These are the two best responses to the Duck Dynasty racism/homophobia controversy. The first is from Josh Barro at Business Insider. And the second response is from the ever-awesome Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic. 

Similarly, Phil Robertson represents some very real pathologies of his culture, and his job is to provide a look into the reality of that culture to the TV viewer.
— Josh Barro
Further retreat into the inanity of loving the sinner but hating the sin—a standard that would clean The Wise Helmsman himself—will not do. Actual history shows that humans are not so discriminating.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates

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At Medium, Frank Swain explains that he turned down an offer to speak at a TEDx event because they don't pay. That's right. Giant famous TED doesn't pay its speakers. 

I’m tired of being asked to work for free. I’m tired of the bullshit idea that exposure is somehow its own reward. I’m tired of the people who can afford to do it justifying this malignant trend.
— Frank Swain

I've turned down offers to give TED talks for that same economic reason.  But I also reject TED because of curator Chris Anderson's conservative treatment of Sarah Silverman (an invited guest speaker) after she gave a TED talk/performance.

We live in a world of excess. And we have to curb that if we want to keep on living. Population in the world doubles in the world every 40 years. I think. I might have made that up. But it’s something like that. I read it on a blog.
— Sarah Silverman

Silverman also joked about adopting a "retarded child who is terminally ill" because she is such an "amazing person." Of course, she is spoofing the way in which we humans (and certain organizations like, um, TED) regularly disguise our egos as altruism, but a lot of radically unfunny and literal folks (see Chris Anderson) could only see her purposefully offensive jokes as being pointlessly offensive.

Comedy is just a funny way of being serious.
— most often attributed to Peter Ustinov

In the end, I think Silverman was mocking the shit out of TED and the basic philosophical nature (and arrogance) of the TED talk. But, hey, she might have been parodying something that was already parodying itself. 

Or perhaps her talk highlighted something more insidious about TED.

Perhaps the biggest complaint I heard was that TED smells of corporatism.
— Nathan Jurgenson

At The New Inquiry, Nathan Jurgenson goes after TED hard. And I mean HARD. He accuses TED of becoming "the Urban Outfitters of the ideas world." His most telling point: "...the TED style aligns much more easily to articulating ideas that sell than ideas that concern power, domination, and social inequalities."

Yeah, TED, in celebrating capitalism, doesn't pay its speakers, which is, of course, an ugly and predictable capitalistic practice. 

By subverting the shallow formalism and politeness of previous TED talks, Sarah Silverman fucked with power. 

She didn't take seriously an organization that takes itself so seriously that it will not tolerate being mocked. And that lack of self-deprecation is a prime feature of fundamentalism.

So is TED a fundamentalist organization? 


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