Awesome Online Documentary Series

This recommendation is an antidote to the reductive good vs bad approach to news reporting and culture generally. Adam Curtis is an incredible documentary maker who has made a number of fantastic documentaries for the BBC such as The Century of the Self and All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace .

His documentaries make extensive use of archive footage which is then weaved together into a coherent story. On his blog he continues this approach but working in both text and video and for a more committed audience he is able to go into more detail on items for which there is not video, and also show videos which perhaps wouldn’t make it into a TV documentary.

The result is a fascinating series of long-form articles which go deep into particular stories. The series on Afghanistan and Congo are absolutely engrossing. I really like the contrast you get from looking at old news reports of an event, and comparing to current reporting: it’s a great reminder of the limitations of the media and that we are always looking at events through a narrow, blurred lens.

Separate to the quality of his articles, I have great sympathy with the world view he expresses and his dismay with the cult of TINA or (There Is No Alternative). I don’t believe that how we organise our society is optimal (no matter what you are optimising for) but we seemed to have stopped looking for alternatives and accepted as fundamental the primacy of the market. There must be alternatives, given the failings of our current system. Opposition parties need to be providing big ideas to deal with severe and rapid changes that are occuring, not proposing to do more of what they did last time they were in power.

The link is below, I highly recommend spending some quality time there: