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  1.  (9891.61)
    @Cat Vincent

    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2011
    @Cat Vincent and Mercer Finn

    I disagree, i think he's onto something.

    He hasn't created a new ideology. Or uncovered one. He's
    instead shown the problem with most ideologies in that they
    are created in their own space with little dashes to reality before
    coming back to their own space.

    But once out there...these ideologies no matter what they are,
    no matter how right they think they are interact with the
    outside world,mutate,have children, and make unlikely connections.

    These unlikely connections is what he's basically uncovering. This is the truth
    of the world we live in, everything is connected together in bizarre ways
    and even stupid events can affect large serious events in profound ways.
    But when the scholars write their books backing one idea over another
    they tend to edit out these stupid , bizarre events that may have formed
    the backbone of the ideas they love.

    Like the fact that Ayn Rand may have written a great inspirational book about
    human en devour and emotional self sufficiency. Because deep down she was lonely,
    and didn't want to admit it. So she evolved lonely self sufficiency into a whole
    way of life.

    Or the fact the financial markets fell apart because rather then being rational
    players as economic theories sometimes tell us when the full brunt of open markets
    is brought upon us,that people will make irrational, illogic,sometimes
    criminal decisions that affect you and me.Just to get
    that yacht they've dreamed of.

    Or that Asia's Economy and Societies got screwed because Bill Clinton
    was preoccupied with Monica and some Finance boys got to make decisions
    so far outside their remit into areas of social policy and society.

    His documentaries are a sort of leveler against the clean spick and spam
    "looking back documentaries" that gloss over alot of important details.
    Im sure all of you have watched a documentary programme re-telling a
    moment in time you've lived through and you've thought what the ?**!!.
    As they've completely edited out huge chunks of your era just to get their angle.

    Heri Mkocha
  2.  (9891.63)
    @arklight. agreed. Oh and gracious thanks for uploading those three episodes. Next time you're in the states, hit me up and I will buy you, your favorite poisonous thing to drink.

    Though I agree with bob, that "nightmares" was better, this one explains why we are at this terrible point, and the possible aftermath to come.

    Now I need a cigarette, a drink, and a floozie who doesn't care.
  3.  (9891.64)
    thanks Timbo & Arklight! finally got around to watching this.

    Lots of interesting stuff in there. I didn't find it particularly fatalistic or depressing though. Everyone always says things like "This is how it is", " It's not my problem" or "The world is fucked , that's just reality" but the only way to change attitudes or ideas is to investigate them, question them, become informed, which is what this series attempts to do. Just the fact that he is trying to discover the roots of problems is an optimistic act in itself and I don't think Curtis is saying that the selfish gene exists so much as that it is part of a prevalent ideology that permits nihilistic actions such as murdering people for playstations.

    Anyways the shows are full of curious ideas and get my brain going regardless of Curtis' opinions, goals, or difficult connections. I don't even think you have to agree with him to learn from these documentries.

  4.  (9891.65)
    I could buy Arklight's position if Curtis didn't start each episode with telling us what "We" have been thinking and doing. That sort of shitty generalisation to make a point does not tend, in my experience, to add to a nuanced argument.
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeJun 13th 2011
    I find it slightly ironic that Curtis creates a powerful nightmare of his own here...or rather, the documentary strikes me as something he put together after a particularly haunting nightmare he had himself one night. The main message seems to be that the enlightenment/the modern age/capitalism has led to an overwhelming consensus that we're machines, and therefore we cannot be moral, and because we're convinced of this we don't give a shit anymore and we become selfish monsters who go on fighting and killing each other in order to spread our own selfish genes. It's almost a Greek tragedy where hubris is the source of some terrible vengeance from above. That, with a bit of "oh my God the machines are taking over we are doomed" sci-fi mixed in...

    There is some truth in all of that but I think it's not so absolute as it seems from this documentary. On one level human beings are "just" animals, but it can't be denied that we're also moral creatures, who try (and are able) to do good. We are constantly moving on an axis between those two extremes, ultimate selfishness or sociopathy and ultimate selflessness or altruism, and while it cannot be said that we're entirely good, the opposite, that we're predestined to do evil, is also wrong.
  5.  (9891.67)
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2011 edited
    Lotsa issues here!


    first one i'd like to clear up is the videos i linked to are from
    Tarabgs wonderful youtube channel....

    Youtube is my kind of social network environment!

    Pretty much the majority of Adam Curtis's work is
    also at this youtube channel...


    I get the feeling that alot of people watched the series and got completely different
    and specific things from the documentaries. Very much like a David Lynch film
    where as soon as the lights go up everyone turns around to "check notes".

    In fact David Lynch's unique approach to the usual rules of editing,story and communicating an
    idea is a good comparison.

    What I got was unlike 90 percent of the polemic filmmakers out there, he's not
    ramming home the Adam Curtis theory of everything. But he's uncovered the interconnections
    of alot of the political themes and ideas that are informing decision makers of all kinds.

    Everything he's said about these competing ideas, i've heard in other
    documentaries and articles and lectures.the application of little understood theories
    that in fact really reflect a person's world view.

    A good example is Darwins Theory of Evolution and the idea of
    "survival of the fittest" :

    This idea a variety of people have taken and run a hundred miles with.People like
    political leaders,eugenicists,people who like IQ testing and scholastic exams,
    right wing nutters,and especially business leaders.

    The main part of it that they all extrapolated for their own means was
    the theme that the strongest should be allowed to win, the strongest
    should rule, that the weak should be allowed to fall away. That life
    , no nature is ,a mean nasty gladiatorial contest, and that's the truth
    so that's how society should be structured.

    In fact the theory says it's the survival of the Aptest,
    the ones who ADAPT to their environmental conditions not who are strongest
    are the ones who manage to survive.

    So dinosaurs huge strong scary things like T-rex die off because of their need
    to maintain body temperature via bathing in the sun when there is a permanent winter
    after the probable meteor strike, while weak rat like things called mammals
    (as were at the time) who can generate their own internal warmth, survive
    develop, evolve and take over the planet.

    This also makes Bacteria the most successful species on the planet. Not humans.
    Since they can survive any environment including space, create progeny with
    environmental adaptions in minutes, not thousands of years, and will definitely
    out survive our species.

    But this is lost on the people who make decisions, they have taken a warped
    reading of the theory of evolution and mutated it to their own world view.
    This also applies to the erroneous application of Networks to everything,
    Cybernetics "you are a human robot" to everything and all the other sledge hammering
    squeezing of ideologies to everything.

    Which is what the documentary is highlighting as well as all the weird connections,
    well springs which created all these ideas that all these decision
    makers loved so much.

    I like the fact its all nice and messy because that's life. That something so stupid as an affair
    with a girl called Monica can have butterfly ripple effects on government policy.
    If that's true and it's that messy. Then that's the truth.Don't edit it out from the official
    version of the truth.

    I also like the fact like all David Lynch films it has no pat ending and delivers far more question
    and thought about what you've just watched. And no I don't agree with everything in there.
    But it is easily the most really thought provoking thing i've watched so far this year.


    As for the editing techniques with archive footage he's used in all of his series, I'm a huge fan of this
    I love the audio visual medium and i love editing. I love his usage because:

    1. Its bathed in the Montage Theory of Editing that came out of Russia.
    Rarely used in most longform audio visual pieces. And not for most of a programme.
    The usual Continuity Theory of Editing reigns supreme in practically every audio visual piece
    with the exception of music video and some art films.

    .2 It's based on economics. Alot of the footage is public domain and anyone can use it
    for whatever they like.Without paying loadsa cash. The US government has also a
    ban on government copyright so filmmakers use alot of US federal footage of all kinds.
    Which is brilliant .That's how a true open government should behave. Footage extends all
    the way from brilliant NASA pictures of Nebula to sexy Top- Gun type macho stuff.

    I did the same thing many years ago, (before youtube!) for this video using public domain
    archive footage....

    JJ Appleby - "Situation"

    Heri Mkocha
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2011
    The usual Continuity Theory of Editing reigns supreme in practically every audio visual piece
    with the exception of music video and some art films.

    Yes. I think part of the problem people are having with Curtis's films (and this is pretty explicit in that parody) is that they insist on interpreting the films as if they were a narrative, with Curtis giving us some kind of causal connection, where Ayn Rand caused Bill Clinton to have sex with Monica Lewinsky which caused the financial crisis. If you try and build this kind of causal connection out of Curtis's montages, it's pretty clear you get nonsense. But Curtis's method is almost the opposite of a narrative, he's talking about the fortuitous ways ideas get taken up and used, which are often completely the opposite of what the original creators of the ideas thought they were doing. So the lack of connection, the jump of the montage, is the point.
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2011
    There might be too much work involved but I enjoyed the Adrenaline Mob teaser was good.
  6.  (9891.71)
    @ Cat Vincent - too harsh a criticism, it misses all the fun stuff in those films that we don't get anywhere else

    Curtis' documentries introduce a lot of neat ideas, people and situations that all deserve to be discussed and examined further. It's sort of like an introduction to alternative theory/media/history. I really like the films because I discover all sorts of strange things, not because I necessarily believe in his connections or "narratives". For example I never heard of George Price before and I think the story of his life is very funny, nor had I heard of Richard Brautigan's poem "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace" which I really enjoy. Curtis has a good palette for the weird.