Power and perception and all that stuff

All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving GraceIf I were a better person, I would watch more documentaries.

But I am not, so I don’t. I keep telling myself this is because I don’t have easy access to BBC Four, but this is a lie.

Anyway, Adam Curtis, one of the documentary film makers I am a fan of, is currently on the air again with the wonderfully-titled All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace.

The gist of this series, is, eh… somewhat hard to explain – moreso because I haven’t started watching it yet (it’s on my VPN-enabled iPlayer). Basically it’s about the enthralling notion that, as machines and computers can be set up and run in nice, orderly systems, so can people and societies in general. Except they can’t. And this has caused some problems.

Having tried (and failed) to embed the BBC version of the trailer, I turned to YouTube and found the first episode online, in segments- hooray:

Isn’t the internet great?

You can catch the series on BBC 2 on Monday nights – episode 2 airs tomorrow – or on iPlayer for those in the UK, or with VPN connections.

(If you do not have a VPN connection, I can recommend the one I use: Identity Cloaker. You can connect to all sorts of countries, including the US, UK, Australia, much of Europe, etc – and best of all, it has a non-encrypted mode, which is great for things like iPlayer, as it runs much faster. Downside is, it’s not private, but who cares if you’re watching some docu, right?)

Anyway, the reason I haven’t started All Watched Over yet is because I stumbled across the full episodes of one of Curtis’s previous series – The Power Of Nightmares. I missed this the first time round, so was very happy to find it. All three episodes are on Google Video:

The Power Of Nightmares – 1: Baby It’s Cold Outside

The Power Of Nightmares – 2: The Phantom Victory

The Power Of Nightmares – 3: The Shadows in the Cave

These films are a fascinating look at terrorism and politics, and how the two have enabled governments to spin webs of fear and paranoia, from fictions and grossly exaggerated threats.

Curtis is a film-maker who likes to go in hard with a very clear, and often out-there (superficially, at least) thesis – these programmes are no bland aggregation of the facts. Agree or disagree, I defy anyone to watch these and not have their minds at least somewhat provoked into thought.

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