offend my girlfriend, Graham
    Tik Tok etc.

  14. ChernobylSoup

    Tune in for the next podcast…

    ChernobylSoup: Joseph Lister loved germs, and why fettuccine is never wrong.

  15. FraAnima

    Surprise surprise…an exclusive gathering of the super rich doesn't want to be lectured about income inequality. The truth hurts, bitches. Plus, synergy!

  16. comrad_darkness

    Shorter Anderson: People with facts that make the aristocracy uncomfortable should just die already!

    Seriously, don't the rich learn history. Like anything linked to the French and Guillotines?

  17. Doktor StrangeZoom

    Hanauer, 2012: I have started or helped start, dozens of businesses and initially hired lots of people. But if no one could have afforded to buy what we had to sell, my businesses would all have failed and all those jobs would have evaporated.

    Henry Ford also figured out in 1914 that if he payed his assembly-line workers $5 a day, there'd be less turnover and he'd be able to sell a hell of a lot more Model T's. Somehow, it is supposed to be radical socialism if you mention a living wage today.

    1. MissTaken

      Even fucking Wal-Mart has discovered that their own employees can't afford to shop there. But of course instead of paying their employees a livable wage they just rely on Chinese Wal-Marts to pick up the profit slack. Because of job creation and such.

  18. BTWBFDIMHO

    "Rather they are a consequence of an ecosystemic feedback loop animated by middle-class consumers".
    Exactly, consumer spending represents 73% of the GDP; it's people demand that creates the need for hiring workers, and the majority of the consumers is the middle class. Now, consumption is down so unemployment is up, despite of having the same amount of "job creators" like Romney. Your money, my money, Armani, Rmoney!

  19. DahBoner

    "Each one is just a fresh new apocalypse"

    I'm still waiting for:

    Sarah Palin 2012: Mayan Profit$ See? Cum True!!! 1!!! 1!!!

  20. Callyson

    Mr Hanauer? Ted Kennedy calling from heaven on line 1–something about wanting his name back…

  21. SayItWithWookies

    Some people use facts, evidence, logical analysis and critical thinking to arrive at policy, whereas others use whatever ossified orthodoxy their rich benefactors subscribe to. Doesn't the truth lie somewhere in between?

  22. OneYieldRegular

    People are always trying to talk me into listening to TED talks, but hell, you don't even get a free 3-day cruise or a week at Leisure World for attending.

  23. JustPixelz

    I don't mind wealth and income disparity. I mind an uneven playing field. I mind Repubicans holding up net worth as the only yardstick of a person's value, using wealth as a metric for virtue. People get rich one of three ways: inheritance, or luck, or by treating everyone in their life as a profit center — in other words, by being an asshole 24×7.

    1. prommie

      Don't forget there are also lucky assholes who inherited. Just look at Donald Trump.

  24. prommie

    I like those other internet lectures from England-land, where there's this animated-ey writing on an endless blackboard while someone talks all smart and stuff. I can fap to those lectures, I find it difficult to fap to the Ted thingies.

      1. prommie

        Today, we are all evil marxists. I mean, really. We really are, evil marxists now, because we don't think taxes are slavery and don't think Obama's a communist dictator.

  25. not that Radio

    Watching TED talks is like reading Freakonomics, 24 hours a day, all the time.

  26. prommie

    Fuedal warlords are job-creators, too. If you are interested in a career in serfdom or foddering cannons.

    1. Chet Kincaid

      Just look at "Game Of Thrones"! Thousands of jobs in the Sexual Hospitality and Mediaeval Cannon-Fodder sectors have been created since the Rich started contending for the Iron Throne!

  27. HobbesEvilTwin

    Your argument comes down firmly on the side of one party.

    I agree with Chris. TED shouldn't run such a partisan hack job myth of a speech that unambiguously shows the importance to the economy of job creators like Mitt Romney.

    what?
    Oh.

  28. Chow Yun Flat

    "Change Agent, Connector, Event planner, Global soul, Idea generator, Journalist, Philanthropist, Potential employer, Producer, Social entrepreneur"

    "Asshole, Asshole, Asshole, Asshole, Asshole, Asshole, Asshole…"

  29. mookwrthwilson

    So I guess if he gave a talk about how women and minorities aren't chattel, that would also be too political because it also is in line with one party of another???

  30. natoslug

    Ted's site might do better if it had free jam. Jam spreads really well, and is fairly apolitical. I like blackberry, but would settle for grape. Or strawberry.

  31. afs97209

    That's essentially what Karl Marx "Capital" said a century ago. Why the rich people tried to ban "Capital."Why anyone that quotes anything from "Capital" get immediately labeled a "Marxist."

    Here's a few links from Prof. Richard Wolfe and Prof. David Harvey with lots and lots of info…
    http://www.rdwolff.com/
    http://davidharvey.org/

  32. anniegetyerfun

    I was going to make a joke about porn and legs worth spreading, but… well, jam sounds better right now.

    1. natoslug

      I'm down to slightly fuzzy marmalade, so at the moment, I'd much rather have a good jam than bad porn. Porn involving jam might work, though.

      1. anniegetyerfun

        Fuzzy Marmalde is now going to be the name of my new porn production company.

  33. Wile E. Quixote

    Uh, Chris, Chris, I got some bad news for you buddy, this still isn't going to get you into McMegan McArdle's panties, or Peter Thiel's for that matter.

    1. anniegetyerfun

      The sound of one hand fapping? To be fair, we at Wonkette are really familiar with that sound.

  34. frostbitefalls

    There was a TED talk about using modern dance instead of powerpoints…Now that's innovative, eh?

  35. randcoolcatdaddy

    You can't make fun of TED. It's something that's already a parody of itself.

    1. jesus_vs_gojira

      On talk.origins, the people who argued most vehemently against carbon dating were also, by strange coincidence, the ones who did not understand how a "logarithm" works.

  36. elgin_pelican

    Thanks for your recent submission. As you now, TED avoids topics that are timely or interesting. Keep us in mind for your next essay, and, in the meantime, be sure to tune in for our round-table discussion, 'how is babby formed?'

  37. swordfis

    I just posted this article on the TED Facebook page. Some people had already raised the issue.

  38. usuhname

    And yet, by doing this, by censoring this, TED themselves have politicised the whole thing in the worst possible way, how ironic / tragic.

  39. Halloween Jack

    TED has always struck me as being a self-absorbed soapbox for people who are deeply convinced that they would be the best college lecturer ever if they weren't so damn busy being brilliant and successful. No shock here that they avoid something with real potential for impact like it's the plague that they'd cure if they weren't working on their own private space program.

Comments are closed.