Adam Curtis’ HyperNormalisation

sherbetbizarre

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Acclaimed filmmaker, Adam Curtis brings his new epic film, HyperNormalisation to BBC iPlayer this October. The film will premiere at 9pm on Sunday 16 October.

HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion - where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed - and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control - from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening - but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

The film shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West - not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us, we accept it as normal.

HyperNormalisation has been made specifically for BBC iPlayer. It tells an epic narrative spanning 40 years, with an extraordinary cast of characters. They include the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters, suicide bombers - and the extraordinary untold story of the rise, fall, rise again, and finally the assassination of Colonel Gaddafi.

All these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created. Part of it was done by those in power - politicians, financiers and technological utopians. Rather than face up to the real complexities of the world, they retreated. And instead constructed a simpler version of the world in order to hang onto power.

But it wasn’t just those in power. The film shows how this strange world was built by all of us. We all went along with it because the simplicity was reassuring. And that included the left and the radicals who thought they were attacking the system. The film reveals how they too retreated into this make-believe world - which is why their opposition today has no effect, and nothing ever changes.
More at http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2016/adam-curtis-hypernormalisation
 

rynner2

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"Acclaimed filmmaker, Adam Curtis brings his new epic film, HyperNormalisation to BBC iPlayer this October. The film will premiere at 9pm on Sunday 16 October.

HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion - where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed - and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control - from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening - but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them."

Ah, I thought it was just me, and others, growing old, who cannot understand the fecking state of the world today. Somehow it's reassuring to know that the world really is screwed up, and everyone else is just as confused as I am...
 

Ermintruder

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All these stories are woven together to show how today’s fake and hollow world was created.

Well, that's refreshing. Hopefully this will be absolute honesty without agenda.

I shall certainly watch it, thanks @sherbetbizarre

(ps plot spoilers of spoilt plots are still welcome in advance, though....has anyone yet had the chance to see the whole programme yet?)
 

GNC

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*rubs hands together in anticipation* Curtis has been a bit quiet recently, glad he's not been idle.
 

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Ooh, this is gonna be good. And sinister. And make you feel useless, probably.
 

GNC

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Just listening to Curtis interviewed on the radio, it's 2 and 3 quarter hours long! Well, I wasn't doing anything tonight anyway...
 

GNC

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That was a marathon, but I'm through to the other side. Almost too much to take in, but let's see if I have it straight: politics has become devalued because nobody likes authority figures anymore, we prefer to have ourselves reflected back by using the internet, and when we don't see exactly what we want to agree with, we get angry and/or frightened.

The movers and shakers who capitalise on this are those who feed on confusion, because the truth matters not a jot anymore, all that matters is that we get riled up about the news and famous people (including politicians) because that's what now fuels the global economy.

Oh, and Gaddafi was a lone wolf eccentric used as a smokescreen by the West because it couldn't solve the increasing terrorist crisis led by the actual problem, Syria.

There was a lot more, but that's my first impression. Well, that and we're in big trouble because nobody has a plan for the future that could possibly work out. Brilliant. Well done everyone.
 

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Just got round to watching this. I like the way he links events, many of which I remember from the time, to form a cohesive narrative.

Banks taking over running a bankrupt New York in the 70s as being the start point of banks running everything & determining economic policy, now spreading pretty much everywhere in the world. Prior to that, politicians were in control but they were so financially skewered they didn't have a better option than to hand it over to bankers. Rich people move out of New York, artists move in & this was also the time Trump started buying cheap property.

Too much to go into in depth but he has a persuasive view of Trump, that having been made bankrupt several [4?] times he hasn't been able to get US finance for a long time & now has to go elsewhere. Russian finance seems to figure highly. As a result he has become a 'brand' & though his name appears on all manner of buildings/businesses all over the world, he may not own or control them. He gets a percentage & that seems to be the nature of his 'business success'.

Lots more on dealings & double dealings with Syria, Libya, Palestine. He picks out the emergence of suicide bombs as being particularly significant.

Recommended but at 2¾ hours long you might need a break for refreshment.
 

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Watched this on YouTube tonight. Very interesting and audiovisually striking film.

While I agree with many parts of the filmmakers thesis, something keeps nagging at me, as if there's something missing (or misinterpreted) that would tie it all together perfectly. Can't put my finger on it as yet, though. There was so much information in the film I probably can't see the forest for the trees.

Too bad he didn't mention GW Bush's "plan for success" which was really just a paper suggesting that repeating the word "success" will influence people into thinking your plan is a success. Fits in perfectly with the false reality narrative. Actually, that was probably the first time I truly understood what was happening there, myself.
 

onetwothree

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I watched this over the course of a few days last week - had to do it in half-hour chunks because it's SO enormous. I found it fascinating but very disturbing.
 

JamesWhitehead

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There was so much information in the film I probably can't see the forest for the trees.
Curtis is a brilliant film-maker; it's a polished, armour-penetrating missile of a picture.

Its depressive effect seems to be generally felt.

He has access to footage which no one else has, which gives his films a fresh and startling feeling.

Yet his film is a well-crafted product, a bit too retrospective and monumental- itself something to be sold.

The process continues and we are not all processed yet. :p
 
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Min Bannister

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Watched this on YouTube tonight. Very interesting and audiovisually striking film.

While I agree with many parts of the filmmakers thesis, something keeps nagging at me, as if there's something missing (or misinterpreted) that would tie it all together perfectly. Can't put my finger on it as yet, though. There was so much information in the film I probably can't see the forest for the trees.f.
The Vogons I think.

It seemed to jump about quite a lot between what is controlling everything. The banks! The US government! Facebook! In the end it didn't explain anything to me. I was confused between how governments could be cunningly manipulating what you or I think and yet at the same time retreating into their safe spaces and becoming all clueless.

Plus I had the horrible feeing I was being manipulated throughout. As if I saw enough dead babies or bloodstains or migrants tipping into the ocean in slo-mo I would begin to believe everything the film said.
o_O
There were a few interesting bits in there but on the whole, colour me unimpressed.
 

GNC

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I don't think he's lost perspective, HN was as observationally sharp as ever for me, what he has done is fall prey to "just one more thing" delivery. Where he would once create a TV series where he could place each topic in its own episode and draw them together at the end, he's now making mammoth experience with a huge range, so it's not surprising viewers can't see his points across the sheer volume of information. Looking back from months later, I can't pick out more than two or three arguments from watching it, and the two hours plus was packed with them.
 

GNC

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Excellent podcast from Adam Buxton where he talks to Adam Curtis:
http://adam-buxton.co.uk/ad/2017/05/18/podcast-ep-44-adam-curtis/

Lots of topics covered, really works well as a complement to Hypernormalisation, I felt I understood his style a lot better: all journalism is propaganda, he says, and he deliberately does not take a political side when conveying that, it's in the service of the stories he finds, which I suppose means you can approach it from whichever way you want. Plus you find out what songs make him cry!

It was recorded at the end of last year, so there's a bit of Trump and Brexit stuff, but nothing about the recent election. His point about modern self-expression being a kind of tyranny of individualism that has written off the future is very apt. He quotes Burial (the musician) as saying the internet is like a Ouija board and the mouse is the planchette - are you controlling it or the other way around? As I say, well worth a listen.
 

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He quotes Burial (the musician) as saying the internet is like a Ouija board and the mouse is the planchette - are you controlling it or the other way around?
I do like that.
 

GNC

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I do like that.
It's a neat description, isn't it? Burial compares the lines of code that make up the internet to a spirit world, too. We think we're communicating, but are we just following predictable patterns governed by what we look at on there?
 

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Halfway through--very, very interesting.


Extremely ambitious thesis, but so far very good.
 

Ermintruder

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Also half-way through, will start from where I've left off later on (much later) tomorrow.

A very-interesting exposition.

And from it, I've seen nothing that contradicts my standing mantras of contemporary society being nothing more than artificial governments, false simplistic national strategies and goals, distraction hoaxes and a post-truth news synthesis of edutainment and bogeymen.

I (and some others) have been dimly-aware of so-called 'false' news across much of our world for over three decades, but it has probably been happening for a lot longer than that...it did not just arrive with Trump and Putin, and if you, Dear Reader, honestly think that it did, then I feel as sorry for you as I would for a recovering cultist or a child being softly given the Father Christmas talk at Easter.

EDIT
(An overnight addendum, in the cold dark of pre-dawn). This work by Curtis, will (of course, by necessity) not be an entire absolute truth in itself. It will be a slice of simplification, an agenda-riven fable of intent (or, someone's cleared-for-broadcast calculated content). But it could be truer to the realer societal realities.

Sometimes, the only evasive defensive truth is a cards-on-the-table admission of fact (this I have seen many times, in the most adversorial systems we, humans, ever practise). That admission/concession does not make it entirely without gile or strategic intent, at some other so-far-undetectable level.

'Facts' in selected stacks, arranged in considered sequence, can build castles of constructed myth: keep your facts close- but keep your fables even closer still).

EDIT2
all journalism is propaganda
This is inarguably one of the only absolute truths. I would ask, please, that everyone does remember this axiomatic fact, and not dismiss it on a serial "but (today's report) must always be true, because....well, to think otherwise would be paranoid delusion" basis. Being paranoid does not make you always wrong. That is (without conflation) tantamount to saying/thinking that being pessimistic always makes you wrong. What will always make you wrong is the passive acceptance of proffered narrative and reportage always without questioning it.
 
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Yithian

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That was a great ending: non-comprehending disappointment--the whimper not the bang--as you wake up to discover yourself a victim of corporate fascism or a religious fundamentalism: this is what results when the populace spends all day staring at itself in the mirror, academia turns to the semiotics of navel-gazing and the media turn from being guardians to co-conspirators in the project of concealing the truth in a maze of mirrors.

It reminds me of one particularly inspiring professor of mine who passionately tried to describe how hard many classes of Victorian society worked at culture: writing, thinking, discussing, meeting, planning, dreaming and plotting how to better this swelling agglomeration of humanity that was for the first time had begun overflowing mere nations and continents to become global: it was a time when ideas mattered--scientific, philosophical, political, religious--change was abundantly possible and the future was still up for grabs.

Ubi nunc?
 

Ermintruder

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It's a very very interesting piece of work. It puts me in a massive quandary, of course, because I find myself unable to disagree with anything that is claimed, nor any of the conclusions drawn. Which for an arch-doubter of all, is a strange state to be in.

I have always said, on this forum, and elsewhere (when appropriate) that our collective reported realities are merely spun fictions. That so-called 'false news' is false, in addition to 'real news', the majority of which is also false.

I particularly agree with his dismissal of politicians and politics in the modern era, reframing them as just being a competition between varying styles of pseudo-safety gameplay, irrespective of hue or professed political sect.

It's interesting that Curtis makes the following underdeveloped comment, during his disaster/apocalypse movie sequence segment:
Screenshot_2018-03-11-15-10-58.png

....a segment which includes, so many New York skyscraper smash-ups, including:
Screenshot_2018-03-11-15-11-53.png


...the quintessential self-fulfilling prophesies of the Twin Towers being attacked by external forces of (a kind-of) nature, standing tandem and totemic.

Three years, then, before they were absolutely, definitely destroyed, in physical reality, beyond the shadow of an official doubt, by Saudi Arabian terrorists. For which the US had to invade Afghanistan.

Of course, we now are told that there were no real WMDs in Hussein's Iraq. And in Curtis's documentary, we are reminded that there were also no real WMDs for Gaddaffi to dismantle in Libya, either.

We would do well to remember: all of us - that seemingly-impossible claims made by so-called conspiracy theorists can actually be real. Or not. But they can be relevant, in any case.

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident"
Schopenhauer
 
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Yithian

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This may be of interest (quality is not top-notch):

Spin is a 1995 documentary film by Brian Springer composed of raw satellite feeds featuring politicians' pre-appearance planning. It covers, not only the presidential election, but also the 1992 Los Angeles riots as well as the Operation Rescue abortion protests.

Using the 1992 presidential election as his springboard, Springer captures the behind-the-scenes schemings of politicians and newscasters in the early 1990s. Pat Robertson banters about "homos," Al Gore learns how to avoid abortion questions, George H. W. Bush talks to Larry King about Halcion—all presuming they are off camera. Composed of 100% unauthorized satellite footage, Spin is a surreal expose of media-constructed reality.

The film also documents behind the scenes footage of Larry Agran who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for President. Agran was generally ignored by the media during his candidacy, a topic covered in the documentary. The media did not report his polling numbers even as he met or exceeded the support of other candidates such as Jerry Brown. Party officials excluded him from most debates on various grounds, even having him arrested when he interrupted to ask to participate. When he managed to join the other candidates in any forum, his ideas went unreported.

Stephen Holden of The New York Times said of the film, "a devastating critique of television's profound manipulativeness in the way it packages the news and politics". Spin is a follow-up of the 1992 film Feed; for which Springer provided much of the raw satellite footage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(1995_film)

 

Yithian

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Associated subject.

Are you aware of the local news franchises they have running in the U.S.?

Does this sound like independent journalism?

 

Yithian

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This may whet your appetite:


I like the idea of personalised discrimination--like the insurance industry gone super-specific. You will be discriminated against based on facets of your behaviour, personality, preferences and genetics and it will be fair because it will be true--and there will be far less you can do about it because you don't share your selfhood with others so natural allies will be lacking.

Full meal:
 
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