- Man 1: Do you think we can do anything about it?
- Man 2: Well, why not? If we can work together now to look after the lives of the people here I don't see why we couldn't work together afterwards to clear up the mess; and help build a better world in which these things can't possibly happen.
- Narrator: The Qualities we've learned from comradeship and common suffering are not going to be wasted after this War. It is out of experiences like ours that the New World will be built.
— Adam Curtis
It is interesting seeing more critiques of Adam Curtis as a result of his show - this one seemed positive about his work but came away from the show feeling visually impressed but without any new ideas. The show was sort of just a skimming of previous works, drawing a bit from Pandora’s Box and his blog.
I’d say the most interesting stuff came from this post about Russia in the 1990’s. Especially about how Putin and Surkov have produced Staged Democracy.
This review was more harsh; the critic is an artist and seems familiar with the important ideas of post-modernity and spectacle. But he should look at Curtis’ rallying call to learn from history - to look at technology, power, and narrative.
Our current society has a goldfish memory - reporters and politicians only make simple, and usually flattering, comparisons to history. If the public had a more substantial grasp of the 20th Century they could demand leaders with more to offer; turning away from our current prospects of unimaginative, managed stagnation.
All of Mr.Curtis’ work is recommended
In 1998 associates of Osama Bin Laden & Ayman al-Zawahiri bombed American Embassies in Africa. Bill Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan . A ‘Chemical Weapons’ Plant in Sudan proved to be a Pharmaceutical facility.
Andrew Sullivan, writing then for the New Zealand paper Sunday Star-Times -
Is it any excuse to say that the final lie that undid him was about something as trivial as consensual extramarital sex? Surely not. To begin with, it is not a trivial act to take regular sexual advantage of a young employee in the workplace. It is an act of almost pathological recklessness. And if the man cannot confess to such a stupid, sordid dalliance, what hope for the truth about campaign finance? Or his motives for bombing Afghanistan?
America’s moral insouciance allowed Mr Clinton to believe he could get away with almost anything. Which is why he shamelessly corralled shifty businessmen through the White House in return for illegal campaign dollars, chatted on the phone with Dick Morris while Morris played footsie with a prostitute, and cavalierly carried on an affair in his very office with an employee half his age.
Visit your local libraries and databases, kids!
But (in the Post-Cold War) World- the grandeur that Isaiah Berlin had given it fell away.
President Putin could offer Russians other things; security, dignity, and above all a meaning that went beyond their own individual lives."
Adam Curtis on Late 20th Century Russia and The Central Liberal Concept of Positive/Negative Liberty
From ‘The Trap’ Episode 3 “We Will Force You to be Free" (2007)