They’ve all got it in for me! The late, great Kenneth Williams’ most remembered line popped to mind when I began to type this wee blog. This weekend it was my birthday. I am a few – very few – years away from qualifying for my meagre state pension and life has been, shall we say ‘variable’. I’ve had a few laughs, I’ve loved and lost, I’ve made and spent a bit of money, but the one thing I have learned is that nobody – nobody – knows the future.
Not even Elon Musk who is, I fear, going to be responsible for a lot of people losing their shirts as they follow his wild lead. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, the next day, the next year; yet everybody thinks they know what happened before, or what is happening now. But do they?? This past year has given far too many people, ill-equipped to exercise such analysis, far too much time to do just that. And while it is only human to imagine the universe is out to get you, it really isn’t.
So how did I spend my birthday weekend? Eight hours of it, thereabouts, was given over to watching the whole of the new Adam Curtis documentary “Can’t get you out of my head – an emotional history of the modern world”. Having followed a link in a tweet I sat there, spellbound for the entire day. I couldn’t look away. My mood went from “Oh, my god, just another nutjob” to “Wow, I never realised that!” I found myself swaying in the breeze, my stomach lurching as I thought I’d fallen for propaganda then feeling relief that I had been right all along.
And it made me realise something; actually, it made me solidify theses I have had all along, as the best confirmation bias always does. There are conspiracies, of course there are, but conspiracy theories are invariably the result of incomplete facts, inadequate comprehension and, most of all, prejudice. And by prejudice I mean, literally, pre-judging the outcome. Thus, if you believe there is a new world order which wants to shut down economies, almost nothing will persuade you otherwise, especially arguments to persuade you otherwise.
I think I can guess where the documentary maker stands on Brexit, Trump, politics in general, but I wouldn’t bet my wad on it. The series skilfully mixes cold, hard fact, with some difficult to stomach truths and shows how little it can take to spread a rumour of foul deeds and secret plots. Eventually though, if you are honest and pay attention you come out of it realising that you were right all long.
Or that I was, and it’s all of you lot who are wrong. Or maybe that’s is how Curtis wants you to think… or not? I don’t, however, believe his intent was to change minds but rather to get you to open them a little wider. An unfeasibly large butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon rain forest and three weeks later floods drive people out of their homes in Somerset. Coincidence? What do you think?