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Thread: Adam Curtis

  1. #16
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    I've never heard that word before either - I'm guessing thats because You just made it up by putting together myth, poetic and synthesising. Good coinage.
    For me the main revelation in the documentary was Greenspan's closeness to Rand - perhaps I'm ignorant but I never knew about that. The main plot (conspiracy) hole for me was when it said that the Treasury Secretary was making US foreign policy and that he wanted Indonesia to take their medicine, and sure enough they gave in and took it. What pressure exactly did the US Treasury bring to bear on Indonesia to force them to accept the IMF's terms and why wasn't it mentioned in the film? That bit seemed to be missing.

  2. #17
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    he's really really great. maybe not the greatest (not my subject but could chomsky be the man for that title?) but he definitely makes it easy for anyone who's even remotely interested in his subjects to get a decent understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. as for it being conspirational, does he not back up pretty much all of what he says with facts n stuff?

    looking forward to watching this new one in next few days

  3. #18
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    When I first seen 'The Century of the Self' it was like a new world opening up before me, the appearance of intellectual possibilities hitherto hidden and unreal. That and a few other things was pretty much my introduction into the real world (i.e the world of ideas). He's a bit of a hero of mine. Up until I seen that I wasn't aware you could actually make something like that, that you could make those connections and do it all in such a rich and stylised way. Elegaic ideological tone poems (or something).

    Between him and Meades, there's still an ounce of originality in British TV production, maybe documentaries are the format in which it can shine, because of the low budgets etc. Hope the viewer ratings are high.

  4. #19
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    didnt see this thread. but yeah as i posted in the tv thread, i thought All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace on bbc2 was fucking superb, just as a programme with great graphics and library footage if nothing else. not sure about the angles he takes, or his theory exactly, but he makes great programmes. i miss that old sort of video cut and paste kind of aesthetic.

  5. #20
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    "Twistter consensus, even from fans, seemed to be that it was a little too conspiratorial..."
    I know and your friends are into your politics but you could give it a rest when you're playing Twister couldn't you? What if there was an argument and you were stuck in a position where you were unable to defend yourself?
    Anyway, problem for me (after a bit of reflection) was more the opposite to be honest. I was hoping to see and hear loads of stuff that I didn't know but this time it kind of boiled down to

    1. The people who control the US (and world) financial system usually come from big banks and have the interests of their companies, their friends and themselves at heart rather than those of the average worker in China or even in the US. All true and all bad but we know this already don't we? Plus, to be honest, where else are you gonna find people who have years of experience in that field? The universities maybe but if you've seen, say, Inside Job (which is well worth checking by the way) you'll know that they are compromised as well.

    2. People used computers to do more complex and thus riskier hedging. Again, true enough but you'd be pretty fucking surprised if they didn't seeing as computers were being made better all the time and they are pretty much perfect for number crunching.

    3. Alan Greenspan was, at one time, very close to Ayn Rand. OK, this I didn't know but how much effect it had on his decisions at the Fed was not really made clear.

    I don't really think that he was implying that each step along the way to the fianancial crash was premeditated which would be necessary for a conspiracy, just that given the kind of people involved at each stage and what their ideology was you could understand why, at times, they made the wrong decisions. So, not really much of a conspiracy there but nothing that new or earth shattering to me.

  6. #21

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    I think it's meant to be mythopoeic 'verbified' -- that's all.

  7. #22

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    Alan Greenspan talks openly and in great detail about his relationship with Rand in his own book Age of Turbulence -- which is, even for an economic illiterate such as moi, a very good book. He used to play sax with Stan Getz, according to him. Obviously Getz is too dead to counter this accusation. Nathaniel Branden, the father of the self-esteem movement, was Rand's lover -- physical lover -- which is surely worse.

    This programme sounds like a fantastic target for a Vimothy deconstruction, if it's not beneath his contempt.

    I HAVEN'T SEEN IT DON'T HURT ME.

  8. #23

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    So, not really much of a conspiracy there but nothing that new or earth shattering to me.
    This was the method with Power of Nightmares -- random biographical distortions of Qutb and Strauss and baised accounts of events like the Soviet-Afghan war or Team B loosely woven into a compelling narrative. It was not merely suggestive, it was conspiratorial -- if not quite on the level of Truthers or the Daily Express Diana brigade, then certainly using the same inductive technique.
    Last edited by craner; 25-05-2011 at 09:53 AM.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    1. The people who control the US (and world) financial system usually come from big banks and have the interests of their companies, their friends and themselves at heart rather than those of the average worker in China or even in the US. All true and all bad but we know this already don't we? Plus, to be honest, where else are you gonna find people who have years of experience in that field? The universities maybe but if you've seen, say, Inside Job (which is well worth checking by the way) you'll know that they are compromised as well.

    2. People used computers to do more complex and thus riskier hedging. Again, true enough but you'd be pretty fucking surprised if they didn't seeing as computers were being made better all the time and they are pretty much perfect for number crunching.

    3. Alan Greenspan was, at one time, very close to Ayn Rand. OK, this I didn't know but how much effect it had on his decisions at the Fed was not really made clear.

    I don't really think that he was implying that each step along the way to the fianancial crash was premeditated which would be necessary for a conspiracy, just that given the kind of people involved at each stage and what their ideology was you could understand why, at times, they made the wrong decisions. So, not really much of a conspiracy there but nothing that new or earth shattering to me.
    There's a load of interesting stuff in John Lancaster's book "Whoops" about the complexities of the mathematical models in markets and how batshit wrong they were. Remind me next time you come round and I'll lend it to you.

    I found the links he was drawing between Loren Carpenter’s Pong experiement and the self-organsiing nature of the world financial system quite interesting, though I didn’t follow his leap of logic that one led somehow to the other. There's was an interview with him in The Guardian where he seems to be saying that rather than empowering us, computers have somehow locked us together in enslaving relationshis and occluded power relations. I like his point about us not talking about power anymore, and the way current conditions are presented as inevitable, but don't agree with his reasons why - I'd just think about it in traditional terms of the decline of The Left, that you've seen in the US and Europe.

    There were a lot of economic details in the programme that caught my attention but I've now forgotten them.

    Here's a link from Greenspan's book where he talks about Rand:
    http://www.noblesoul.com/orc/bio/turbulence.html

  10. #25
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    Here's the interview - http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-rad...rs-documentary

    ""In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self-regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order, the trouble is, it's not true – as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it's always changing. But the idea took root and spread wider – people started to believe there is an underlying order to the entire world, to how society is structured. Everything became part of a system, like a computer; no more hierarchies, freedom for all, no class, no nation states."

    I think what he's talking about - in relation to recent history - can be explained in terms of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the end of history, economic expansion and relative peace and stablility that accompanied the Clinton regime plus Leftist decline for various reasons.

  11. #26
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    I'd like to see an Adam Curtis film drawing conspiracy theories about Adam Curtis.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    random biographical distortions ... and baised accounts ... loosely woven into a compelling narrative
    Hmm, I've not seen Nightmares (intending to check it out very soon) but I think you've hit on something that's occurred to me too: namely, that his style is so reasonable-seeming, so authoritative and erudite-yet-accessible that he could tell you Rupert Murdoch orchestrated 9/11 at the behest of the Martians and it would sound plausible.

    Then again, there's precious little I wouldn't put past that shithead...
    Last edited by Mr. Tea; 25-05-2011 at 04:21 PM.
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  13. #28
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    An old friend of mine knows him quite well. Says he's also a global warming denier who believes it became an issue after some old upper-class eugenicist/Nazi sympathiser persuaded the world's leading scientific bodies that AGW was a reality as some dastardly plot to advance the cause of population control. (My mate actually believes this shit too, he wasn't trying to discredit him.)

    That's a doc I'd like to see, though I hope for his rep he never makes it.

    edit: Curtis, that is., not Rupey.
    Last edited by crackerjack; 25-05-2011 at 01:29 PM.

  14. #29
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    I doubt that someone as canny as him would ever commit public harakari in this way. You just have to look at his blog to realise how goddam on the pulse and aware of public perceptions of issues he is.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    Says he's also a global warming denier who believes it became an issue after some old upper-class eugenicist/Nazi sympathiser persuaded the world's leading scientific bodies that AGW was a reality as some dastardly plot to advance the cause of population control.
    Christ, the idea that there's any kind of 'leftist' argument againts AGW is the biggest con going. Unless you believe it's 'leftist' to tell Shell, Exxon, BP etc. etc. exactly what they want to hear. Sorry, OT.
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