If you couldn’t make it out to the Swiss resort town of Davos to attend the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of rich people and the politicians that serve them—or if you were there but decided instead to hit the slopes—there is still some good news: The WEF made a series of image macros that allow you to experience Davos’ unique brand of terrifying futuristic delusion from a hemisphere away.
You can tell that these images mean to connote boldness and authority, but instead their incoherent emphasis on certain words and phrases only highlights the disconnected worldview of the conference’s false prophets while at the same time making actual knowledgable people saying agreeable things sound like fools of equal measure.
Here is a quote from Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, in which a broadly admirable point of view is rendered into a mishmash of self-parodic buzzwords.
Of course, she’s in great company. Here’s part-time hologram will.i.am saying perhaps the most openly ridiculous thing you could imagine will.i.am saying at Davos:
Nita Farahany is a law and philosophy professor at Duke. Here’s a quote from what seems like an interesting panel on neuroscience and the justice system rendered like something a cop would say in a show USA cancelled after one season:
Oh, hey, it’s Kevin Spacey saying something very obvious about one of the world’s most important fields: acting.
But those are the generally sympathetic ones—smart people being boiled down to word soup and the celebrities far out of their intellectual depth attempting to say things that sound profound. Mostly though, Davos is where the drivers of capitalist exceptionalism spin airport self-help mantras with the sort of seriousness normally reserved for the Dalai Lama.
I can’t wait.
Also, this guy was there:
"The key to [noun] is despair." pic.twitter.com/hz8jczsCpZ— Ned Resnikoff (@resnikoff) January 26, 2016