HORIZON 30TH ANNIVERSARY THE FARSIDE. 23 MAY 1994 E.16
Amongst the many things which are claimed to be a misattributed quote that someone is supposed to have said, but it is claimed they never did say is that ” If you want to know who’s really in charge, then find out who you are not allowed to criticise. my favorite joke of this type is Talking world war 3 blues ” You can be in my dream if I can be in yours ” Bob Dylan said that.
And so to the question at hand.
The Film above was made in 1994 by my good friend David Malone, I just got off the phone with him in fact, In an interview I did with David when he was running for the leadership of the Uk green party he mentions this film and also another Icon Earth both of which almost saw him having his p.45 handed to him by Aunty Beeb, where he was a director and producer on the Horizon science program. I found copies of both, one on the Internet Archive and the other on a Russian video site neither are available in the collections of Horizon episodes widely available in my quest I downloaded a full torrent of every Horizon episode ever, and there were three episodes missing, The Far Side 30th anniversary, Icon Earth and The Human Laboratory. The Human Laboratory has evaded my efforts over the past five years to dig up a copy. Only one other film,which appeared on Yorkshire TV, has proved anything like as elusive as those three Horizon Episodes and that is Johnny Go home which I have managed to find a partial copy of.
The Farside is divided into 3 parts.
Part 1 1964-1974.
A decade of hope and faith that science should serve us all.
Part 2- 1974-1984
Supposedly a decade of skepticism and pessimism, but were we still willing to be led along by the experts.
Part 3. 1984-1994
The third decade saw new technology seemingly renewing the old 60’s promise of a better world for everyone–
Has our attitude to such promises changed.
Part 1 1964-1974.
Iain Banks Opens the discourse with a defense of science as secular religion offering a belief system which he compares to “A thinking persons songs of praise”.. Next Homi Bhaba attests to the narrative power of scientific progress and the film cuts to an episode of Horizon from 1968, Blackman White Science. The european tradition of rational enquiry confident in its belief that nothing is beyond analysis and explanation, the Developing world the episode tells us wants “Our” science and cuts to a Story telling teacher passing on an oral cultural tradition ” Which they are sure to remember”
The film then cuts back to the City of the future exhibit of general motors at the New York worlds fair and Arthur C Clarke tells us that there is one thing we can all be sure about the future” It will be fantastic!”
Tony Benn makes his first appearance scienće and knowledge replaces superstition Bhaba then adds that technology has Narrative power and science is represented as a narrative image with Banks interjecting with Science as a thrusting spectacle Phallic rockets projecting US democratic virility into the stars etc.
Appolo moon landings and Poetic progress are offered by Bhaba and Tony Benn tells of looking at the moon out of the window whilst watching the small step for man and a giant leap for mankind on the Television simultaneously he then adds amusingly,
” If they can do that, why can’t we have a decent bus service in Bristol?” followed by his Point, and the core Point of part one. Technology is one thing but its use presents political and moral choices. It is this last point that is the first strike against the film’s suitability for mass consumption.
Having taken the first perch upon the naughty step part one then seeks to scale even further into the bad books of Aunty Beeb’s, higher-ups.
Water wheels and agrarian scenes of developing world agriculture and then Ir8 rice and fabled trebling of yields. The world’s food problem is soluble by science all that is required is that the guidance of the experts is followed. All that is required is an acceptance of a younger generation of women that their mothers were bad mothers and that the generation of sons believe that their fathers were bad farmers. This faith in experts is all that would be required for the population explosion not to give way to inevitable poverty. The assumptions of scientific western belief systems and cultural superiority are projected onto the right sort of development in we know best scientific imperialism, necessary as an inoculation against the instincts of lazy natives. AT this point before the end of part one, we have run out of naughty steps and need to go in search of more substantial staircases if we are to get to the end of part 3.
Again Tony Benn leads the charge to the top of the naughty staircase he has a starring role in a 1969 Horizon episode Machines and People, which starts with spectacular footage of the newly minted aeronautical anglo french miracle machine, the supersonic Concorde. Benn then the Minister for technology in Harold Wilsons Labor government enthusiastically explains, that Technology is power and that existing systems of control are simply outdated, they amplify a political problem which is an expectation gap, and what is more due to technological progress it is no longer necessary for people to be poor, this is followed by After Appollo another 1969 Horizon episode with a B52 bomber laying waste to Vietnam.
At this point as Part, one closes it is apparent that we will need an Appollo rocket to ascend the dizzying heights of the naughty step Aunty is now planning for thought criminals who have got this far into the episode, read on to book your place in the Thoughtcrime gulag.
Part 2 1974-1984.
Appropriately part 2 opens with Dr. Milgram explaining his behaviors experiments, The use of punishment to improve the ability to learn. The footage has appeared in many documentaries since, even in Adam Curtis’s efforts, for some reason watching Curtis’s efforts does not carry with it the same penalty as David Malones, thoughtcrime pieces, perhaps it is that they seek cognition and not dissonance, and the contextual intelligence of Malones work generates light where Curtis specialises in the spectacle of more heat than light, James Corbett explains the point here.
A quick dig at the Market researchers then introduces A Green new revolution.
Farmers here are cast as “Pawns in a wider game. And Bhana helpfully pours more fuel on the bonfire of science vanities, which offer myths that lead to democracy, when the opposite effect is so often seen by the structural adjustments beloved of the IMF.
An unfortunate farmer has been reduced from the husbandry of 3 acres down to one as the Higher yields promised from the new seeds, fertilizers and herbicides bring with them increased risks as the miracle scientific marvels are paid for with borrowed money and failed harvests or lack of access to sufficient fertilizers to hit the promised yields lead to first mortgages and then foreclosures as the indebtedness to the moneylender have to be honored.
As if that isn’t enough to send you away for a very long time to a re-education camp the point is reinforced by a haunting echo of 100’s of experts’ incantations that generations of young women are led to believe their mothers were bad mothers and a generation of sons that their fathers were bad Farmers.
Just to make sure the powers that be throw the book at us let’s see what the second half of the second half has in store for us for it is surely a game of two halves.
We interrupt this thought crime to bring a message from the two minutes of hate decreed by Big brother against Russia.
THE CONCEPT OF PUBLIC SECURITY by Efimov Victor Alekseevich
This period can be traced to the origins of the current dominant Euro-American (the Biblical) concepts of management, as well as fundamentally different philosophical views of the priesthood of Holy Russia, and the Egyptian hierarchy of Ra in the earlier period when it was still under the control of the hierarchy of Amun. The last pharaoh carrying the truth of monotheism was Akhenaten (1375-1325 BC.) The priesthood itself has morphed into quackery, adapting existing conceptual knowledge and implementing skills of conceptually powerful control for their own clan’s interests, instead of concern for the public good and constructing the mode for the environment.
Since then, little has changed. At the top of the pyramid of global management are the same 22 hereditary clans, a team that is artificial, and to create the appearance of choice it is divided into two teams (left and right). For the crowd, through controlled media, these two teams portray opposition to each other with an accompanying question: ‘So you’re for this side or for that side?’ Political life, to distract the crowd from important issues, is filled with formidable battles. The symbol of the opposition, cultivated to attract public attention and fanaticism is football: 11 on the left and 11 on the right rolling a ball on the field, which represents the globe. This is an iconic game for those who know something about the schemes of global governance of mankind, one of the most powerful techniques pumped-up out of the matrix crowd of ´elitism´.
These 22 clans, according to the functions of incurring conceptual power at a significant global level, can be called a global predictor, a scheduler giving directions/insight (predukazatelem) . They do not advertise their activities, which are visible only to the executive peripherals. It gives real control over countries on a global scale, through a hereditary clan of financial corporation families, controlling international organizations, political parties, foundations, multinational corporations, and banks. This mission is generously rewarded.
The contemporary crisis of our nationhood is mainly caused by the inadequacy of Social Science
to the ontic reality of life, which leads to the lack of statecraft methodology or welfare management.
None of the manuals on Economics puts a question of how a state gets wealthy; they focus on the art of getting rich within a single corporation, a single bank or give a piece of advice to individual wealth.
Nevertheless, in real life, the corporate effect proves to be achieved at the expense of some damage
done to the state and society.
Chrematistics – from the Greek ‘spgeta’ – wealth. The science of how to make a single firm or individual wealthy, independently to the well-being of the rest of society. In the current state, economics as a science was inherently transformed into chrematistics, because it is not aimed at solving the welfare problem and universal prosperity.
The second Half of part 2.
Not content with shattering any illusions you might have held about the beneficence of our imperial majesties and masters abroad we change our shape for the second half to a strong back five and packing of the midfield, the likelihood of an own goal greatly enhanced we see those own goals aplenty are guaranteed in the brave new world of the brave new world ushered in in the second half of the ’70s and early ’80s.
STeel and steel automation and the 1974 episode of Horizon Who needs Skill.
Willie Wilson never saw the film that horizon made about him he was on a shift that evening.
Willie tells us that those ” People putting programs into computers never knew as much as the practical man did”
For all of their Ergonomics, fish tanks, and increased productivity willie tells us that half of the men laid idle by the technological progress are still idle, perhaps this is an
amplification of the sorts of the political problems Mr. Benn anticipated in respect of those dastardly “expectation gaps”.
A new episode decade from 1979 is then rolled, complete with Ted Heath, 3 day weeks, and the Famous Milgram punisher ” Who is going to be responsible?” Indeed who?
Questions are raised as to unplanned technological changes, Tony Benn explains that Harold Wilson’s White Heat of Technology was a warning metaphor for unemployment and the side effects of technological changes
Mr. Benn was perhaps the most hated of the politicians in the popular tabloid press when I was growing up. On a personal note, the far side is a diary of my own lived life experience; I was born in 1964.
Next, The Future goes Boom from 1974 and we are introduced to the futurologist Herman Khan, ex-hoover institute and boss of heterodox economist Michael Hudson. A scion of tech optimism and a futurologist from Westchester county.
On a sidebar on Khan see Johnny Vedmores analysis of Khan’s influence on Klaus Schwab along with Henry Kissinger and JK Galbraith it is a small world, Davids father produced the age of uncertainty you see and the last 3 episodes, a weekend in vermont stars Henry Kissinger and is held at Jk Galbraith Connecticut Farm.
Experts and technocrats are delivered another punishment beating at this point Expert Opinions are given as Law and the ever strongly opinionated Banks declares Khan’s techno expert enhanced optimistic expert sales pitches as “Balderdash” and for good measure, some loyal tribal underlings prostrate themselves before a tribal chief. This provides a nice setup for the great reveal which is nicely teed up now and Aunty Beeb is apoplectic with rage and fielding calls for all corners of the Higheruppery.
The Cardinal sin is compounded by The Technological Forecasts of experts as the divinations of Prometheus’ Bones are not to be questioned. Strike 2 for sure! Just to make sure more echoes from Milgram’s punisher.
Part 3, 1984-1994.
This segment gets us into the high-tech digital stuff complete with an appearance from that nice young Man a young Bill Gates. Murdoch and Sky, the Chrysler Building new York, lots of Chips, silicon not fries, and then another Horizon Episode In the Light of New information from 1987.
Promises Myths and stories and then an appearance from Carole goble , computer scientist from Manchester University.
Prof Goble as she is now told us back then that the outcome of all the Digital information power was up to us to take control of, How do you think we have done Carole?
That it is up to us by prof Gobles account back then we only learn at the end of part 3, first Tony Benn repeats that Knowledge is power and that science in the form of technology creates power too. He gives the example of “For example keeping a dossier of everyone who has dangerous ideas”, of course, Technology is also agnostic as to being applied for good or bad purposes, what those purposes or uses are, it is again pointed out by Mr. Benn are Political and not scientific questions. It is safe to assume that Mr. Benn had democratic political processes in mind for determining these questions, Aunty Beeb and her Higherupper club members of course are by now running out of toys to eject from prams and tops to blow, the cat here is well and truly out of the bag.
Next The Global Village episode from 1984, CHallenger is seen deploying the Insat 1 b geo stationary Indian satellite which Indra Gandhi hopes will allow the poorer corners of the Indian subcontinent to share in the bonding of the urban elites, an uncaptioned Indian malcontent questions the Global Village metaphor and wonders if it is more an imperial venture, with communication scolding in one direction. The message transmitted by Insat 1b would be composed and framed around an Elitist order further concentrating power in India in the hands of an urban elite. The point is effortlessly corroborated by Prime Minister Gandhi who imperiously refers to the poor and dispersed huddling masses of India as “They”! Oh dear, oh dear oh dear.
The next episode is Colonising Cyber Space from 1991. Back doors circumventing end-to-end encryption make a very early entry into the discourse another job for Winston and why this excellent documentary film has found its way into the memory hole. Information age aphorisms follow on into The Electronic frontier from 1993. Bill Gates appears and offers us his services as a curator of fine art which he would buy and we could pay to look at, at that stage through his monopoly packing bundled browsers within the awful buggy virus inventing Windows. I wonder what Bill is up to these days?
Black Wednesday makes an appearance, A Hunt for the doomsday asteroid from 1994 segues nicely into Mr. Benns warnings against International Capital and IMF structural adjustments Prof Goble rounds it up for the techy stuff and then Tony Benn delivers his timeless party pieces.
Five Questions to ask the Powerful,
What Power do you Have?
Where does your power originate from
In whose interests is your power exercised
Who are you accountable to
How do we remove your power?
And that is why this documentary is in room 101.
Now do an extra 2 minutes of hate whilst Aunty decides what is a suitable punishment.
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