The Century Of The All-Consuming Self, parts I-IV

Here is the brilliant BBC series about the creation of the consumer culture in the twentieth century. Worth watching if you’ve a spare four hours.

Part I: the creation of people as ‘happiness machines’

Part II: ‘the engineering of consent’ of the masses

Part III: ‘the policeman in our heads’ must be destroyed

Part IV: the maintenance of political control through focus groups

Thanks to Undercurrents Video for the link.

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4 Responses to “The Century Of The All-Consuming Self, parts I-IV”

  1. picturepost Says:

    Must come back to this – thanks for posting, particularly interested in the Edward L Bernays story, great that the whole programme is uploaded.

  2. drfrank Says:

    Hi Brian. Have nearly finished (re-) watching the series myself. (Watched it when it was broadcast, but couldn’t remember much.) In its focus on Bernays, it might have been over-egging his influence on the development of the PR Industry. There’s a review at PR Watch of a book by one of the series’ contributors, Stuart Ewen, that I found helpful – http://www.prwatch.org/prwissues/1996Q4/ewen.html – and that seems to have had a significant influence on the director’s narrative. Interestingly, the series was produced by RDF, the miserable outfit behind the BBC’s queen portrait fiasco and the Great Global Warming Swindle…

  3. picturepost Says:

    I am going to try and carve out some time this weekend to watch. My mother got me a book from Cambridge University Library a couple of years ago but it was due back before I got a chace to read it properly – called ‘The Father of Spin’. I think much of the programme is based on that book – certainly, it puts forward Bernays as a central figure in moves to manufacture consent via materialism and the creation of a soceity based on the american dream and mass-consumption.

    Amazingly, Amazon now have this book:

    http://www.amazon.com/Father-Spin-Edward-Bernays-Relations/dp/0805067892

  4. drfrank Says:

    The genius of unfettered consumerism. I’ve been finding all sorts of gems on Amazon, and am especially enjoying the ability to buy out of print stuff second-hand very cheaply.

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