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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My TED Talk

Some TED talks are informative while many others are pompous and thoroughly unctuous sales pitches by hucksters or know-nothing evangelists. I just thought that I’d throw my hat into the ring (I also want to write a serious TED talk, probably about language learning but I begin with satire). A lot of these talks are about a microscopic idea that is blown up to seem important. Malcolm Gladwell has blown a hell of a lot of hot air into trite aphorisms to make them seem like real topics and then backtracking to make a case for his initial mundane utterance, kind of like what I do here.

My TED Talk
Don’t shit where you eat: Baseless wives’ tale or wise counsel? In this talk I’ll be deconstructing conventional thinking.

For centuries mothers have been passing along a bit of conventional wisdom that has heretofore been taken at face value. The seemingly bullet-proof chestnut that you shouldn’t shit where you eat has gone largely unquestioned since the beginning of time, or at least since we first came across a written version of it in Aristophanes’ early play The Steaming Pile. There are two widely-regarded assumptions as to the result of defecating in your general dining area: to wit, a decrease in the flavor of what you are stuffing into your fat pie hole, and an increase in our intake of pathogens contained in aforementioned excrement.

I propose that both of these assumptions are false. If you disagree about the taste of tainted food then how can you explain the popularity of McDonald’s? As far as pathogens go if we are dumping on or near our own sustenance then we needn’t worry because we already have those pathogens inside of us which is why we excreted them in the first place.


I think that’s probably more than enough. I’m sorry but I really don’t like the typical self-help gurus who shout at us about how we need to be all we can be or whatever. I just don’t think that anyone ever has been helped by this sort of rubbish. In the end their tactics are as empty as any fatuous marketing slogan we’re meant to ingest. I rate self-help gurus right up there with diet books; if any of them were effective there wouldn’t be a million of versions of the same falsehoods.

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