I’ve been intrigued by the flurry of activity and comment spurred by Ben Woodham’s Adam Curtis parody that has been passed around the social-sphere this week. Some of it smacks of anti-intellectualism which worries me. Maybe its the fact “All watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace” directly assaulted the foundation of those values often held by ‘youth’ that caused this Adam Curtis ‘hating’. Maybe it was the fact that 1.4m (more than just Guardian readers) watched the 1st episode. Maybe its just that British thing we do which is to knock people down as soon as they become successful.
My view is that ‘Machines…’ wasn’t the best Curtis series but at least he is striving to deliver something which is better than 99.9% of TV that is currently on air. It is brave TV and brave mainstream TV at that. And where else on TV can you find programming which deals with the themes that Curtis deals with?
So, the parody is vaguely amusing but is a bit “aren’t I clever” for my liking.
There is some vague lineage here with Simon Reynolds latest book Retromania and his musings on how we may well have run out of culture - recombining, remixing and parodying all that is in existence rather than striving for something new. Its simply EASIER than the uncomfortable path of creativity.
Its an easy parody then. For those jumping the bandwagon of Adam Curtis hate I say use it as inspiration to write or record something intellectually interesting. Take the work and deliver something better.
As much as I’d like BBC2 to contain programming featuring only Stewart Lee, Adam Curtis, Mark Fisher, Simon Reynolds, David Lynch, The Wire and Slavoj Zizek I’m just going to have to wait I think. As it is I’ll be waiting for the next Adam Curtis series with the same interest as his last few knowing his arguments may not always be perfect but at the least he provokes some interest and inspiration.