"Adam Curtis believed that 200,000 Guardian readers watching BBC2 could change the world..."

A new video brilliantly demolishes the documentary maker's method.

 

I've never been a fan of the work of Adam Curtis, whose faux-brow documentaries rely on image and music to state their case rather than rational argument. If one were to read the scripts of, say, his 2004 series The Power of Nightmares, one would realise that Curtis's arguments are disturbingly thin, and are only taken seriously by naive young leftwingers who -- being largely ignorant of postwar history -- are eager to believe that the West is just some sinister right-wing construction because it supports their Weltanschauung. Curtis is essentially a conspiracy theorist with pzazz, and, as Max Steuer pointed out in Prospect a few years back, he displays the requisite paranoia. Whether you like or loath his work, I do urge you to watch this video by Ben Woodhams, which, in three minutes, brilliantly demolishes Curtis's method.

 

Guy Walters is a historian and journalist. He is currently working on his tenth book, a new history of the Great Escape, and is also studying for a PhD at Newcastle University. His website can be found here