Watched Adam Curtis’ – Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Adam Curtis Documentary

I recently discovered a British documentarian named Adam Curtis. His latest documentary, which is a six-part series entitled Can’t Get You Out of My Head was released mid-February 2021. There was so much covered within the first part that I wound up watching it twice last night. I plan on watching the second and third part very soon.

The documentary covers numerous global historical events and individuals, that have had quite an impact/influence on the current state of society.

Favourite Sequence:

The opening. Video footage depicting numerous protests going on around the world, with narration explaining the rising frustration directed toward the wealthy elite. I thought this introduction undoubtedly captured the last few years of what is actually going on here on Earth. Shit is falling apart.

Favourite Historical Person Introduced:

Micheal de Freitas. His story seems very interesting. It seems as though he had a lot to do with the Black Power movement in London. I don’t know anything about the struggles of black people in England. From what I know about basic human traits I could conjecture that the fact that the British Empire stretched out as far as it did, there must have been resistance from citizens of England when brown immigrants from India, the Caribbean and so on started flooding in. No different than America with its criticisms on immigration currently.

Or I guess any country’s citizens afraid of their own erasure.

Thoughts Pondered…

When I was watching the scene and there are a horde of English citizens holding an immigration reform protest in London. Gazing at the protester’s scowling, snarling faces; I couldn’t help but think of all the other groups, in history, of people that were terrified of their new neighbours that unexpectedly showed up. In many cases those terrified people were slaughtered.

No matter how much we try to convince ourselves we are different from others, believe me in the end some of our worst traits are identical.

Didn’t mean to turn this into a soapbox rant. Anyway this documentary is worth watching.

Wiki link:

Elias Canetti – Crowds and Power

Elias Canetti

I’ve been reading Canetti’s Crowds and Power recently. I figure with the amount of protesting going on in the world, it only makes sense.

Whether America, Russia or most recently the coup d’ etat in Myanmar. Crowds seem to be popping up all over the globe. Canetti’s work highlights many of the significant impacts crowds have on their environment and I am finding that recent current events serve as a pragmatic example. It is almost like the world realizes I am reading Canetti’s work and is provided real-live representations. Though, I rather it not.

One topic I find interesting is flight crowds. You ever hear the term fight or flight? Think of crowds running from some kind of threat. Like some kind of natural disaster that has come and everyone is running for their lives. I guess the crowds depicted in Godzilla are pretty solid examples.

Here is one of my favourite quotes so far:

“No-one is going to assume that he, out of so many, will be the victim and, since the sole movement of the whole flight is towards salvations, each is convinced that he personally will attain it” (53).

Thinking about it, I don’t think I have ever been in a flight crowd before. But I do feel that if I was trying to avoid being disintegrated by Godzilla’s atomic breath, running in the middle of a large crowd would provide some relief, though not much. I have to agree with Canetti’s description, because I do think I would feel like I could escape and those around me had a higher probability of being picked off.

You ever watch a horror or thriller film where the main character is fleeing from someone or something trying to kill them and they’ll try to lose their predator in a public place. I always feel like if I was the main character I’d without a doubt lose my threat in the crowd. What is it about a crowd that makes us feel like that.

This is a long read, but you don’t have to read it from beginning to end. You can jump around and read at your leisure.

Have a look here.

Check out my man Alan Watts too. He got some great ideas.

Canetti, Elias. Crowds and Power.First Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984.

I don’t know jack but Alan Watts knows some stuff

Alan Watts.  

I heard of him before in some of my readings of Gary Snyder. I am pretty sure that Snyder wrote about Watts in letters to Allen Ginsberg.  Watts was located on the west coast and I know that both Snyder and Ginsberg attended school on the west coast as well.  I still have some more reading to do but I am pretty sure that there is some influential connection between Watts and Snyder.   When I read Snyder’s letters, I get the same feeling when reading Watts work. They both seem to have the personality of feathers. Their words are light and playful and they always seem to have it all figured out and not a care in the world. 

Today I was reading Watts ideas on “form”. Watts discusses the idea of most of us on this planet have these preconceived methods of thinking that are as Watts puts it “unexamined”. We don’t really question any of these methods of thinking. Form is one of these “unexamined” methods. He goes on to write on about how science continually breaks down things into smaller things. Classifications into classifications. If you take a chunk of a table and put it under a microscope and then get a more powerful microscope the classification of the table will only continue to spread. Which, when thinking about the universe, supports the notion that our studies of universe will continue to into other studies. The universe will always be an enigma. The proverbial dog that chases its own tail. 

I am not doing justice to any of this man’s work but I thought I writing it down would help me with my own thought when wrestling with his various concepts. Here is one of his lectures.