When I competed in debate& speech in high school, one of my favorite events to watch was Humorous Interpretation, or HI: an event where a single competitor must tell a story—assuming all of the different characters with a different voice and position to make the story come alive. It’s a magnificent event testing one’s ability to maintain different personas as well as to test one’s storytelling ability.
Its only flaw: HI is overly gimmicky. Like a tsunami of cutsey actions, competitors began to rely less and less on their natural skill as interpreters to make a story come to life—and began throwing an overabundance of gimmicks that serve no other purpose but to coax out a laugh. Those are fine every now and then, but when they become the majority of a presentation, they begin to hurt rather than help.
We live in a world that is being bombarded with the use and abuse of memes and other trends to try to gain our attention. Beyond advertisers, individuals are relying less and less on who they are and what they have to offer and more and more on skills and facts that, while impressive, offer little more value after the novelty has worn off. We are our own product, and it only makes sense that we offer the highest quality version of ourselves to others. Sure, the occasional gimmick is ok—even fun—but in the long run it’s your being that matters.