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30 JANUARY 2015

Bitter Lake by Adam Curtis: how the West fooled itself

"My aim is to try to get people to look at those fragments of recorded moments from Afghanistan in a new and fresh way. I do feel that the way many factual programmes on TV are edited and constructed has become so rigid and formulaic – that the audiences don't really look at them any more. The template is so familiar.

I am using these techniques to both amplify and express the wider argument of Bitter Lake. It is that those in power in our society have so simplified the stories they tell themselves, and us, about the world that they have in effect lost touch with reality. That they have reduced the world to an almost childlike vision of a battle between good and evil.

This was the story that those who invaded Afghanistan carried with them and tried to impose there – and as a result they really could not see what was staring them in the face: a complex society where different groups had been involved in a bloody civil war for over 30 years. A world where no one was simply good or bad. But those in charge ignored all that – and out of it came a military and political disaster.

But the film also tries to show why Western politicians have so simplified the world. Because Afghanistan's recent past is also a key that unlocks an epic hidden history of the postwar world."

(Adam Curtis, 24 January 2015, The Telegraph)

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TAGS

1945 • 1970s America • 1973Adam CurtisAfghanistanArab • BBC iPlayer-only • Bedouin • Bitter Lake (2015) • bitter rivalries • caliphate • Come Down To Us (Burial 2013) • complex problems • deal • destabilised politics • documentarydocumentary film • dreamlike documentary style • drone • epic moment • footageFranklin D. Roosevelt • generations to come • global capitalismglobal politics • good versus evil • grand hypothesis • grand political dream • Helmand • ideology • imagined past • Islamic fundamentalism • Islamism • Kabul • King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia • Malcolm Tucker • Margaret ThatcherMiddle Eastmilitary intervention • Pashtun • Perry Mason • Phil Goodwin • Pushtun • recorded moments • Ronald ReaganSaudi Arabia • simplified stories • Solaris (1972) • Suez Canal • Wahhabi Islam • Wahhabism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 JANUARY 2012

Does electronic literature have a future?

"Does electronic literature have a future? Is Google the end of the World? What is the role of digital poetics in global politics? These issues and more are discussed with J. R. Carpenter, John Cayley, Maria Mencia, Scott Rettberg, Alexandra Saemmer, Roberto Simanowski, and Jaka Železnikar."

A video–essay by Talan Memmott and David Prater, September 2011 at the ELMCIP Electronic Literature and New Media Art Seminar in Ljubljana Slovenia.

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TAGS

2011 • Alexandra Saemmer • Blekinge Institute of Technology • bookcollaborative research projectconvergencecreative researchcreativity and innovationdigital culture • digital poetics • distributed communication environment • Edinburgh College of Art • electronic literature • Electronic Literature and New Media • electronic literature community • ELMCIP • Facebookglobal politicsglobalisationGoogle Inc • HERA • Humanities in the European Research Area • innovation in practice • J. R. Carpenter • Jaka Zeleznikar • John Cayley • JRPliterature • Maria Mencia • network-based creative community • networked creativity • New Media Scotland • publishingreadingreading experienceresearch and practice • Roberto Simanowski • Scott Rettberg • Sloveniatactile experience • Talan Memmott • the future of the booktranscultural • transnational • University College Falmouth • University of Amsterdam • University of Bergen • University of Jyvaskyla • University of Ljubljana • video essay

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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