The quickest way to ruin my day is by trying to get me to watch TEDTalks. No, I will not listen on your headphones at work for “just a minute” while Elizabeth Gilbert smugly blathers on about nurturing genius. No, I don’t want to snuggle in bed and listen to Tony Robbins gloat about the low suicide rate among teenagers whose parents hired him instead of a therapist. (“In 29 years, I am very grateful that I have never lost one. Doesn’t mean I won’t someday, but I haven’t done it.” What?). What’s more, I will unfriend you if you post that one about orgasms on Facebook.
That’s not to say that all TEDTalks inherently suck. If I ever have two billion hours handy that allow me to go through literally tens of thousands of TED videos, I am sure I would be able to find something of value. Until then, however, I will have to settle on the scathing satire of Onion Talks, because they really capture the essence of what is wrong with paying $6,000 to listen to Bono talk.
So far there are 12 Onion Talks on the Web. Here are the five best.
Compost-Fueled Cars: Wouldn’t That Be Great? Abstract: The best parody of double-speak Powerpoint planning since the Underwear Gnomes on South Park Best Line: “Step one: Devise an idea of a car that runs on compost. Step two: Create the car.”
Quit Whining And Put On A Goddamn Coat: My Journey Abstract: My boyfriend doesn’t like this one, but come on. It’s most likely the funniest thing you’ll watch on the internet all month. Best Line: “This is a story about finding the answer when you’re not looking for it, accepting inspiration when it presents itself, and learning to appreciate that heating oil is goddamn expensive and we can’t afford to blast the heat just because I’m a little chilly.”
Using Social Media To Cover For Lack Of Original Thought Abstract: This is one of the most popular Onion Talks, as parents everywhere finally find a way to explain to their friends what they think you do for a living. Best Line(s): “Social media.” [Followed by five solid seconds of clapping] OR “Remember: Any teenager could do what we did. But for no money, and much faster.”
Stabbing Ignorance With Glass Ceiling Shards Abstract: Next month’s Atlantic cover Best Line: “We need to shatter the glass ceiling in such a way that millions of glittering shards surge upwards; slashing the faces of regressive thinkers, opening their throats, murdering them as they scream and choke to death on their own blood.”
Ducks Go "Quack," Chickens Say "Cluck" Abstract: In general, we do not “like” a TEDTalk because it presents us with groundbreaking science or earth-shattering revelations. We like them because they pass off extremely derivative bullshit under the guise of Brilliant Oratorical Theatrics. Best Line:“‘Quack, quack’ says the duck. A cow says ‘moo.’ The farmer is friends with all the animals on the farm.”