Talking Like Adam Curtis

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I can say that I have sat through the whole of HyperNormalisation. It is arduous viewing, putting it kindly. It’s extremely rich, some might say decadent. If Bitter Lake was a cornerstone, I suspect this film is the excess that followed from it. Everything about it is overdone. If you’ve followed Adam Curtis closely, you’ll note that the footage carries with it his obsessions from recent years. He was writing about Iran, Syria and Libya on his blog back going back five years. For more 15 years or more, Adam Curtis has been able to captivate mainstream audiences with his … Continue reading

Richard Wagner

Bryn Terfel Odin

With many of the key figures of modernity, popular beliefs about them are seriously askew, sometimes at 180′ from the truth: so Nietzsche was neither anti Semitic, nor a nationalist; Freud didn’t say it was ‘all about sex’ etc; Marx wasn’t a proponent of a one party state etc etc. It is almost as if whatever the popular view is of these figures, the truth lies in the opposite direction. With Wagner, though, the case is rather different: for a start, he was an antiSemite, and not just a bit, either: seriously so. The mistake lies in thinking this has to … Continue reading

Beyonce and the politics of cultural dominance

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I confess, I am a culturally alienated, old, disconnected 1960s and ‘70s radical trying to live and struggle for revolutionary change in a world that might have passed me by, because I cannot for the life of me understand how Beyonce’s commodified caricature of black opposition was in any way progressive. Instead what I saw was the cultural power of neoliberal capitalism to co-opt opposition, monetize it and provide some mindless entertainment all at the same time. I didn’t see opposition; I saw the imagery and symbols of authentic black radicalism grotesquely transformed into a de-politicized spectacle by gyrating, light-skinned … Continue reading