A century of mass democracy, or why it’s not just Murdoch
Adam Curtis’ The Century of the Self: hard to believe a documentary like this is widely available in its entirety, let alone that it was financed to begin with. And it is hard to overstate the techniques of mass democracy as they collude with the desires of the individual, and rather than offering a hodgepodge of snapshots or lessons, this film maintains a coherent, lucid historical argument (over the span of four hours) that reveals a disturbing enactment of crowd psychology in advertising, the political stage, and all the lines that cross between them. It demystifies one of the most awesome formations of our time—business taking over government needs and government appropriating non-governmental structure and strategy—that points to why the current News of the World raging ‘scandal’ is not exactly unique or flatly scandalous. As @ShunraCat notes, Rebekah Brooks’ ‘PR guru’ was none other than Matthew Freud, the great grand-nephew of Edward Bernays, the ‘father’ of public relations whose personal and professional story frames the film.