Should we be grateful to TED for providing this form of transcendence—and on the Internet, of all places? Or should we feel manipulated by one more product attempting to play on our emotions? It’s tricky, because the ideas undergirding a TED talk are both the point and, for viewers seeking a generic TED-type thrill, essentially beside it: the appeal of TED comes as much from its presentation as from its substance.
It’s not that I disagree with Heller here. It’s just that in this passage, as in many places in his article, were one to substitute “the New Yorker” for “TED,” it would still sound about right.