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Adam Curtis’s paranoia

The Trap, the latest television essay by Adam Curtis, misunderstands a range of complex ideas—and is paranoid too

By Max Steuer   April 2007

Adam Curtis has received fulsome praise from some quarters for his three-part BBC2 series, The Trap. But this viewer is unable to follow suit. Broadly put, The Trap suggests that people in Britain and the US have fallen into a trap, one set partly by circumstances, especially the cold war, and partly by a few institutions, particularly those under the influence of the Rand Corporation. But the key instigators are a number of highly influential academics. Among these are the game theorists John Nash and Thomas Schelling and the economist James Buchanan. Curtis argues that figures like these, along with…

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