Oct 11, 2023Liked by Yasha Levine

I saw "All watched over by machines of loving grace" after reading about it in Surveillance Valley.

I was actually quite blown away by the critique of 60s counterculture and computers and the connections between them through Stewart Brand and others.

Now, I recently started re-seeing it and was struck by the absolute certainty with which Curtis states that this is wrong, this is right, etc. Like you comment in the podcast - it often works well, but also gets a bit too much, especially since many experts would presumably be less categorical.

Also, a lot of the ground he covers is covered by Fred Turner, whom he has in the show, but doesn't credit with providing a lot of the material - once again a parallel to what you're talking about. But then, if someone digs into it, they'll soon discover Turner's book, so he can't exactly be accused of taking credit himself either. Rather, this presentation is part of his storytelling technique. And it really works, very often.

I started watching "Get out of my mind" and also find it more or less unwatchable.

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an interesting discussion and plenty of ideas. I haven't seen the A Curtis series yet. Also I like the nuance, a bit of balance there. eg. criticism of Curtis a bit stereotyped view of Russia.

It would be good if you listed a couple of people you mentioned who sound interesting. eg Stuart Ewen. my old babyboomer perspective.

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Mar 19, 2021Liked by Yasha Levine

Come here from moderate rebels. Loved this episode. I love Adam Curtis. Recommend him to all my friends and I've seen all his docs. A friend of mine pointed out that his docs do come off as anti soviet and anti governments as a whole and fall into a pitfall of thinking every gov is bad and none are doing anything right or would he ever highlight anything positive of the soivet union. Appreciate all the sources you recommended looking forward to reading Stuart Ewen.

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Feb 19, 2021Liked by Yasha Levine

Haven't had time to do much listening/reading in part because we had no power or heat in sub 10 degree weather for the better part of the last 72 hours, but I will give this a listen when I have a chance. Hypernormalisation was always a conundrum to me. I liked it and thought it shed a different light on the events of the past ____ years, but it never quite gelled into a cohesive game changing message for me. I'm not familiar with any of his other work, but plan to try catching up on that as well.

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Interesting stuff, especially where Evgenia mentions around the 41 minute mark:

"...how [Curtis] treats Russian material...and that makes you think if that is what he does to stuff I know, what does he do to stuff I know very little about?..."

That comment reminded me of a piece I stumbled upon a while back called "Why Speculate" by Michael Chrichton, where he discusses what he calls an amnesia effect:

"...Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows:

You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia..."

Source: https://www.docdroid.net/4wgVecr/why-speculate-michael-crichton-pdf#page=2

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You two have a marvelous rapport! I can only wish you the best, be safe, be well.

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Feb 1, 2023·edited Feb 1, 2023

...particularly compelled by the context you give on Pomeretsev (sp?) and the implicit extension that our reception of him is only indicative of how utterly propagandized WE in the US have become over the last century . Yeah. Can't get this perspective anywhere else..

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OK, so I've made it through about 3 episodes so far, skipped through your podcast, and I can see where you are coming from. Style has started to overshadow substance in Curtis' productions even though there IS substance to them. As of this point I'm indulging simply for entertainment purposes (I've gotten a lot of new - to me - music from his programs; Googling for the songs and artists can take a whole day in some cases). But yeah, the style has lost its potency - at least to those of us who are familiar with the content and previous Curtis works.

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By the way, talking of Peter Pomerantsev's book, I took a tip from one of your previous podcasts and got hold of Victor Pelevin's Babylon (UK version).

It certainly gives a taste of those times!!:

"He took a slim case out of his pocket, opened it and held it out to Tatarsky. It contained a heavy watch that was almost beautiful in a repulsive kind of way, made of gold and steel.

It's a Rolex Oyster. Careful, you'll chip off the gold plate; it's a fake. I only take it out on business. When you're talking with the client, flash it around a bit, you know. It helps..."

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