At the final speaker gathering, I met with the woman who had suggested I cut my talk in private. The first thing she said to me was that I had ‘really misunderstood the intentions’ of her comments so she wanted to explain them to me because she believed ‘intentions were everything.’ She told me that she’d previously ‘given’ the TED platform to ‘Black Lives Matter’ speakers when ‘no one else would’ because the movement was important to her.
“Distillation may be biased, but anything that endures for hundreds of thousands of years (at least in part by voluntary enjoyment than forced study) must contain something of value. …without some common mooring, we cannot talk to each other. And if we cannot talk, we cannot bargain, compromise and understand. I am sad that I can no longer cite the most common lines from Shakespeare or the Bible in class, and hold any hope for majority recognition. I am troubled that the primary lingua franca of shared culture may now be rock music of the last decade — not because I regard the genre as inherently unworthy, but because I know that the language will soon change and therefore sow more barriers to intelligibility across generations. I am worried that people with inadequate knowledge of the history and literature of their culture will ultimately become entirely self-referential, like science fiction’s most telling symbol — the happy fool who lives in the one-dimensional world of pointland, and thinks he knows everything because he forms his entire universe.”