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SXSW Interactive 2013

The Case Against SXSW

In the age of internet memes, Twitter hashtags and viral videos, public persuasion is more easily attainable than ever before. But before you jump on the bandwagon, think again – in fact – think the total opposite way. Enter the case for contrarianism, presented by David Plotz and Jacob Weisberg at Slate, the publication so known for its against-the-grain opinions on news and culture that there’s an active Twitter meme dedicated to it (See #Slatepitches). As Plotz and Weisberg will explain, the need for contrarianism in today’s society is great if not greater than ever and goes far beyond the notion of arguments for argument’s sake. In this panel, you’ll learn how to think differently—about politics, about culture, about pandas—in order to come away with a deeper understanding of the glut of news you’re presented with each and every day.

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  1. What is the danger of not questioning the “group think” mentality and living a society that does not explore the contrarian perspective?
  2. Why is the need for contrarianism greater in today’s society than in the past?
  3. What are the risks of contrarianism—or, as many people say, the argument for arguments sake?
  4. How has social media and the digital age brought about an increased need for the contrarian argument? How has social media influenced the dissemination of the contrarian argument?
  5. In the past contrarianism has been associated with negative ideologies of radicalism and dissent—but in today’s society, how can media fight against such a negative stigma to make the contrarianism argument a respected, revered way of viewing news, culture and politics?


  • David Plotz, Editor, Slate
  • Jacob Weisberg, chariman and editor in chief of the Slate Group, Slate


Devon Braunstein, Publicist, Slate

Meta Information:

  • Tags: journalism
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Dual
  • Track: Content and Distribution
  • Level: Intermediate
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