Politics

Enrichment

Can't Get You Out of My Head

Mike McCartney

6th May 2021

The documentary series by Adam Curtis is my recommended watch for all social scientists

Filmmaker Adam Curtis has created a number of excellent documentaries that are well worth watching, for tackling issues that go way beyond the narrow confines of the A-Level Politics syllabus. About twenty years ago, he made "The Century of the Self", the premise of which is that the ruling elite have always been anti-democratic, and have employed the theories of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud to try and control the masses. Heavily recommended for anyone interested in the inter-linkages between the different social science disciplines. Link to full video is below.

This year, the BBC has broadcast his most recent film, cut into six episodes, entitled "Can't Get You Out of My Head".

It is also brilliant. Its central premise is that over the last 100 years, we have all been lulled into believing in the attractions of individualism, but that it has ultimately left us unsatisfied. Sometimes the film leaves you feeling confused, unsure as to where it is going, for example, wondering why a programme about the chaos of the global monetary system begins by examining the early science of climate change. But hang in there, and the unifying thread holds things together brilliantly. There are some excellent snippets in the film. Things that you once read, but forgot. For example, there is a quote in there by Richard Nixon, captured by the White House Tapes, in discussion with his National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger: "Never forget, the press is the enemy, the press is the enemy. The establishment is the enemy, the professors are the enemy, the professors are the enemy. Write that on a blackboard 100 times." True, even the paranoid have enemies.

The iPlayer link is here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/...

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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