Can’t Get You Out of My Head

We have been watching Adam Curtis’s latest series of documentaries Can’t Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World one at a time, because each one seems more than enough in terms of a great morass of footage, alternately illuminating and bewildering, as if one is going to learn about the intellectual construction of the modern world, but instead that it is invariably and everywhere the product of malice and conspiracy. I have now been alerted to an interview with him in this week’s New Statesman (Adam Curtis: “Big Tech and Big Data have been completely useless in this crisis” (newstatesman.com)). I am not sure that it makes his thesis any clearer, but it at least makes clear that there is no thesis, but instead is wilfully nihilistic, deliberately provocative and wide-ranging, using old footage often arbitrarily: both admirable and perplexing, which is exactly what we feel at the end of each evening.

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