Brooker gives both barrels

It doesn’t appear to be on Youtube yet, but last night’s episode of Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe was superb: Brooker gave TV news both barrels over the McCann case, and Power of Nightmares director Adam Curtis nailed news programmes’ fascination with user-generated content.

18 thoughts on “Brooker gives both barrels

  1. Squander Two says:

    > Power of Nightmares director Adam Curtis nailed news programmes’ fascination with user-generated content.

    So are we to take it that regurgitating paranoid conspiracy theories off of the Web isn’t user-generated content, then? Curtis reckons he came up with that shite himself?

  2. Alex says:

    Joe, have you read ‘Al Qaeda’ by Jason Burke? It’s a very very detailed view of the whole bin Laden situation, and formed a primary source for ‘The Power Of Nightmares’. I don’t think it’s ‘paranoid conspiracy theories’ at all.

    Still, feel free to belittle me for bothering to read up on these things and not agreeing with you.

  3. Squander Two says:

    I read up on these things too. It was very easy: I simply read the news on July the 7th 2005. Turned out that the Government hadn’t been making it all up to keep the public frightened after all.

  4. Alex says:

    That’s not what either Burke or ‘The Power of Nightmares’ said, as you’d know if you’d watched/read.

    Al Qaeda as a group capable of doing anything of note ceased to exist several years ago. What we have now is far more dangerous – Al Qaeda *inspired* individuals and small groups, impossible to track down or predict with any accuracy and with no ‘central control’. Still, it’s better to have the public believe in a ‘bogey man’ who can be defeated, than for Governments to admit that their actions just made everything a whole lot worse.

    Whenever you see the news reporting an ‘Al Qaeda’ attack, you’re really hearing about an Islamist group without any links whatsoever to bin Laden.

    That’s the truth of it Joe, not some ‘paranoid conspiracy theories’, but not some SuperTerrorist who can reach into your chest from anywhere on Earth and stop your heart either.

  5. Tony Kiernan says:

    I like Avril Lavigne.

    Personally, I thought Brooker himself was more bang-on about the user generated stuff. Curtis was tying it in with his argument that news reporting was dead. A case, that although was an interesting premise, was strangely undermined by the weird soundbite-y manner in which he presented it. Or, was that the point? Better than average edition of the programme, though.

    Did anyone actually watch the Power Of Nightmares? I’m 100% certain that I downloaded it and watched it. Can’t remember a thing about it. Probably had a hangover and fell asleep.

    I’m not certain about Brooker, really. I don’t find him as funny as I think the production folk at BBC4 do. He’s very much a part of that which he seeks to destroy, IMO. It just goes to show how dull TV is that a media type making cheap fart gags about Richard Whitely is one of the most edgy things on. Which would, ironically, make for an interesting bit in his show.

  6. Alex says:

    >Did anyone actually watch the Power Of Nightmares?

    Sure did, it’s on my iPod alongside ‘The Root of All Evil?’. ‘Enemies of Reason’, ‘The God Who Wasn’t There’ and a whole load of stuff about evolution by people like Shermer, Dennett and Miller.

    It’s worth rewatching.

  7. Squander Two says:

    I’m not exactly an Avril Lavigne fan, but I don’t understand this visceral hatred so many people seem to have for her.

    I’d much rather hunt down and kill the CBeebies presenter who sings the “And now it’s time to say goodnight” song. It’s his eyebrows, damnit! Gary, you will know about this sort of horror all too soon.

  8. Gary says:

    I’d just seen her “girlfriend” video – the pro-bullying one. She’s supremely annoying.

    Gary, you will know about this sort of horror all too soon.

    Not at this rate I won’t :)

  9. Gary says:

    don’t find him as funny as I think the production folk at BBC4 do.

    Not as funny as he used to be, inevitably. But when he’s on form he’s still a whole lot funnier than most.

    Can’t remember a thing about it.

    I’ve got a vague recollection of it. Basically some sensible stuff about realpolitik, but it went a bit tinfoil hat towards the end. Or something.

  10. Alex says:

    >but it went a bit tinfoil hat towards the end. Or something.

    I’ve watched it in the last few months, I certainly don’t recall anything that seemed particularly ‘mentalist’ (unlike Loose Change) – from what I recall it lays out the history of Islamism, going back to Qutb, and finishes by pointing out that (at the time of broadcast) not a single ‘Al Qaeda’ group arrested in the US had turned out to be involved with the organisation.

    Burke’s book is informative, though extremely dry and somewhat heavy going.

  11. Squander Two says:

    > (unlike Loose Change)

    Course, it turns out Loose Change was a parody, which makes the continuing praise for it from some quarters, long after the hoax has been admitted, all the more amusing. And telling. A quick Google reveals quite a lot of people saying “Yeah, it was a hoax, but it was still true.” Brilliant.

  12. Alex says:

    >Course, it turns out Loose Change was a parody

    Which doesn’t do anything to indicate ‘The Power of Nightmares’ is.

  13. Squander Two says:

    Alex, the host of this site asked us to stop arguing. So I did.

    My comment about Loose Change, hard as this may be to believe, wasn’t intended as a criticism of you.

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