The Power of Adam Curtis
There’s a new “Listen To This” coming in the next few days, but before that I’ll indulge myself in a non-music related post.
Adam Curtis is one of the finest, most thought provoking documentary makers around, and his latest series has just finished its all too brief run on Beeb 2. “The Trap” looks at what Freedom means, and how “in an attempt to liberate us, Western governments have simply narrowed our choices and created a system where class and money mean everything“. As usual it puts forward complicated idea’s in an accessible rich visual style, pop culture references, footage from movies spliced into the narrative and music from the world of pop and film.
Thanks to the wonders of the internet “The Trap“ is available to watch online, or download direct to your ipod. His previous work “The Power Of Nightmares” was one of the best documentary series of the last decade, and along with “The Century Of Self” (which I’ve just started to watch) is also available to view/download.
Either click here to bring up all the Adam Curtis doc’s on Google or click the links below.
Part 1 – Baby It’s Cold Outside (Google Video + download)
In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares.
The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.
Part 2 – The Phantom Victory (Google Video + download)
The Phantom Victory looks at how two groups, radical Islamists and neo-conservatives with seemingly opposing ideologies came together to defeat a common enemy.
Part 3 – The Shadows in the Cave – (Google Video + download)
Assesses whether the threat from a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. In the concluding part of the series, the programme explains how the illusion was created and who benefits from it.
Exploring the concept and definition of freedom.
Part 1 – “F**k You Buddy” (11 March, 2007) – Google Video+download
In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought.
Part 2 – “The Lonely Robot” (18 March, 2007) – Google Video+download
The second episode reiterated many of the ideas of the first, but developed the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalise behaviour and make humans behave more predictably, like machines.
Part 3 – “We Will Force You To Be Free” (25 March, 2007) – Google Video+download
The final programme focussed on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Tony Blair wrote to Berlin in the 1990’s arguing that positive and negative liberty could be mutually compatible. He never received a reply, as Isaiah was on his deathbed.
THE CENTURY OF THE SELF
29 April – 2 May 2002
Adam Curtis’ acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty.
Episode One: Happiness Machines (Google Video+download)
Episode Two: The Engineering of Consent (Google Video+download)
Episode Three: There is a Policeman Inside All Our Head: He Must Be Destroyed (Google Video+download)
Episode Four: Eight People Sipping Wine in Kettering