Saturday, 8 December 2012

Adam Curtis

Adam Curtis is one of my favourite journalists and documentary film makers, and has made another post on his BBC blog. Anyone interested in history, politics, or the Middle East should check it out. While you're there you can take a look at his previous posts, all of which are good and cover a wide array of topics all dealing with power and society.

While some articles seem overtly right or left, I don't think it's true. Adam Curtis see's himself as more of a progressive libertarian, and his real interest is in "... power and how it works in society". I find what he is really doing is giving real political and historical context to current events, and always asking why society and politics is the way it is. I know of few others who even approach these kinds of subjects, let alone dig as deep as Curtis does (perhaps another is Malcolm Gladwell).

Several of his documentaries are available here on


Last week there was yet another cycle of horrific violence in the Gaza strip. This week there are demonstrations in Cairo driven by fears that the revolution is being hi-jacked by the Islamists. Liberals in the west look on baffled and horrified. What they thought was a glorious revolution in the Arab world is morphing into something they don't understand. While Gaza is like some brutal other planet forever possessed by hi-tech assassinations and bearded aliens dragging corpses around the streets on motor cycles.

All this is comprehensible though - but only if you look at it in a wider context. A context that western liberals really don't like to think about because it makes them very depressed. It is the great shift of our time - the collapse of the dream that politicians could change the world for the better. A dream that was replaced by a conviction that politicians were untrustworthy and always become corrupted by power.

The collapse of that optimistic vision of what politics could achieve then left the way open for powerful, reactionary forces to take power who...

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