Few can cast a cynical eye upon history and society quite like the Brits. From the Angry Young Men to Monty Python, the Clash to New Order—fatalism and futility were never so well-appointed. Perhaps it’s the gloomy pragmatism of the post-Imperial British imagination, which documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis taps into with a particularly wry eye for the unintended consequences of utopian political ideas about science, math and technology on both the right and left in his new series All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace. Truly, this series is a post-modern Animal Farm told with bewildering leaps of historical imagination not seen since James Burke’s amazing BBC series Connections. Of course, we had to share it with you, particularly since it includes a particularly unflattering portrait of power as it pertains to the Buckminster Fuller-inspired hippy communes like Drop City in Trinidad, which we featured two weeks ago HERE, in Episode 2. Most amazingly, these three episodes manage to be polemical without taking political sides. We definitely recommend his other documentaries as well, and there’s also a great interview with Adam Curtis about the series HERE.

 

2 Responses to OK, Computer?

  1. Mary H says:

    Weird & funny, but so long, I may never watch it all…
    I’ll bet it took a long time to produce as well.

  2. Kron Kite says:

    Monolithic systems of politics, science, economics, etc. are always imperfect descriptors of a world in flux. The people who sell the system du jour to the masses are the ones who profit by it. Even in the sciences there is not 100% objectivity, but ALWAYS a bias, a motive, an agenda. Why? Because scientific research costs tons of $$$, and today our universities are funded in large part by the Pentagon and corporations. Of course, they will get the “answers” they pay for. And everyone will call it the Truth because science can’t be wrong. But as perceptive people notice more and more each day: the establishment elites in politics, business, and academia get it WRONG much of the time. The result? War, impoverishment, environmental destruction. Buy products you don’t need. Take drugs that kill you. Vote for candidate X in a One Party system. Pursue target goals at work. Trust the god inside the computer. And know that Rich Uncle Pennybags loves you.

News

iStock
March 28, 2017 | NPR · The rule, which had not yet taken effect, would have required Internet providers to ask permission before selling consumers’ personal data. President Trump is expected to sign the rollback.
 

Yoon S. Byun/Boston Globe/Getty Images
March 28, 2017 | NPR · Groups that help low-income families get food aid report a big drop in the number of immigrants seeking help. Some are canceling government benefits for fear it will affect their immigration status.
 

AFP/Getty Images
March 28, 2017 | NPR · Russians are still trying to understand exactly what happened over the weekend, when thousands of people took part in anti-government rallies — the biggest demonstration of discontent since 2012.
 

Arts & Life

March 28, 2017 | FA · Journalist Sharon Weinberger discusses the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, which develops innovative scientific technologies for the military. Her new book is The Imagineers of War.
 

Courtesy of Minto Island Tea Co.
March 28, 2017 | NPR · Most of the world’s tea comes from China, India and Sri Lanka. But since 2000, dozens of farms have sprouted across the U.S. producing small-batch, artisanal tea sold at a premium.
 

NPR
March 28, 2017 | NPR · David Bellos’ new book is a comprehensive guide to Les Misérables, and a compelling story in its own right, packed with detail about the creation and publication of Victor Hugo’s massive masterpiece.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
March 28, 2017 | WXPN · Frontman Wayne Coyne says he thrives in environments that combine art and chaos. Hear that conversation, plus live performances of songs from Oczy Mlody.
 

YouTube
March 28, 2017 | NPR · “Connection Lost: The Tinder Opera” is an 11-minute video dramatizing a young man’s quest for love via the popular dating app. It marks an effort to adapt a 400-year-old art form to modern media.
 

Getty Images
March 28, 2017 | NPR · Thomas turns the Van Morrison classic into pure NOLA R&B, emphasizing the wonderful impracticality of unconditional love.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab