Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Hyper normalisation

Been reading Dominic Sandbrook, and thinking about Adam Curtis.
And what has dawned on me is simple.  The contrast between
these two historians is epic.  They both make strange connections,
how the mood created something, or vice versa.
Curtis paints a grim trajectory, one where evil has origins in this and that,
and is coming to now overwhelm everything.  
Reminds me of a Jesus quote - that this is nothing new:

"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet". (Matthew 24:6)
(Unlikely that Curtis is a christian). 

Curtis's picture is one way of looking over the past, a particular perspective which is horrific. 
If you look for those things, you will have plenty.  Suffering and death exists, it is not 'wrong',
it is the condition on the earth, of life and existence. 
(Revelation says man is 'the beast' meaning he has knowledge and can create more suffering than ordinary nature)

The trouble with His view and others like it, is that it revels in these misdeeds
and errors, in 'misery porn'  which carries the bitter tinge of nihilism; there is an element
of cynicism which is something I recognize, because I have wallowed there too.  It excuses our own failures.

On the contrary, Sandbook looks at history culturally, like Kenneth Clarke,
and finds much that is positive to admire. 
It is a trope of the left (Moore, Chomsky, Geldof) to look back only at war and strife and the suffering of others, rather than the achievements of beauty that also exist, that men too have built.  Curtis only accepts and accentuates whats
gone wrong, not affirming any good.  While Roger Scruton explores what he thinks is morally awry today by examining the good things from the past - cathedrals, institutions, ethics, religion, and sees much that we can learn.   It seems as though Curtis only sees the past as entirely execrable, full of bad turns, all fallacious good intentions gone bad.

Devil's advocation:  

What is supposedly admirable is that his films compose very succinctly, and poetically 
a nightmare that drips from the news everyday, and blasts it back as a collage which overloads the emotions; which thus draws one to think just what I have thought above, as I tuck into this warm glass of Burgundian Pinot.

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