By Lambert Strether of Corrente.
Here’s a little something to rouse you from your post-Thanksgiving torpor; the first part of a three-part 2004 series by Adam Curtis called “The Power of Nightmares.” The title seems strangely a propos, what? Here’s the WikiPedia summary:
The film compares the rise of the neoconservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, drawing comparisons between their origins, and remarking on similarities between the two groups. More controversially, it argues that radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organisation, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth, or noble lie, perpetuated by leaders of many countries—and particularly neoconservatives in the U.S.—in a renewed attempt to unite and inspire their people after the ultimate failure of more utopian ideas.
(The Wikipedia article also includes detailed summaries of each part.)
And here it is:
The Power of Nightmares 1: The Rise of the… by GalaVentura
I’m not going to attempt to tease out any systematic implications from listening to the series right now, but well worth the listen it is. So many old friends from back in 2003, when those whackjobs in the Bush administration were only starting to lose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! Random thoughts:
1) Leo Strauss is a horrible human being, who has a lot to answer for.
2) Douglas Feith really is “the f2cking stupidest guy on the face of the Earth.”
3) The neocons make Henry Kissinger look like a Boy Scout.
4) Best quote: “The Soviets had developed systems that were so sophisticated that they were undetectable.”
5) Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Islamic theorist counterpoised by Curtis to Strauss, sees the United States “as obsessed with materialism, violence, and sexual pleasures.” What a nut job! To be fair, if the Egyptian government hadn’t tortured him, Qutb might never have come up with the Jahiliyyah concept, which, at least as I hear Curtis tell it, means that you’re so corrupt that you can’t even know you’re corrupt.
Nightmares is mostly archive footage plus a soundtrack, with Curtis narrating. So if you want to listen to it with your morning coffee, the way one listened to NPR before it became evident how horrid NPR is, that will work; you don’t have to sit in front of the screen.