Monday, September 27, 2010

The Century of the Self

I'd like to share with you a pretty amazing but fairly unknown documentary. It's called "The Century of the Self" and it tells the story of Sigmund Freud and his American nephew Edward Bernays who actually invented what we call "public relations" which, as he explains in the film, is just a nicer way of saying "propaganda". Very interesting, highly educational (who knew that it was once taboo for women to smoke cigarettes until Bernays flipped the script on the public?) film, it will really open your eyes to all the media material being thrown at you through television shows, advertisements, product placement (another Bernays invention), and especially government blabber. Bernays was hired by the US government to rally up to the country to support our entering World War I. After his success with that, most of the major corporations in this country hired him to promote their products and help transform the masses from the "American worker" into the "American consumer". But I've already said too much...

The film is split into 4 parts (I originally saw the first 2 parts at a nice little theater in Union Square years ago) and it is written and narrated by Adam Curtis.

"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy." - Adam Curtis

It is available in its entirety on YouTube:








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