"The documentary is inspired by the unpredictable events of recent times – from the rise of Donald Trump to Brexit, the war in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It seeks to explain both why these chaotic events are happening, and why we and our leaders can't understand them. Curtis's theory is that Westerners - politicians, journalists, experts and members of the public alike - have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all-encompassing, we accept it as normal.
HyperNormalisation explores this hollow world by looking back at 40 years of events, and profiling a diverse cast of characters such as: the Assad dynasty, Donald Trump, Henry Kissinger, Patti Smith, the early performance artists in New York, President Putin, intelligent machines, Japanese gangsters and suicide bombers."
(Holly Barrett, 22nd September 2016, Royal Television Society)
Tony D. Sampson (2012). "Virality. Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks. University of Minnesota Press.
"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)
"BILL MOYERS: But this intrigues me because you've set out over these years to educate young girls primarily. I mean, you do have some boys in your schools, but primarily your goal is to educate young girls. And given the fact that the Afghani and Pakistani societies are so male dominated, that men run the families, they run the government, they run the villages, they run the Taliban, why focus on girls instead of the men who are going to, in that culture, grow up and run things?
GREG MORTENSON: Well, it's obviously the boys need education also. But as a child in Africa, I learned a proverb. And it says, 'If we educate a boy, we educate an individual. But if we can educate a girl, we educate a community.' And what that means is when girls grow up, become a mother, they are the ones who promote the value of education in the community. The education of girls has very powerful impacts in a society. Number one, the infant mortality's reduced. Number two, the population is reduced. The third thing is the quality of health improves. And, from my own observation, when girls learn how to read and write, they often teach their mother how to read and write. Boys, we don't seem to do that as much. They also, you'll see people, kids coming out for the marketplace, have meat or vegetables wrapped in newspaper. And then you'll see the mother very carefully unfolding a newspaper and ask her daughter to read the news to her. And it's the first time that woman is able to get information of what's going on in the outside world around––very powerful to see that. And another compelling reason is when women are educated, they're not as likely to condone or encourage their son to get into violence or into terrorism. In fact, culturally when someone goes on jihad, they should get permission from their mother first. And if they don't, it's very shameful or disgraceful. So when women are educated, as I mentioned, they are less likely to encourage their son to get into violence. And I've seen that happen, Bill, over the last decade in rural areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan. I mean, I could go on all day about this, but educating girls is very powerful."
(Bill Moyers Journal, 15 January 2010, PBS)
"With 'the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa,' to borrow Anthony Giddens' description of globalisation (Giddens, 1990), even localised policy matters increasingly involve issues of global concern. Transnational communities of knowledge elites, or epistemic communities, have emerged to deal with this new spatial pattern of social relations (Stone, 2001). These communities shape how information becomes knowledge, and facilitate the diffusion of that knowledge from the local to the global level, which then influences international policymaking. The dissemination of knowledge takes place through many different channels, including direct contact with decision–makers, consultation during policy meetings, publications in academic journals, participation in ad hoc working groups and conferences, and providing expertise to various media outlets.
The direction of this knowledge's movement is crucial: partly because of the lack of a global government and partly because of increased economic and social integration resulting from globalisation, (Ibid, p. 116.) policy change in the international arena is primarily a bottom–up process (Reinicke, 1999). Thus issues such as the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (Krause, 1998), anti–personnel landmines (Price, 1998), and the transfer of hazardous waste from the developed to developing world – all problems formerly overlooked or ignored by global governance regimes and institutions – are shifted from the local to global agenda with the help of epistemic communities. Since 'control over knowledge and information is an important dimension of power' that can 'lead to new patterns of behaviour,' (Haas, 1992) outlining what exactly epistemic communities are is particularly important.
An epistemic community is a loosely connected network of experts informally bound by a shared belief in the cause of a particular problem and the correct approach to solving it (Ibid, p. 3.). Members of such a community do not necessarily come from a single discipline; in fact, with crossdisciplinary issues such as climate change, terrorism, or, as will be seen below, the hazardous waste trade, it is beneficial for epistemic community members to be drawn from different areas of expertise. For example, in his study of the role of epistemic communities in the creation of the Mediterranean Action Plan, Peter Haas identified United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) officials, members of powerful agencies such as the World Health Organisation, regional government officials, ecologists and marine scientists as participating in the Plan's regional development and implementation (Haas, 1989). Haas attributes the success of the Plan to the involvement of such a wide array of participants.
Epistemic communities are distinct from other networks like interest groups and global policy advocates, which can also play important roles in shaping international public policy. Epistemic communities, as the name implies, are concerned with an empirical production of knowledge that relies on accepted notions of validity – brought about through 'debate, retesting and peer review' – to achieve a consensual perspective on social and physical phenomena (Dunlop, 2000). The knowledge produced by epistemic communities is highly appealing to policymakers because it is perceived to be more scientific and rational than information provided by groups with ideological or political biases. Epistemic communities enjoy a perception of legitimacy that networks founded on ideological beliefs – like interest groups – find difficult to achieve. Epistemic communities' input into the policy process is therefore seen as apolitical and value–neutral, and important because rationality is seen as a virtue in policymaking".
A. Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990), p. 64.
D. Stone, 'The Policy Research' Knowledge Elite and Global Policy Processes,' in Non–State Actors in
World Politics, ed. Daphne Josselin and William Wallace, p. 117 (London: Palgrave, 2001).
W. Reinicke, 'The Other World Wide Web: Global Public Policy Networks,' Foreign Policy vol. 117 (1999),
See: K. Krause, 'The Challenge of Small Arms and Light Weapons,' 3rd International Security Forum, Kongresshaus
Zurich, Switzerland, 1998, available online http://www.isn.ethz.ch/3isf/Online_Publications/WS5/WS_5D/Krause.htm (accessed 21 February 2007).
See: R. Price, 'Reversing the Gun Sights: Transnational Civil Society Target Land Mines,' International Organization
vol. 52 no. 3 (1998), pp. 613–644.
P. Haas, 'Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination,' International Organization vol. 46,
no. 1 (1992), pp. 2–3.
P. Haas, 'Do Regimes Matter? Epistemic Communities and Mediterranean Pollution Control,' International
Organization vol. 43, no. 3 (1989), pp. 384–385.
C. Dunlop, 'Epistemic Communities: A Reply to Toke,' Politics vol. 20, no. 3 (2000), p. 139.
T. J. Kallio, et al., 'Rationalizing Sustainable Development' – a Critical Treatise,' Sustainable Development
vol. 15 (2007), pp. 41–51.