The Thesis is Specious, but you know you wanna see this
review of “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”
Adam Curtis has created a beguiling new video collage “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”. In the first episode of this series he continues his opus of representing recent history in a fashion which isolates and magnifies with a varying range of acuity.
He turns sales pitches into philosophies and places little people on precious plinths they hardly deserve in relation to their accomplishments. This can create the sensation of learning in the viewer, when what they take away, while conversational, is a tattered tee shirt of knowledge. As is often the case in critique and observation, he suffers from the same disease that he is reporting on. By presenting a narrow view on important subject, failure of expression and hubris are constant traps. There is no California Ideology that ever functioned like a real ideology, South East Asia was not the only notable greed bubble of the late nineties, controlling the USA is not why China decided on keeping its currency low, Hermosillo’s essay, just one of many.
David Beers wrote a clarifying book called Blue Sky Dream, which if Curtis had decided to adapt for television it would have provided insight in the development of computers and the ideologies prevalent in that industry. Rather he sweeps and envelopes time and action with a phrase, edit and song. “Watched Over…” pleases and misses the mark on computers, social control and freedom.