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Thread: Adam Curtis

  1. #31
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    A big, nasty Fuck You for calling that evil, demonic suckhole Murdoch an 'Antipodean shithead'..

    Rob,

    Melbourne, AU

  2. #32
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    This is all great stuff.


    I guess after watching all of his films a few times and very closely one gets to know pretty well the techniques, and indeed 'trickery', that he uses to draw conclusions and narratives. Even so , they are worth it for artistic, creative, imaginative value and should be considered as such - this is not wooden Cinema Verite, try complaining to Herzog that his docos aren't 'real enough'.

    The main critique everyone seems to have is that his films are conspirational propaganda. I would like to point out that he may not be the zealous propagandist he is made out to be here - rather his motivations for constructing these monumental narratives in history is spurred on by a need to dismantle the consensus narratives that we have been brain-numbingly conditioned to accept, beckoning the viewer to think for themselves and use the heuristic imagination to explore the real nature of power in the world.

    All this said - my main qualms with the first episode was that yea, Greenspan, Silicon Valley guys and economists in general were into Rand but - surely the 'self interest' game was not entirely original to her - it's really the whole essence of Rightist economics innit, and this goes back to Adam Smith and forward to the whole Austria/Chicago axis and, a lot of Curtis other films (Century of the Self, The Trap, The Living Dead etc) explore this material, hardly any of them mentioning Rand (though perhaps R.A.N.D...)

    But that's the point - he is not trying to proclaim that Rand caused the Asian economic crisis as some Guardian reviewer proclaimed (anymore than he was making a serious suggestion that the song 'Baby it's Cold Outside' caused 9/11) - he's just exploring all these connections and historical events in the light of a psychological lens and a bit of humour, and in this case the dismantling effect that the all-to-human forces of Love and Power have on monumental, yet naive, attempts to attain transcendent states of harmony and order in a chaotic world.

    It's always the ability to break down biased consensus, see connections where they might otherwise not be apparent and moreover draw non-imaginary meaningful conclusions out of reems of historical data that make brilliant political thinkers, the Chomskys and Vidals of this world. Also despite all the arguments here I still think that his analysis has a sufficient degree of impartiality about it - despite the fact that yes, the man does have an opinion and he appears to have a clear aim and project about what he's doing. I think that after viewing his films, due to his technique and filmmaking style, one is left, or at least I am left, feeling bewildered by the perception of an impartial narrative carved out of an ocean of historical chaos, a historical chaos that we are so used to seeing skewed and manipulated by those with invested power interests, etc etc.
    Last edited by rob_giri; 25-05-2011 at 03:53 PM.

  3. #33
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    "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."
    See also Nassim Taleb. But I don't really see that as a problem with computing as such as a problem in the idea that you can one hundred percent accurately model something extremely complex mathematically (and particularly statistically). Obviously a computer is only as good as the data you give it and the program you write for it (not talking about AI here). I mean, when a space shuttle crashes you don't blame the deaths on computers even though the crash is much more serious than one involving an entirely manual horse and cart and computers have made the shuttle possible.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    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.
    If this is anything to go by

    "But, at the very moment this was happening, the science of ecology discovered that the theory of the self-regulating ecosystem wasn't true. Instead they found that nature was really dynamic and constantly changing in unpredictable ways."

    I think he might touch on global warming in the next part

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b011rbws

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob_giri View Post
    A big, nasty Fuck You for calling that evil, demonic suckhole Murdoch an 'Antipodean shithead'..

    Rob,

    Melbourne, AU
    Sorry, my phrasing was un-called-for. Clearly his nationality is not connected to his shitheadedness. My bad.
    Doin' the Lambeth Warp New: DISSENSUS - THE NOVEL - PM me your email address and I'll add you

  6. #36
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    Thanking you for your reply (sounded like Jeremy Clarkson for a minute). Luckily Assange has recently proven your point.
    Last edited by rob_giri; 25-05-2011 at 05:40 PM.

  7. #37
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    http://www.dissensus.com/showthread....wer+nightmares


    I enjoyed reading this whole thread last night, on the topic - a discussion/row from way back in 2004 around Bush re-election time.

    From it's conclusion, we saw Strauss as misrepresented and perhaps unjustly simplified in the eyes of seeming scholars.

    I would like to ask you Craner - what you think about most of what you (quite zealously) wrote about Iraq and Afghanistan - now that it's 6 years later and the saga continues. ..

  8. #38
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    wonderful film-maker. and his (mentioned earlier) is pretty much mandatory reading.

    I'd love to watch this programme...if only my internet connection atm wasn't completely rubbish.
    Last edited by e/y; 25-05-2011 at 05:59 PM.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by IdleRich View Post
    See also Nassim Taleb. But I don't really see that as a problem with computing as such as a problem in the idea that you can one hundred percent accurately model something extremely complex mathematically (and particularly statistically). Obviously a computer is only as good as the data you give it and the program you write for it (not talking about AI here). I mean, when a space shuttle crashes you don't blame the deaths on computers even though the crash is much more serious than one involving an entirely manual horse and cart and computers have made the shuttle possible.
    This is really what he's going for though, is it? It's not a critque of computing and computing power as such - more their wider effect on society, the relationships they cause and conceal, the illusion of a stable systemised society etc. And the wider sense, how this fits into the context of the time, post-Berlin Wall, "End of History" etc.

  10. #40

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    I would like to ask you Craner - what you think about most of what you (quite zealously) wrote about Iraq and Afghanistan - now that it's 6 years later and the saga continues. ..
    Well, that was a slightly hysterical thread, but I am still a zealot. Half a tic, let me go and re-read the thread...

  11. #41

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    Ha ha, yes I remember all of that. I can be a lot more zealous than that, now. My thought processes were still slightly contaminated by continental philosophy in 2004, I can see that; also, I was full of my World War Four thesis, but couldn't be fucked to read Leo Strauss. Apart from that, I was corrrect on every point.

  12. #42

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    It was more difficult in those days, mind, you felt you were telling people things for the first time; the calibre is slightly higher now, but it's not as amusing.

    I eventually read Leo Strauss -- Sean Shapiro guided me, and it was quite illuminating, slightly Talmudic. He gave me a new appreciation of John Locke and Machiavelli. I didn't see much connection between that and war, I must say, even through the tenious associations of Wolfowitz, Billy Kristol or Abram Schlusky.

  13. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by craner View Post
    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.
    Personally, I've always found Curtis to be completely infuriating. I watched the first episode of Machines of Loving Grace recently and it had the same effect.

    He's obviously doing something right, because a lot of people enjoy his programmes, but his actual arguments are absurd. I mean, really--I came away from Machines of Loving Grace seriously contemplating the idea that Californian hippies unwittingly planted the seed of Randite evil in the internets and so caused a balance-of-payments crisis in Asia in the '90s.

    I'm not sure if he even makes the direct link overtly--possibly not because it's nonsensical and bizarre--but it's certainly implied through all the nudges and winks, archive footage and ominous music.

    It's not just the analysis either. Whenever I watch Curtis' programmes I think of the South Park episode where Cartman discovers that Family Guy is written by a family of manatees floating round a tank and picking subjects at random. Every time, the same formula.

  14. #44

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    Ominous Music certainly does a lot of the heavy lifting for Curtis.

  15. #45
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    Without prior knowledge of any of the US intelligence agencies a bunch of Arab students hijack three planes with box cutters and manage to crash one of them into the WTC , which then collapses at free-fall speed, and another one in the Pentagon - the most secure building in the world -, approaching it in a manoeuvre pilots say is physically impossible (more than 40 security tapes showing this impact are confiscated for security reasons). Luckily, the passports of the perpetrators survive the total pulverisation of the airliners so that the attack can immediately be linked to an evil turbaned terrorist mastermind who is hiding himself in some cave in Afghanistan. All attempts of the US intelligence and military apparatus to locate the elusive terror overlord fail, despite their budget being higher than the combined GNP of several industrial countries. Finally, two wars, 10 years and more than 1 million civilian deaths later the one man responsible for the attacks is discovered in a cozy mansion in the heart of Pakistan. The heroic and inspiring new American leader doesn't hesitate and orders the execution of the public enemy number one which is swiftly carried out by a team of trained killers. The public does not get to see any evidence of the death of its archenemy but is reassured that his porn collection was considerable. In the aftermath of the entire operation, Pakistan is conveniently accused of having provided refuge to the diabolic terrorist leader and a new war is on the horizon, this time involving China and a couple of nukes. To be continued.

    To all the oh so critical minds on here: Does this narrative strike you as "mythopoeisthesizing" and "propagandistic" as well?

    No, wait, I forgot, it's the truth and any one who says otherwise is a conspiracy theorist.

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