Breaking the Code: A Dramatisation of Alan Turing’s Life

If you’re considering going to see The Imitation Game, you might want to watch the BBC’s Breaking the Code instead. Scott Aaronson was irritated by The Imitation Game writing that “the fabrications were especially frustrating to me, because we know it’s possible to bring Alan Turing’s story to life in a way that fully honors the true science and history. We know that, because Hugh Whitemore’s 1986 play Breaking the Code did it. The producers of The Imitation Game would’ve done better just to junk their script, and remake Breaking the Code into a Hollywood blockbuster.”

The following film is the 1996 BBC adaptation of Breaking the Code, with Derek Jacobi as Turing, featuring Harold Pinter as John Smith.

Recovering Reality: A case for the ‘truth’?

Call them what you will for it, romantics, perhaps even naive in this regard, but Gramsci and Marx describe the ‘intellectual’ as one who possesses a  heightened sense of consciousness  – a sense that enables the intellectual to extract or recover reality from a world made purposefully hazy. For these thinkers, the mystical gift of acumen also comes with its burdens. The role of the intellectual is not simply to seek, collect and retain knowledge, but also to unveil and act in relation to these carefully hidden ‘truths’.

To this end, the aspiration of good journalism is not so different.  The ethical role of the journalist is often expressed in terms of “reporting the facts”. In this formulation, ‘reporting facts’ is tantamount to ‘good journalism’ when ‘reporting’ is synonymous with ‘truth telling.’

We also know that ‘truth seeking’ maintains a centrality in our everyday experiences, both present in our most ardent and public socio-political concerns as well as our most private existential and interpersonal questions about life. But why does the notion of ‘truth’ matter to us? What purpose does such a concept have and for what reasons should it be retained?

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