Music. Comedy. Disorientation.
Imagine a man in an Afro, speaking nonsense, then conversing in French followed by an American accent with a lot of music in the mix.
That is Reggie Watts, auteur extraordinaire.
In one of the most memorable TED talks, Reggie performs a plethora of activities ranging from simple puns, beatboxing to a complex breakdown of what music is.
A typical TED talk starts with an intro to the topic, a personal anecdote or a data set leading to the main discussion, and then a breakdown of the subject of the talk. Reggie’s talk is a clear contrast to the expected. Defying the norm, throwing convention out of the room, he starts with utter nonsense, not even explained in the subtitles, immediately capturing the audience’s attention. Other than being a great way to capture the audience’s attention, Reggie’s Intro and his talk as a whole ask a more important question: What are they saying?
In the possibly pseudo-scientific discussions in between, Reggie talks about fear, its absence, the permanence of tomorrow, and a breakdown of sensation. Throughout the talk, he makes you question the concept of coherence, what does it take for something to be artistic yet understandable. If something is contextually brilliant but has no actual content, is it still significant? What does it take to wake up an audience accustomed to routines and monotonous speeches? And that is the brilliance of Reggie Watts, he hooks the audience, and you never hop off the ride.
Another major part of the talk is music. Reggie presents an interesting comparison of music being an infinite space allowing the communication and comprehension of thoughts. There’s a song about French Science, a lot of beatboxing, a loop pedal, and a soundboard.
People have associated the concept of Metamodernism to Reggie’s talk as well. To understand Metamodernism, you need to know what Modernism is. Modernism is a cultural movement associated with the beginning of innovation when ideas were new and appreciated by all. This is followed by a period of Postmodernism, with a skeptical outlook towards Modernism, saying ideas aren’t driving reality, but it is the reality that drives ideas. Metamodernism is the aftermath of Postmodernism. Though there is no definite answer to what it is, it’s a cultural movement criticizing the Social Media age filled with an excess of content, monotonous formats, and essentially saturation of innovation — Reggie’s talk questions all these in just 9 minutes.
There is no one clear answer to what Reggie’s talk is. You can draw your conclusion from it, each reinforcing your idea and understanding of reality. Some may consider it an intellectual modern art masterpiece explaining philosophical discussions about content and comprehension, or simply it’s a fun talk with jokes and songs.
Reggie’s talk isn’t just an amalgamation of seemingly nonsensical words and music. Ironically, Reggie manages to orient the audience in following his train of thought in a talk titled ‘Reggie Watts disorients you in the most entertaining way.’ It isn’t a talk that teaches you something concrete; it’s a talk that makes you think.
To watch the full TED Talk, visit the following link: