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19 DECEMBER 2012

North Korean 'Propaganda' is the real viral hit of 2012

"Propaganda 2012 is a 95–minute video that presents itself as a North Korean educational video intending to inform the citizens of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea about the dangers of Western propaganda. The video's uploader, known as 'Sabine', reiterates a statement she gave to the Federal Police regarding the movie's origins. She explains how the film was given to her by people claiming to be North Korean defectors whilst she was visiting Seoul. ...

Although the origins of Propaganda 2012 are contentious, its power lies in the fact that much of its content attempts to avoid invented history. Considering the media buzzwords associated with the alleged country of origin, Propaganda 2012 turns a mirror onto the Western world and seeks to criticise its entire history and culture–from the genocide and imperialism of its past, to the interventionism and consumerism of the modern era. The movie's overall attitude seems to express an intention to educate, shock and caution its audience into realising that people in the West are governed by a super–rich ruling class (The one per cent), who do not offer them true democracy; but instead seek to invade and assimilate as many countries as possible, whilst distracting their population with a smokescreen of consumerism, celebrity, and reality television. This message is spread across the video's 17 chapters, which each attempt to focus on specific examples of Western indoctrination and oppression. The film is regularly punctuated by commentary from an anonymous North Korean professor, and quotes from Western thinkers such as Noam Chomsky and Richard Dawkins. ...

Propaganda 2012 is certainly a film where the audience takes from it what they bring to it, and a variety of emotions can be induced upon viewing. Laughter, cynicism, outrage, contemplation and reflection would all be adequate responses to the video's tough, and often graphic, portrayal of the complex world in which we are living. Yet perhaps the most important thing to remember when watching the film is that the video is available to view uncensored, on a largely unregulated world wide web, and merely represents an extreme end of the vast spectrum of free expression. Therefore, during this festive end to an austere year, enjoy Propaganda 2012 as an interesting and beguiling alternative voice that cries loudly against the dangers of religious consumerism, and reminds us to remain humble and reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves."

(Kieran Turner–Dave, 17 December 2012, Independent Arts Blogs)

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TAGS

20129/11anti-capitalism • brainwashing • capitalismCentury of the Selfcommunismconspiracy theoriesconsumer cultureconsumer desireconsumerism • counter-terrorism • criticismcult of celebritycultural imperialismcultural implicationsdemocracydistractiondocumentary • DPRK • emotive manipulation • false flag • fear • fear of communism • fear of terrorism • free expression • Gangnam Style • genocidehalf-baked ideashistory and culture • hysterics • imperialism • indoctrination • interventionism • invented history • Just Do It • Korea • life in the West • likes • manufacturing consent • moralitynarcissismnationalism • neo-imperialist • Noam ChomskyNorth KoreaoppressionOprah WinfreyParis Hiltonpatriotismpolitical educationpropagandaPropaganda (2012)public relationsQuentin Tarantinoreality televisionreligion • religious consumerism • Richard Dawkins • Sabine (pseudonym) • salvation • September 11 2001shockingsmokescreensocialist realismSociety of the Spectacle (Guy Debord)South Koreaspectacle • Survivor (tv series) • terrorism • the one per cent • trust • Tyra Banks • unconscious desireswatching television

CONTRIBUTOR

David Reid
31 MAY 2011

Adam Curtis: the network ecology myth

"The new series, called All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace, takes complicated ideas and turns them into entertainment by the use of the vertigo–inducing intellectual leaps, choppy archive material and disorienting music with which all Curtis fans are familiar. The central idea leads Curtis on a journey, taking in the chilling über–individualist novelist Ayn Rand, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, the 'new economy', hippy communes, Silicon Valley, ecology, Richard Dawkins, the wars in Congo, the lonely suicide in a London squat of the mathematical genius who invented the selfish gene theory, and the computer model of the eating habits of the pronghorn antelope.

You can see why Zoe Williams once wrote that, while watching one of Curtis's programmes, 'I kept thinking the dog was sitting on the remote. ...'

Now he has moved on to machines, but it starts with nature. 'In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self–regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order,' Curtis says. 'The trouble is, it's not true–as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it's always changing. But the idea took root and spread wider–people started to believe there is an underlying order to the entire world, to how society is structured. Everything became part of a system, like a computer; no more hierarchies, freedom for all, no class, no nation states.' What the series shows is how this idea spread into the heart of the modern world, from internet utopianism and dreams of democracy without leaders to visions of a new kind of stable global capitalism run by computers. But we have paid a price for this: without realising it we, and our leaders, have given up the old progressive dreams of changing the world and instead become like managers–seeing ourselves as components in a system, and believing our duty is to help that system balance itself. Indeed, Curtis says, 'The underlying aim of the series is to make people aware that this has happened–and to try to recapture the optimistic potential of politics to change the world.'

The counterculture of the 1960s, the Californian hippies, took up the idea of the network society because they were disillusioned with politics and believed this alternative way of ordering the world was based on some natural order. So they formed communes that were non–hierarchical and self–regulating, disdaining politics and rejecting alliances. (Many of these hippy dropouts later took these ideas mainstream: they became the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who decided that computers could liberate everyone and save the world.)...

He draws a parallel with those 1970s communes. 'The experiments with them all failed, and quickly. What tore them apart was the very thing that was supposed to have been banished: power. Some people were more free than others – strong personalities dominated the weak, but the rules didn't allow any organised opposition to the suppression because that would be politics.' As in the commune, so in the world: 'These are the limitations of the self–organising system: it cannot deal with politics and power. And now we're all disillusioned with politics, and this machine–organising principle has risen up to be the ideology of our age.'"

(Katharine Viner, 6 May 2011, Guardian)

Episode 1: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: Love and Power', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 23 May 2011
Episode 2: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 30 May 2011
Episode 3: 'All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace: The Monkey In The Machine and the Machine in the Monkey', First broadcast BBC Two, 9:00PM Mon, 06 June 2011

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TAGS

1960s1970sabstract modelabstractionAdam Curtis • Alan Greenspan • All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace • archive footageAyn RandBBC2Bill MurrayblogsCarmen Hermosillochange • commune • computer model • computer utopianism • confessional memoirs • control societyconvergencecounterculturecultural expressioncyberspacedemocracydigital cultureecologyemotions become commodified • Esther Rantzen • evolution • expressions of power • Facebookfreedom • Georgia • global capitalism • hierarchical structures • hierarchies • hierarchy • hippy communes • hippy dropouts • hyper-consumerismideologyideology of the timeindividualisminternet utopianism • Kyrgyzstan • Loren Carpenter • machines • Mayfair Set • mercantilist economy • modern world • natural order • network ecologynetworked societynetworksnon-hierarchical • non-hierarchical societies • orderingPongpopular culture • punchdrunk • reflexive modernisationRichard Dawkinsscientific ideasself-organising systemself-regulating • self-regulating ecosystem • selfish gene theory • Silicon Valleysocial experimentssocial mediasocialist realismsociety • Soviet realism • stability • stable order • Stakhanovites • structuresystems theorytechnology convergencetelevision documentary • TUC • TwitterUkraineunderlying orderunstable • Westminster • White House • Zoe Williams

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
27 OCTOBER 2008

Interactive Timeline of Internet Memes

[Interactive timeline listing popular Internet phenomena]

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TAGS

chronology • Dipity • evolutionfadfameinteractiveInternetInternet memememememe cultureRichard Dawkinstimelinetrend

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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