We finished watching the 4th episode “The Century of the Self” last night, the BBC documentary that explores the influence of Freud’s ideas on marketers, public relations and politics. “The Corporation” analyzed corporate behaviour through the lense of psychosis; Century of the Self explores how psychoanalytic understandings and techniques made possible the sweep and unholy alliance of mass consumerism and ne0-conservative politics.
Where “The Corporation” felt clunky and interminable with every left nostrum getting a work-out, “The Century of the Self”, though it does flirt with over-simplification in its tight focus on the influence of Freud’s ideas, is fun to watch, and ultimately more convincing.
I felt anew the fear that Thatcher and Reagan inspired in me as a teenager- really they were just useful foreshadowing for the corruption and fear we live with now. But it was the brief clip from Mario Cuomo’s powerful 1984 Democratic Convention speech that got me searching this morning.
His 1992 convention speech is also on YouTube- he could be talking about Bush Jr in that one.