If this is the one I think I watched (lesbian nuns and the whole bit about needing an egg in instant cake mix) then this is a fantastic and terrifying video. A bit bland to listen to but it's educational; when I first saw it confirmed a lot of what I suspected about people and consumerism.
It's an opinion piece. You shouldn't really use it to "confirm" your beliefs.
It's also a dupe. DUUUUUUUUUUUUUPE.
Not really a dupe. This one is one clip the others are divided.
He doesn't engage in hyper-editing in anything of his I've seen. He is not aiming for Errol Morris or Michael Moore, I really get the feeling he's interested in objective journalism.
What is "hyper-editing"? He's about as unbiased as The Drudge Report; nothing is his exclusive editorial voice, but he is outrageously selective in what he presents and it borders on conspiracy theory.
I love every one of his documentary series, but calling his stuff factual or objective is really dangerous.
Editing in a way that seeks to arouse interest via a frenetic, war room barrage of information while creating contextual relationships between disparate concepts that are far fetched. Alex Jones's Zeitgeist is a good example of what I was getting at with "hyper-editing."
Factual and objective, no documentary is really, but I believe Curtis is more honest in his approach and is more interested in generating genuine study in his subject matter; Power of Nightmares encourages further research, it does not present itself as a means to an end. The most objective type of documentary I've seen is something like Salesmen, the Maysles movie, but that's precisely because it was sparsely edited and observational. Something like that is impossible to do when you're trying to present the history of propaganda and consumer culture.
Curtis is the anti-conspiracy theorist. His entire body of work is about how a person or group did a thing and then following the thing as it spirals off into unforeseen directions.
His meta-thesis is that nobody's driving the car. There's no fucking conspiracy theories in his work.
Why did you bring up "hyper-editing," then? I don't understand what it has to do with anything.
To Modern Angel, The Century of the Self is an exploration of how Sigmund Freud and his relatives had used psychoanalysis to manipulate the minds of humanity for one hundred years. If that doesn't sound like conspiracy theory thinking to you, I don't know if we can have a discussion on this.
Adam Curtis makes a lot (A LOT) of claims in this film and he almost never offers evidence to support them. I'm no psychologist or historian, so I can only be skeptical of being told a lot of things without being told why. It's telling, I think, that the thing people tend to take away from this series is the story about the egg and cake mix; I think it's because a piece of evidence supporting his claims is so refreshing.
You've also never had to work in advertising, I presume.
He does make claims and synthesizes new ideas, but many of them can be validated outside of the work, in fact, he WANTS you to validate them outside the work. Sigmund Freud was indeed something of a vile manipulator, dating back to his days as a cocaine-cures-all advocate, where he published "scientific studies" for companies that manufactured products that contained the drug. This was in the 19th century, so even then he had no problem shilling pseudo-science for profit. The interview with his nephew alone is pretty good evidence that he was quite proud of the work he did.
In the Power of Nightmares, he presents the neoconservatives as representing one school of thought (Leo Strauss) and militant Islamists as representing another (Sy Qutb). Is the dichotomy a ply? Yes, but it's an intelligent one, it encourages further exploration, and it is not so out there as to be considered a conspiracy theory.
I brought up hyper-editing to contrast good documentary filmmaking to what isn't.
I've seen it. Twice. That's a distortion of what he's claiming. He follows techniques used by Freud which were then altered to fit advertising. He then followed how those techniques spun out into things as diverse as primal scream therapy to politics, in ways Freud could only quasi-predict.
It's not a conspiracy because none of it was foreseen. There isn't a cabal of puppet masters pulling the strings. And if you think there's not *an entire industry* trying to figure out how to manipulate your mind called advertising, then yeah, we can't actually have a conversation.
Have to watch it through to see the full message and I'm not going to start at 1AM, but I'm curious where he takes it, given that usually step 1 of any psyc degree program is to grind Freud's theories into dust for being armchair philosophy disguised as psyc and not useful as a predictive theory for anything. After the short object lesson in why Freud was full of hot air, he was never spoken of again for the remaining 4 years of that degree.
So I'll use this as a chance to fave it to bookmark for later and to see what it has to say.
I think Curtis often creates "contextual relationships between disparate concepts that are far fetched". His work is very much about creative narration, finding emotional connections between things and using specific music/video edits to glide you along.* And sometimes his storytelling can become so complex that his arguments are impossible to understand or summarize.
But despite that, I still love his work because it is enormously entertaining and makes me think of things I hadn't ever considered or makes me aware of historical events I didn't know about. I recommend his blog where he sometimes posts an essay with a piece of footage punctuating paragraphs.
What Modern Angel said ("following the thing as it spirals off into unforeseen directions") seems like the usual narrative arc of Curtis: some invented model for people is useful but ends up being misguided because of the biases of the system's creators.
* He talks about his technique a little in this interview:
I recently watched this guy's other series "The Trap." Very interesting, and if true, upsetting work.
|Born in the RSR |
This one's a keeper.
|Rodents of Unusual Size |
My favorite part of this and possibly any documentary is the nun experiment that ended with the entire convent going lesbo and becoming MILITANT LESBIAN NUNS.
|Sudan no1 |
This is a dupe I can get behind.
Updated link submitted.
Stars for opening with Raymond Scott.
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