Bittersweet

~ ~ ~ irony
Symphony

At the outset of the 2015 BBC documentary Bitter Lake, Adam Curtis suggests that,


We live in a world where nothing makes any sense and those in power tell stories to help us make sense of the complexity of reality, but those stories are increasingly unconvincing.

The contention argued in Bitter Lake is that Western politicians have manufactured a simplified story about militant Islam into a “good” vs. “evil” argument. This argument, which is informed by and a reaction to Western society’s increasing chaos and disorder, is neither really understood by the governments and think-tanks that have manufactured it or the people (the citizenries) to which it is being peddled.

📹 Bitter Lake (2015)


Bidoonism’s Adam Curtis collection


Post Script

1.   Eric Hobsbawm
Hobsbawm focused on the rise of industrial capitalism, socialism and nationalism. His best-known work is his trilogy about what he called the “long 19th century” (The Age of Revolution: Europe 1789–1848, The Age of Capital: 1848–1875 and The Age of Empire: 1875–1914). Read on …

2.   Edward Saïd
Saïd focused on the history and nature of Western attitudes towards the East, and contends that “orientalism” is a powerful European ideological creation that is the key source of the inaccuracy in cultural representations that form the foundations of Western thought and perception of the Eastern world {نحن نعيش ، نموت}. Read on …

3.   Horses for courses 🐎
Proverb • British
— Different people are suited to different things.

4.   Bidoonism  ❱  Politics &c.  ❱❱  History
According to me, “history’s basically histrionics… because, to attract attention, we inevitably state it melodramatically. Read on …

The Trap…

what’s happened to our dreams of freedom?

The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom is a 2007 BBC documentary series directed and produced by Adam Curtis (think: Hypernormalisation). It consists of three one-hour episodes which explore the concept and definition of freedom. In short, Curtis argues that today’s idea of freedom is based on a simplistic model of human beings as self-seeking, almost robotic, creatures.

Episodes

01. — “F**k You Buddy.”
In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought.
📹  watch episode 1

02. — “The Lonely Robot.”
The second episode underscores the first but develops the theme that the drugs such as Prozac — Happy Pills — are being used to normalise behaviour and make us behave more predictably… more like machines.
📹  watch episode 2

03. — “We Will Force You To Be Free.”
The final episode focuses on the concepts of positive and negative liberty that were introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin.* Curtis explains how negative liberty might be defined as freedom from coercion, and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one’s potential.
📹  watch episode 3


Bidoonism’s Adam Curtis collection:
📹 Adam Curtis documentaries


P.S.

* “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” This ancient Greek aphorism, preserved in a fragment from the poet Archilochus, describes a thesis put forward by Isaiah Berlin regarding the philosophy of history. Although there have been many interpretations of the aphorism, Berlin uses it to mark a fundamental distinction between human beings who are fascinated by the infinite variety of things and those who relate everything to a central, all-embracing system. Berlin’s extraordinary essay offers profound insights about Tolstoy, historical understanding, and human psychology.


Isaiah Berlin’s essay:
📙 The Hedgehog and the Fox

According to Berlin, humans can be divided into two categories: hedgehogs, who view the world through the lens of a single defining idea (he cites: Plato, Dante, Hegel, Nietzsche and Proust), and foxes, who draw on a wide variety of experiences and for whom the world cannot be summed up into a single idea (he cites: Aristotle, Erasmus, Shakespeare, and Joyce).

The American Dream
“The American Dream”
— Gabriel H. Sanchez (BuzzFeed, 2018).
The American Dream
“The American Dream”
— Gabriel H. Sanchez (BuzzFeed, 2018).

English dogs

Quite why the British love dogs so much I dunno, maybe it’s cos they like to boss people around — dear reader I joke! I’m a proppa anglophile. Dogging is one thing (I’ll let you look up this pastime yourself) but, what’s it mean to be called a “poodle” or a “lapdog”?

Private Eye
Private Eye — subtext: The U.K.’s Prime Minister is a ‘control freak,’ he only appoints Ministers who will agree with whatever he does or says.

Poodle
[insult]
In politics, “poodle” is an insult used to describe a politician who obediently or passively follows the lead of others. It is considered to be equivalent to lackey. Usage of the term ‘poodle’ is thought to relate to the passive and obedient nature of this breed of dog.

Lapdog
[insult]
A weak person who is controlled by someone else.

Here’s one more but it’s Chinese in origin:

Running dog
[insult]
This is a pejorative term for a person who unquestioningly helps more powerful people. It is like being called a ‘yes-man’ or a ‘lackey.’ Usage of the term ‘running dog’ is thought to relate to the tendency of dogs to ‘blindly’ follow after humans in the hope of receiving food or a favour of some kind (e.g., shelter or a pat on the back).


FOOTNOTES

More Private Eye covers etc.

Political satire
Subtext: The U.K.’s PM is being pulled in two different directions.

This monkey’s gone…

⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚   /   ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚ ⚚

Pompeii: Casa dei Vettii
“A painting on a Pompeii wall”
by my writing’s on the rocks; i mean to say, gone to the dastardly dogs.
Wanna grow up to be
Be a debaser
Debaser

Souls on the Banks of the Acheron (depicting Hermes in the underworld) by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1898).
“Souls on the Banks of the Acheron”
by Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl (1898).

The painting, “Souls on the Banks of the Acheron,” depicts Hermes in the underworld. Take a close look at the young boy, Adolf Hirémy-Hirschl really depicts the relinquishment of hope in that poor lad’s expression.


…to heaven

Ham Star ⭐️
Ham ⭐️ , ☀️ of Noah

Hats off to Bob

Britain’s Bob Weighton becomes oldest man in the world.

Bob Weighton
Bob was born in 1908.

Reacting to the news, Bob, a former teacher who still lives in his own flat, said:


Well, I don’t really feel satisfied, because it means someone else has died. I just accept it as a fact, it’s not something I ever intended, wanted or worked for, but it’s just one of those facts of life. You might find it amazing, but it’s just one of those things.