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Can we Tawk, TED? - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
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Can we Tawk, TED?
I have to admit that I'm way too old to be a hipster, and I'm even getting too old to really understand them. It's just pattern recognition for the most part:

Goatees.

Craft beer.

Ride-and-bike sharing.

Organic fair trade coffee dispensed by pierced baristas.

Mumford and Sons.

Pretty much the entire Borough of Brooklyn.

And, for this post's purposes, TED talks.

----

You've seen the Youtubes of them. Innnteresting people talking about innnteresting things, all cool and cutting edge and, well, hip. Until moments ago, I couldn't tell you who TED was or why he was so important to get all this named after him. (Hint: he isn't a he and wasn't important.)  I have no problems with who's doing the TED-talking or with what they're talking about, but I just find the whole concept a little inaccessible and full of itself.

Bringing this on is that for at least the fourth straight year an independent offshoot of the original TED, known as TEDx, is holding one of its programs in Buffalo. It'll be taking place for most of Tuesday at a local college- and I can't go and probably neither can you.

For these conferences use a system of scarcity to increase the buzz about them.  Two years ago, I found out about it in time to try to attend, and found that due to the limited capacity of the host college's auditorium, only a few would be allowed in.  It required something of a cross between a job application and a love letter to the local promoters, with the criteria being about what you'd expect:

What makes one applicant “better” than another? There aren’t any hard and fast rules for how we choose our audience, but there are some qualities we keep an eye out for. We like people who are interested, interesting, good-natured, open-minded and engaged in their community. Oh, and being witty never hurts.

If you’re still looking for some guidance, here are some tips regarding filling out your attendance application.


  • Be yourself.

  • Short answers usually don’t tell us very much (unless they’re short and clever).

  • Long essays aren’t the solution either (put yourselves in our shoes–you wouldn’t want to read hundreds of applications that are miles long!).

  • Name dropping doesn’t impress us (no, not even if you drop our names).

  • Lying and cheating are not wise (we all have an overdeveloped sense of justice).

I played it mostly straight, and no doubt my suburban, two-car privileged lifestyle came clear through.  No TED for you!  Now, two years later, they're still in the same 200-limited venue, and the sense of "if you have to ask it's not for you" still pervades.

We can watch the live stream, and even attend the after-party, which is at the downtown Seneca Indian casino. Because it's hip to be supporting indigenous peoples while they sell you untaxed cigarettes and let you gamble with your life savings.
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Comments
ellettra From: ellettra Date: October 15th, 2014 11:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
While I do think that many hipsters meet your list of qualifications, not all who sport those same qualifications ARE hipsters. Here (at least to me) hipsterism is defined by a certain attitude more than anything else. The one exception I would make is men wearing painted-on pants. Or, rather, pants so tight they appear to be painted on. Only hipsters wear those pants. And only hipster dudes. Women in tight pants is obviously nothing new.
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