And journalism – that used to tell a grand, unfurling narrative – now also just relays disjointed and often wildly contradictory fragments of information.
Events come and go like waves of a fever. We – and the journalists – live in a state of continual delirium, constantly waiting for the next news event to loom out of the fog – and then disappear again, unexplained.
And the formats – in news and documentaries – have become so rigid and repetitive that the audiences never really look at them.
But it wasn’t just those in power. The film shows how this strange world was built by all of us. We all went along with it because the simplicity was reassuring. And that included the left and the radicals who thought they were attacking the system. The film reveals how they too retreated into this make-believe world – which is why their opposition today has no effect, and nothing ever changes.
HyperNormalisation. Adam Curtis’ new film on BBC iPlayer, 16th October 2016.
It helps to envision our political spectrum not as a line but as a circle. At one point in that circle, the alt-right and the progressive left meet and become of a piece. Alt-righters may disclaim this fact, but it is clear to anyone willing to sift through the rhetoric to uncover the kernel assumptions beneath.
What the overly sensitive, earnest and censorious Left and the upstart, troublemaking Alt-Right both have in common is a propensity to simply resort to name calling and demonisation at the expense of actual debate. Of course they are all perfectly free to do that but it hardly instils faith in either point of view if free speech equals screaming and pointing at each other from their respective battlements.
Perhaps acknowledgement from both sides that pigeonholing into ideological camps is less than useful when trying to speak and listen freely and a recognition that the minority extreme views from both sides are non-representative of the majority. As always the everyday reality is never black and white but grey and nuanced and lies somewhere in the middle – much to the chagrin the headline grabbing name-callers and absolutists on both sides.