So, like going to Disney World and having “It’s a Small World” insidiously infect your very being, you’ve seen and heard the “Leave Britney Alone” video on YouTube once too often. And you just can’t take another cutesy clip of a cat jumping up to flick on a light switch. Or Jimmy Junior playing his soulless and off-rhythm—though note-for-note correct—rendition of the guitar solo from “Stairway to Heaven.”
What to do?
For those seeking edification over entertainment (something we all should do, 40% of the time?), you might want to check out bigthink.com. Big Think is internet video for the smart set—YouTube without the snoring doggies. It’s video-based snippets of insight, yet only snippets, from Very Important People.
At Big Think you will find Dana Gioia reading his poem,”Unsaid”; Steven Pinker discussing evidence for the minimal impact of parents on the future success of their children; Amy Gutmann citing the major impact of her parents on her success; Calvin Trillin disclaiming having any personal philosophy whatsoever, yet abiding by his father’s advice: “You might as well be a mensch.” (Surely good advice if ever there was?)
Questions for discussion on Big Think are grouped into the large categories you might expect: What do you believe? Can love be taught? What is happiness? But they also include more mundane, though still general, questions about economics, the arts, politics, science: Why does fiscal responsibility matter? What is art’s role in society? Is the U.N. still relevant? How has science shaped humanity?
I suppose starkly contrasting edification and entertainment as I did above is not really fair. Sometimes a simple talking head on your computer screen is exactly what you need for both.