Adam Curtis Quotes That Kind of Blew My Mind
Adam Curtis is the British documentarian I'm obsessed with ("Hypernormalisation," "The Century of Self"). Here are some recent quotes from him that really struck me.
- •"On a social-media network, it’s very much like being in a heroin bubble. As a radical artist in the 1970s, you used to go and take heroin and wander through the chaos and the collapsing Lower East Side, and you felt safe. That’s very like now. You know you aren’t safe, but you feel safe because everyone is like you."
- •"But you don’t have to take heroin, so it’s brilliant. You don’t get addicted, or maybe you do. Mostly you do.”
- •"The utopia they hold out is a world where machines make everything for you and you have endless leisure time, you become creative and everyone’s happy. And the only thing is, actually, everyone’s incredibly unhappy because they haven’t got anything to do. What we call our jobs today are actually fake jobs."
- •"We sit in our offices in front of our screens in order to get the money to go out and buy stuff. Our job is really to go shopping. And the rest of the time, we sit in our offices doing complicated managerial things, and when we’re not, we’re actually watching the internet. The internet is there to keep you happy during your fake job.”
- •"[Donald Trump] is a hate-bot. You go, ‘I’m angry,’ and he goes, ‘I’m angry, too!’ And nothing changes. But the system likes it: Angry people click more.”
- •"I’m trying to abstract myself from the frightened-bunny view of Donald Trump. It’s the end of something — that’s what I would think — and if it’s the end of something, then it’s about time we started inventing something new.”
- •"There is no argument that modern consumerism was rescued by the Me Generation. Because it suddenly allowed you to sell lots and lots of different things to lots of people who wanted to express themselves in different ways. Which means that the idea of self-expression becomes absolutely central to the power of modern capitalism."
- •"It’s what drives it… However radical your message is, and however powerful what you’re saying is, the fact that you’re doing it through self-expression means that actually, really, what you’re doing is feeding the underlying ideology of modern consumer capitalism. Because it depends on the whole idea that you’re a self-expressive individual."
- •"I mean, someone once said to me that the most radical thing you can do these days is just not be self-expressive. And one person said the most radical thing you could do is come out of your house one morning, turn right, walk across Europe on a line you’ve drawn across a map to Aleppo, get there, and don’t tell anyone."
- •"And don’t write a book about it. And don’t tweet it. Don’t tell anyone."