Surviving Progress?

18 08 2012

Surviving Progress – A HowTo?

last Wednesday we went to watch Surviving Progress, shown as part of the Possible Worlds Canadian Film Festival, at Dendy (Opera House).  it’s apparently based on a best-selling book A Short History Of Progress, by Ronald Wright.

Possible Worlds billed it “From the makers of The Corporation and executive producer Martin Scorsese comes an absorbing, multi-faceted documentary on evolution, progress and social change”, which immediately got my attention.  The Corporation is a documentary I credit with triggering (not causing) my 5+ year plunge into dysthymic depression after watching it in 2005.  However there is no such reference to The Corporation on Surviving Progress’s website, and from a cursory glance at at their respective producers, only Mark Achbar appears to be common among twelve key creators.

i’m happy to report i’m not drowning in my own blood this time!  unfortunately for Surviving Progress, that might not be a good sign.  The Corporation struck me light lightning, a true epiphany, albeit one in which my path (of the three likely) after seeing it was to become totally overwhelmed & motivationally impotent (the other two likely options being: sticking one’s head back in the sand, or doing something).  Surviving Progress gave me nothing new, taught me nothing I didn’t already know.

even the film’s name, Surviving Progress, is, being generous, enigmatic.  does it mean “this documentary will offer a path of hope, a parable on how to survive Progress”, or merely tread old ground and pessimistically ask “how can humanity survive progress?”.  perhaps i was naive (nice to know it can still happen!), but the former was my interpretation.  unfortunately there are few if any answers on offer in Surviving Progress.

The Corporation was comparatively epic, a roller-coaster that dive-bombed into and out of a selection of topics that left one with the sense that this documentary barely scratched the surface of the myriad issues that face us.  but it was also more than that.  there were rays of hope that shone out, people making a difference and prevailing against The Machine.  even its closing credits had a laundry list of organisations and websites of those who are trying to Do Something.

Surviving Progress had no message of hope, no heroes, no call to action.  and yet, despite it’s depressing lack of hope, it washed over me and barely left a mark.  what gives?

J & I both commented afterwards that the audience was full of lefty alternative types.  that might seem like the likely target audience for such a doco, but really it’s just preaching to the converted – and in Surviving Progress‘s case, doing so with little to contribute to those of us who are already ‘tuned in’ to ‘issues’ (at least some of them).  to a small degree i feel like a senseless consumer, sucked in by the heritage alluded in its promotion and 2 cinema tickets poorer.

i remember thinking after watching The Corporation “OMG!  more people need to see this!  Important people who normally wouldn’t intersect such media need to see this!  the Prime Minister needs to see this!”.  i know, so naive.  to be fair to Surviving Progress, whilst it’s not an uplifting documentary, perhaps it could still impact others who haven’t yet had the wool covering their eyes removed, and effect transformation.  but how do you reach such people?  one at a time, organically, slowly, doesn’t seem to be cutting it against the overwhelming power of The Machine.

and then i look at myself, and think “WTF am I doing about it?”

nothing.

just another fucking hypocrite.





how not to win friends and influence people

2 08 2012

recently @ozdj blocked me on Twitter – not just unfollowed, but blocked.  neither of us can see each other’s tweets now.

blocking someone on twitter is something usually reserved for someone who really pisses you off, or for ‘trolls’. oh dear :-(

his blocking came fairly shortly after this ‘exchange’ (from bottom up):

Twitter OzDJ 1

context:  the link @ozdj refers to is this post by Malcolm Turnbull (Federal MP for Wentworth, shadow minister for communications & broadband), bemoaning how the ACCC has “abandoned competition in favour of government monopoly” in relation to the NBN and the payments to Telstra and Optus by the NBN (aka Fed Gov’t, aka tax payers) to shut down their copper last-mile networks to make way for NBN fibre as the primary delivery of broadband.

some people who knows me might have some idea of my underlying thoughts on this matter, and the original sale (privatisation) of Telstra that started in 1997.  i hinted at it in this post a few years ago.  regardless, that’s not what this post is about.

whilst i stand by the rationale behind my little outburst, i regret the tone of it.  a random person would have no idea of my thoughts behind that series of tweets.  i regret firing off a one-way unengaged missive, it’s not how Twitter works best.  as frustrating as short 140char tweets can be in trying to convey thoughts of substance, patience is necessary.  if i’m to be completely honest, i do sometimes have a tendency to make brash declarative statements or outbursts, rather than engaging in a two-way dialogue.  and i know it’s sometimes not particularly endearing :-(

it’s not how you win friends or influence people.  i’m sorry, Derek.