It is worth pouring an hour of your life into this Adam Curtis piece

While the old institutions that grew up over the past hundred years to protect us now find themselves unable to comprehend or cope with the new systems of power. Politicians, regulatory institutions, intelligence agencies, the mainstream press, the police, the BBC, the colleges of academia- all of them, as McClure said in 1903:

They do not understand

And cut off from the real power struggles – these old institutions are starting to prey on each other. Leaving us both confused and undefended.

One newspaper editor writing about the loss of the independence of the farmers a hundred years ago summed up the new system: 

“The farmers farm the land, and the businessmen farm the farmers.”

Maybe today we are being farmed by the new system of power. But we can’t see quite how it is happening – and we need a new journalism to explain what is really going on.

 

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2 thoughts on “It is worth pouring an hour of your life into this Adam Curtis piece

  1. very interesting history (the octopus and all that) but unconvinced about contemporary parallels and too conspiracy theoryish for me. I agree that the shocking behaviour of the financial system is something real, and that tabloid newspapers employ nasty methods and the security services snoop, but not convinced sum is greater than parts.

    1. Yes Curtis can come across as a bit conspiracy theory-y. But he’s trying to do the big picture analysis of a historian in real time. Many of the theories you hear to explain the past (marxist, whig etc.) imply a sense of conspiracy or coordination that’s not visible in real time. I read Adam Curtis as trying to spot those threads now.

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