The Push

The Push on Netflix is a deeply disturbing replication of the Milgram Experiment. The question it asks is whether someone can quickly be convinced to commit a murder? Spoiler alert: yes. British mentalist Derren Brown and a cast of confederates create an evil version of the Truman Show. By taking an individual from one seemingly minor moral deviation–labeling meat canapes as vegetarian–to another, to another, Brown puts people in a situation where by the end of one hour they are so emotionally disoriented and stressed that they will try to commit a murder to relieve their tension.

If you had asked me yesterday whether I thought it would be ok to run the Milgram experiment again, I would have said yes, as science. Today, I am not sure. What Brown does to these people for our entertainment (?) is disgusting. I feel complicit in having watched. Yes, I know, I am writing about it. I’m not sure what to make of that either.

As far as I can tell, the experiment is real. I’d be happier if it were fake but the results are consistent with previous Milgram replications. But if it is real did we then watch attempted murder? I am reminded of Leo Katz’s, Bad Acts and Guilty Minds. If a man fires a gun aiming to kill but the gun is defective is it attempted murder? Surely, yes. If thinking it a deadly poison a man adulterates a drink with sugar is it attempted murder? What if a sincere believer in voodoo tries to kill by sticking pins in a doll?

Aside from the legal issues, what Brown does to the participants is awful. How will they live the rest of their lives? Jordan Peterson says that you cannot be a good person until you know how much evil you contain within you. Well the people Brown experiments on know the evil that they contain but will they become better people? Or will they break? Brown doesn’t seem to care.

In some sense, the subjects have consented. Months earlier they applied to be on a show but they were told that they had been rejected. Perhaps you think the participants figured it out. You will have to judge for yourself but it all happens so quickly that I don’t think that is plausible. Moreover, if you figured it out wouldn’t you want to be the hero rather than the prison guard directing the Jews to the ovens?

Does The Push have any socially redeeming value? I hope so. Phillip Zimbardo of the famous Stanford Prison Experiment was so upset by his research that he started the Heroic Imagination Project, (I wrote about it here). The Heroic Imagination Project attempts to turn the issue around by asking what helps people to resist authority? And how can we train people under stress to draw on their heroic reserves? Netflix has shown us that the Heroic Imagination Project is sorely needed. Maybe next time Netflix can devote some of their considerable resources to helping us resist the push.


Dick Cheney and friends easily convinced hundreds of thousands of people to commit murder for no reason in Iraq. So should this be surprising?

Well that's a pathetic comment. But it's kind of what we've come to expect from you Jan.

It's true, and we as a country are still paying for it. Many have and will with their lives.

Well, you're still paying for it with all that screwball shit running around your head.

Guess I'll put you down as being from the lies for war school of international relations.

Guess a crazy person would.

The Soviets often silenced dissidents and others who refused to tow the party line by saying they were "crazy."

So that's why you tread lightly about Hillary, your afraid of the Soviets.

Americans and their post 9/11 jingoism caused Iraq.

"No reason" is merely reasons you happen to disagree with. It was not a lie based on the available intelligence, and the existence of stockpiles of WMD was only one of the reasons advanced. Regime change was also about preventing the situation we now face in Iran and North Korea, namely, the intention to create WMD (Saddam was fascinated with big weapons, which is what we discovered after Gulf War I and the intelligence community was clueless about the extent of Saddam's WMD programs in 1991), as well as democratization. Today Iraq has no WMD program and Libya gave up its WMD program in response, but Iran was unintentionally strengthened and democracy in the Middle East has proven to be a rare plant that thus far has only taken root in Israel. It may have been a policy mistake in hindsight but it's merely Bush-Cheney Derangement Syndrome to repeat the utter lie that "Bush-Cheney lied, people died."

I am not saying they lied, but it's a bit revisionist to suggest that multiple reasons were advanced simultaneously and systematically. The extremely off-putting aspect of it all was that a new reason was advanced only when the previous one was exposed as bunk. It reeked of post-hoc PR rationalization and to this say I have no confidence in any reason given for the war. Probably will never know.

Jan is correct here. It was well known that the weapns had been destroyed and the weapons programs ceased. Every demand for further access to inspect was agreed to by Sadam. Many hundreds of thousands of people were killed on false pretenses.

Prior to the first gulf war the weapons programs were well known also. I can remember people talking reasonably frequently about it on current affairs programs. Israel bombed Iraq at one point to force the programs underground and hinder them. The west made appropriate use of the first war and disabled the weapons vprograms.

"It was well known that the weapons had been destroyed and the weapons programs ceased."

This is obviously false. However I do remember being very surprised when the UN inspections were going on and then they decided to attack anyway

You've convinced yourself to lie blatantly and repeatedly in the course of your daily life.

Art, the pretenses for the Iraq war may have been the biggest lie of a generation and it came with tremendous consequences. If you're comfortable with that there's not much dialogue to be had. Thankfully, there are signs that younger people learned the right lessons from this. It may take another half generation or so for them to be applied though.

Be fair, it was effectively just a replay of the JFK and LBJ lies about Vietnam. Though of course they didn't depend on a volunteer army.

And to avoid any hint of partisanship, one should surely mention Obama's antics in Afghanistan.

I don't disagree. And after 9/11, we should have gone in, gotten those responsible (which Obama eventually did), and left, rather than buy an ungovernable country.

And the Spanish American war. And the obvious land grab that was the Mexican American war. It's almost like leaders have been guilty of self serving confirmation bias for as long as there have been leaders.

But I forgot we are supposed to believe that Cheney is Darth vader.

I agree with Trump on this one. And f*cking, yes, Cheney, who led the charge and personally responsible for so many people's deaths is a war criminal. Because some terrible stuff happened before this particularly huge atrocity is ok with you?

I agree it wasn’t a brilliant idea to blunder into Iraq with the hope of establishing a Switzerland on the Tigris.

But be fair, Jan. Most objective observers thought there were WMD, that Saddam looked like a genuine threat (and he was a mass murdering dictator), and it wasn’t clear that Iran would use the removal of their greatest neighbourhood strategic threat to become worse than they were. And back then it was assumed and hoped that Iraq had advantages (in administration, in secularity) that made it more receptive to becoming a representative democracy.

"it wasn’t clear that Iran would use the removal of their greatest neighbourhood strategic threat to become worse than they were": were most objective observers really so stupid?

"it was assumed and hoped that Iraq had advantages (in administration, in secularity) that made it more receptive to becoming a representative democracy": what idiocy. And to think that some cruel people suggest that Americans tend to know little of history or geography.

I thought W's invasion was such a blindingly, obviously rotten idea that I inclined to join the great march against it in London. It was only my reluctance to associate with Marxists and mad mullahs that finally won the day. Probably I was wrong: I should have held my nose and marched alongside those scum.

They were running pretty well in 2008 until some fool eff'd it up.

+1, that's a great response Thor

No it's not. The other countries and people who agreed with Cheney were being fed the same bullshit that Congress was.

It really depended where you got your news from. The alternative left leaning media was especially good at publicizing the protests of weapons inspectors and others who had insight from direct experience into the likely state of the Iraq WMD program at that time. If you were following them the WMD rationale was a painfully obvious charade. Not to say there weren’t arguably reasonable rationales for the actions that were taken, but that wasn’t one of them and the info was out there for those willing to look for it.

This inspector? Paid off by Iraq? I wonder if they also kept his kiddie issue over his head while he was 'inspecting'.

"An outspoken critic of the Iraq War, al-Khafaji provided funding to Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, to produce a 2001 documentary that described Iraq as a "defanged tiger" and UN sanctions there as immoral. In 2004, al-Khafaji was one of several people listed in a US government report as having received vouchers from Saddam Hussein's government to sell or trade oil under the UN's oil-for-food program."

And yet in the end Ritter was proved right (whatever his other failings).

And yet what?

And why would they bribe inspectors if they were innocent?

There's a huge difference between "no reason" and "for reasons somewhat different than those used to rally public support".

The underlying fact was very simple. Iraq's military, compared to the domestic militaries of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, was sufficiently powerful to give Saddam Hussein control of the cheaper half of the world's proven oil reserves. The available options for the US, accordingly, were:

1) Allow Saddam Hussein, the kind of guy who used poison gas on civilians [see the Halabja Massacre], to become the ruler of a major economic power against which no sanctions could be credibly enforced, with the money and freedom to reconstitute the WMD programs he previously had and used.
2) Overthrow Saddam Hussein in favor of a less-objectionable regime.
3) Leave American troops indefinitely on the Arabian Peninsula.

Option #3 is the policy that was followed after the Gulf War. The result of that policy was to enrage a faction among Saudis, resulting in the Khobar Towers bombing, the US embassy bombings in Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, and then the 9/11 attacks. After the 9/11 attacks, it was the evaluation of the United States government that the cost to the US was too high to continue #3. (People who in retrospect say "Iraq was contained!" for some reason rarely follow that with, "and that containment provoked 9/11!")

That left the choices as #1 and #2. #1, we'll remember, was exactly what the US had decided was unacceptable back in 1990. That would leave #2 as the obvious choice. If Hussein was replaced by someone less objectionable, the US could leave the Arabian Peninsula. After all, the regimes on the peninsula weren't all that great themselves; if the new Iraqi regime marched south some day, it would just mean a stronger regional counterbalance to Iran. Further, the experience of the Gulf War suggested it would be a cakewalk.

So, we'd go in, we'd knock off Hussein and his sons, we'd hold elections for someone new to take over, we'd leave, we'd shrug when the newly-elected leader consolidated a dictatorship, and we'd sit back happy when he marched south for the oil, overthrew the Saudis, and inherited the job of being the target of the religious fanatics.

Unfortunately, it turned out Iraq, rather than being the fairly strong state it appeared, was held together only by terror. Get rid of Hussein, and it fell apart. If the people advocating war had expected that, they might have felt that leaving troops in Saudi Arabia, inspiring further attacks from religious fanatics upset at infidel boots, was a good idea. On the other hand, they might not.

#1 was not allow Hussein to do anything he wanted. It was to keep probing and confirm a real WMD program existed, like the UN and most other countries advocated for. The US didn't, because they were lying and feeding the world all the bullshit it could swallow.

Thank God we have a US President who did not vote for the Iraq War!!!

(Given that Hillary lost, I mean.)

Give it up for POTUS, Jan!!!!!!!

I agree with Donny on this one:

Come on. Is everyone this gullible? All of these "subjects" were ACTORS too. It will come out very soon. For God sakes, there were people who were convinced for weeks that "The Blair witch project" was real! Think this 'Push' was all real and that these people were not actors? Prove it. You cant can you? Just look at the reactions of the 4 people involved. No anger. No tears of frustration or relief. Just an "awe shucks, ya got me". B.S. And btw...take a good close look at the 3 people who "murdered" the man. All 3 of them look like drug addicted degenerates. $50,000 and the signing of a non disclosure agreement looks like it would be mighty enticing to any of those three miscreants. No my friends; those 4 people were not had. For it was you who have been had. Thats the REAL manipulation

Agreed. It was clearly a fake. The camera work could never be done spontaneously with hidden cameras and non actors. The reactions were all wrong. The acting was bad. Nobody who has ever touched another person could drag, place in and out of a wheelchair, carry up stairs, and kick, a rubber mannequin and not realize it was fake. Also, who would commit murder on front of five witnesses you just met, while standing on the roof of a building, 15 minutes after impersonating the victim to dozens of more witnesses still in the same building, all in order to avoid being sued offending somebody?

The experiment was to see how gullible the audience (including, apparently, media reviewers and many people commenting here) was. Answer: Very.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.
For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.
Ephesians, 6:11-12

Darren Brown is a bit dubious. At least, he screens all participants for the most susceptible (most will not succumb). And, he is essentially a wizard. Not may wizards in the world. He had a previous show (years ago) where he convinced ordinary people to rob an armored truck. It requires a lot of conditioning though. Probably a court would convict him and not the person, who might convincingly argue they were brainwashed

Jordan Peterson is right - by asking "Well the people Brown experiments on know the evil that they contain but will they become better people?" Alex is probably confusing his point with the converse.

Why is Jordan Peterson right? Because it is *obvious* that we all have really unfathomable negativities and brutishness - nature keeps giving us signals - and if you still haven't caught them, it is probably only because you have been wantonly ignoring them (as long as they remain below some threshold), so as to tell yourself pretty stories to "legitimize" your existence by comparing it favorably with many others'. More precisely, it suggests that, on seeing someone sin, instead of introspecting about whether circumstances could lead you to act likewise, you seek to profit out of it by reinforcing your view of the world as comprising nice people like you and some evil sinners out there.

This is also why "Hate the sin, not the sinner" is a deeper point than most classical liberals ever appreciated: there is a dimension of humility baked into it, an awareness of one's limitations, an epistemic humility to which classical liberals were blinded by their belief in unconstrained free will.

Progressivism and SJW-ism, of course took this blindness-incentivized selectivity and self-worship to dizzying heights.

And also, "Forgive, that you may also be forgiven".or " “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Disclosure: I am not a Christian, have no plans to become one either.

Great (well articulated) comment. You’ve given me something to think about more further. Thank you.

When I take someone on to train them, I tell them repeatedly that in the course of learning a demanding technical trade that they will find things about themselves that they won't like. How they deal with frustration, with the fog of confusion that lasts for a year or two. How do we react when we are wrong; this is very important when troubleshooting because by definition your are wrong repeatedly until you are right.

Working systems are built around strategies to control or limit the damage by flaws of human nature. Double entry accounting. Aircraft pilot checklists. Scientific method. The free market. Democracies both parliamentary and republics.

Another flaw that is common, the belief that we now better and due to education, religiosity, political purity these things don't apply, is the root of all evil.

'they will find things about themselves'

So, do you have them read major parts about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle before or after the training? Eespecially those sections concerning humility.

Thanks for the very pertinent augmentation. Giving these working systems enough credit by recognizing their importance, is actually positively correlated with being aware of their limitations: you can't appreciate republican democracy enough if you think of it as a magic wand.

Having not seem the show, you do know that it is extremely unlikely that any normal person can be convinced in an hour (or a couple) to commit murder. Generally, the military finds it takes weeks to train a human to reliably pull a trigger in a situation that will lead to another person being killed. And this in settings where the person using the weapon is being ordered to do so, and can be punished for not doing it - and is being shot at themselves.

One can make fun about military efficiency all one wishes, but if it was possible to create killers in an hour, there is no question that such an ability would have already been exploited during the last couple of centuries of warfare. That people can be manipulated to provide entertainment is something else, of course - but not having seen the show (it is a couple of years old anyways), the only thing interesting is not the participants, but the way they were manipulated. After all, this has already been established in creating fake memories as a technique, for example -

Another way of looking at this can be found in Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion 101 and the Final Solution in Poland - 'As presented in the study, the men of Unit 101 were not ardent Nazis but ordinary middle-aged men of working class background from Hamburg, who had been drafted but found ineligible for regular military duty. After their return to Poland in June 1942 these men were ordered to terrorize Jews in the ghettos during Operation Reinhard, and in notable cases, committed wholesale massacres of all Polish Jews – men, women and children – as in the towns of Józefów and Łomazy. In other cases, they were ordered to merely kill a specified number of Jews in a given town or area usually helped by Trawnikis. The commander of the unit gave his men the choice (once) of opting out of this duty if they found it too hard. Almost all of them chose not to exercise that option. Fewer than 12 men opted out in a battalion of 500 willing executioners.

While the specifics of this book deal with killings performed by otherwise average men, the general implication of the book, consistent with the theories advanced by Stanley Milgram, is that when placed in a coherent group setting, most people will adhere to the commands given, even if they find the actions morally reprehensible. Additionally the book demonstrates that ordinary people will more than likely follow orders, even those they might personally question, when they perceive these orders as originating from an authority.'

No need to use experiments or entertainment to demonstrate the banal reality that people will kill in the proper setting or with proper manipulation (though one assumes that Chris and the others will not be become capable of casually killing the way that a veteran combat soldier or SS concentration camp guard would)..

And one truly wonders if Jordan Peterson has ever read Browning, William Shirer's The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich, or Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. History is more than sufficient to let anyone know the depths of evil to which people are capable.

+1 well reasoned. This kind of online virtual hysteria reminds me of the outpouring of grief from anonymous strangers when Lady Diana, Princess of Whales or whatever, died in 1998 or so (I was laughing when I read the supermarket headline, much to the consternation of random strangers), or how people get all uptight when some crazy teen announces online that they will commit suicide. It's a consequence of being in a hothouse 'virtual' community, but it's not real.

"While the specifics of this book deal with killings performed by otherwise average men, the general implication of the book, consistent with the theories advanced by Stanley Milgram, is that when placed in a coherent group setting, most people will adhere to the commands given, even if they find the actions morally reprehensible."

Yes. The dark side of human 'agreeableness'.

Well, a bit more than that. My copy is not around, but one thing I remember is that some men said they agreed because they did not want to be made fun of by their comrades, and having to do all the (often literal) shitty work.

Not sure on your last paragraph but Peterson has made specific and detailed reference to Ordinary Men in his lectures.

Based on this, I'd be surprised if he isn't also familiar with Shirer's and Arendt's work.

Fair enough - my main exposure to Peterson has been here. It is an interesting book in a number of ways, especially as it draws on both documents and recollections from various participants. Nonetheless, though the details are interesting as they describe reality (such as no real punishment for refusing to shoot children, and the fact that refusing once was sufficient to be exempted, while agreeing once meant you had to kill over and over again), the broad story was known decades before the book was published.

"Generally, the military finds it takes weeks to train a human to reliably pull a trigger in a situation that will lead to another person being killed"

Perhaps it takes weeks only because their goal is to create skilled killers efficiently. You could probably get results a lot faster if the goal was to create one unskilled killer as quickly as possible and you had the resources to deploy superstar manipulators, psychoanalysts, paid actors, and complete and covert control of the target's environment.

"If a man fires a gun aiming to kill but the gun is defective is it attempted murder? Surely, yes."

Smith's TMS devotes a lengthy Section (pp. 92-108) to the conundrum that we naturally feel that motivated will alone should determine our moral sentiment, and yet actual results, affected by "fortune" or chance, do color our sentiment -- the latter effect is called an "irregularity" in our moral sentiments. He discusses interesting cases in which fortune has a hand, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. The resolution of the conundrum is that--although Smith never quite puts it so clearly as I am about to--our basic tenet about motivated will alone being determinative is sound, but intelligence about the motivated will is, as a practical matter, not definite or certain enough, and too difficult to establish as a matter of social accountability, not to let results color our sentiments. The defectiveness of the gun was, for all we know, something the guy actually knew about, and so the fact that the gun didn't fire affects our judgment about just how motivated his will to murder was. (Or, if the guy was really so motivated he would have made sure that the gun wasn't defective.) Likewise when people shoot and miss. So it is knowledge problems that authorize us (and law) to let results affect our sentiments regarding merit and demerit.

This genre of 'mentalist'/illusionist David Blaine type people constantly play with the idea of what is real and what is staged. They will admit to doing a certain amount by sleight-of-hand, but then claim that large parts of the tricks rely on "real" techniques like neuro-linguistic programming and other types of psychological suggestion and manipulation. They are magicians/entertainers though and I think that this move to admit a certain amount of trickery and then claim credit for the rest as 'mentalism' is often itself a misdirection to draw attention away from simpler fakery like camera tricks or imposters. So without any further evidence I would be very sceptical about whether the participants are naive. Apart from anything else it sounds like a pretty big legal risk.

The ethical requirements for purely psychological experiments are interesting though. It sometimes feels as though you should need ethics board approval before explaining things like the simulation argument or Parfit's analysis of identity to young people.

Seconding Paul.
Derren Brown is a very talented magician who likes to 'explain' his tricks with scary sounding mental manipulation mumbo-jumbo. It definitely enhances the fun and the fear. Contrast with a magician who doesn't 'tell' you how their tricks work, and the audience will dismiss any wonder or horror with "it's just some kind of trick".
If you're genuinely concerned, rather than reading up on Milgram etc read up on Derren Brown himself, especially Penn & Teller' s comments about him. (They like him personally but not his style of magic)
Anyway, thanks for the recommendation, I will watch the show. Sorry if I've spoiled the magic for anyone.

Alex, this is the worst spoiler alert I've ever seen.

But at least he avoided a trigger warning.

You mean a fictionalized version of non-replicable studies done on research subjects drawn from the ranks of psychology majors? (All meant to stigmatize ordinary people contra the mandarins who run the experiments, of course). Don't care any more. The psych faculty can go to hell.

It's about 99% likely that the TV show is staged.

Because if it isn't, it's 100% likely that the producers would be sued into poverty AND subject to criminal prosecution.

Haven't seen the show, but this comment rings true. No way the show is real based on Alex T's description of it. One benefit of having a surplus of lawyers in our society.

How could they possibly be sued for convincing someone to put sugar in someone's drink?

An Extreme Psychological Study May Have Affected a Young Ted Kaczynski

The best psychology topic! Here are some movie dramatizations I enjoyed, the first more directly relevant:

Compliance (2012)
The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

Compliance is about the prank caller in the 90s who persuaded employees and managers at fast food restaurants to...I won't spoil it; some are still in jail.

Stanford Prison is a bit different because in that case all participants were more explicitly aware of the circumstances, which to me is even more disturbing. The guards were purposefully and creatively malevolent

See also "Das Experiment," a fictionalized German version of the Stanford situation.

Did the prank caller reveal how many times he attempted that gambit and failed?

See also, 'Six degrees of separation'. It was actually nine degrees of separation when you bracketed out all the delivery failures.

Ah, the modern day Milgram experiment. Republicans following Trump on free trade (tariffs) and fiscal responsiblity (deficit tax cut), maybe even gun control. Will this lead to suicide.

Or perhaps, Democrats reflexively conditioned to oppose Trumps actions no matter what they are. Or maybe to turn every post, no matter how unrelated into a Trump post. Trump must really live in their minds to create such a conditioned behavior.

It is interesting, and I think related to this topic, that he persuaded 61,201,031 folks to vote for him. Of course it is not a case of getting someone to commit murder or apply an electric shock, but was it the sort of persuasion "tricks" that Paul above (and Scott Adams) describe?

But Scott Adams also said — over and over as I recall — that Hillary had master persuasion people on her team.

It’s just that Hillary’s persuaders had nada except to malign Trump as a fascist. (It was a wholly negative campaign.)

I think the Milgram experiment is slightly applicable to some people in Trump's administration (proposing policy without proper restraint or oversight), and to law enforcement (Trumps's law & order rhetoric has real potential to translate into abuses on the ground). But I don't think Milgram explains why people voted for him. That's more partisanship and the conservative news bubble.

I assume you write sarcastically.

Much more fitting of the righteous swarm of raging twits on Twitter whose brains tweet the exact same tweets, just with different words.

"Moral courage is the most valuable and usually the most absent characteristic in men." - Gen George S. Patton

Look here, Tabarrok old man, what's a fellow like you, in the prime of life, doing wasting his time staring at the gogglebox?

This was somewhat scarier than Millgram, to my mind, because at least with the classic experiment they were obeying someone with some modicum of responsibility. The Push went off the rails right away, with no plausible way to believe it was “actually all OK” behind the scenes.

It reenforced something I learned in real life, which is that when bad things go down, just call the cops right away and don't get entangled yourself. In my case, it was when a neighbor caught a burgular and our local rednecks decided to hold him at gunpoint for a while rather than report the crime immmediately. Bad idea! In the case of The Push, the time to call 911 was when the guy keeled over. What idiot thinks he’s qualified to declare death himself anyway? I was frankly disappointed that they didn’t make up some tale about him being allergic to meat, because without entrapping the subjects in SOME more serious crime, not calling 911 just looked stupid and implausible, and totally lost me as far as identifying with them.

Also worth noting that the producers went to some length to get pliable subjects, and still, not all of them did the push.

I have this vague memory that the Milgram studies were, if not discredited, at least questioned credibly.. that the conclusions have to be moderated a bit.

Quick google finds Cari Rom Atlantic article..

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows."

Rather minor clarification, but this wasn't originally produced for Netflix, and ran on British network TV.

Very glad we agree on this, Alex

Alex is as gullible as a Flat Earther.

Here's the way *mentalists* work: they deceive the audience.

I once broke up with a girlfriend because she believed dumb, obviously fake shows like this about true life ghosts and whatnot were true.

This show is as obviously fake as those real life ghost story and ancient aliens shows. (Yes, I did just watch some of it.)

One of the guys I play DnD with quit playing because I told him he was an idiot if he doesn't understand how the pyramids are built. We watched a video explaining it, demonstrating the techniques and showing how easy it is to build (well, not "easy", but technologically simple). He's still out there, from what I understand, telling everyone he meets how crazy it is that Egyptians figured out how to move rocks.

Why doesn't Alex consider the most likely scenario: the supposed test subjects are in on it. It's a TV show, after all.

I did consider that. The show first appeared in Britain a year ago so if it was fake I figured it would have come out by now. But after quite a bit of googling I couldn't find any confessions. Indeed, I found an interview in an industry publication with one of the participants about his real job in the printing industry. A very elaborate fake if he is an actor:

Also the sister of one of the participants said she was horrified by what her sister did.

By the way, these interview contains more real spoilers, more than I have given away so don't read them if you are going to watch.

Well, this is from 4 days ago, and might provide a certain framework about 'real' - 'The Push actually employs a large team of actors, make up artists and stunt professionals, to make a fake murder possible. What is real is the psychological manipulation used on the sole non-actor to get him to kill another human being.

In The Push, Brown creates an elaborate scenario, perfectly engineered to drive an ordinary person unaware of the scheme — in this case a man named Chris ....'

By the way, that article was the first result from google for 'the push netflix staged'

Using manipulation may meet some standards of real - in similar fashion to the Milgram Experiment being 'real' - but that the person putting on the show has a goal in mind tends to make one wonder about 'real' in a broader sense. For example, it is likely that if anyone with a legal or military or medical background (or any other number of factors) applied, it is likely they were filtered out before the even being asked to come in for a first interview.

The point about being gullible remains - this piece of entertainment is premised on manipulation, and clearly is not interested in presenting any result that would not justify the large outlay to achieve it.

Spoilers. I watched it last night and the format of the ending seemed odd to me. My theory is that the main guy wasn’t an actor but that the three at the end were. The roof scenes at the end seemed really unconvincing. And why focus the whole programme on the first guy when he didn’t kick the body/do the push when you had footage of three others who did? So one guy who couldn’t be manipulated to kill someone and three actors who pretended they could be. Maybe.

Agree 100%. And did you notice the complete lack of outrage, anger, and frustration of all four "unknowing subjects" afterwards? No tears of relief? No resentment? No questions or "What THE fuck's?!" after such a cruel, traumatizing PRANK. Who the hell would give a speech at a black tie auction, impersonating a dead man that you just threw in a box?! There were over 15 instances in which any REAL person would have just said "fuck it" and left. Actors. Actors. Actors. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fucking moron

The press accounts aren't super convincing.

Whether it was staged or not, Chris Kingston must have gotten a huge payout from Brown -- if it wasn't staged, then for not suing and for PTSD, and if it was staged, then to keep quiet. Given that he undoubtedly got a huge payout, how can we trust anything he says in the post-show interviews? He in one interview, that if stuck on a desert island, he would like Derren Brown there with him:

Really Chris? Your choice is to be stuck with the world's most manipulative person? More likely he was in on the gag all along, which is why he feels so fondly for Brown.

The other three supposed pushers are even more likely to be actors. In particular, the woman who was half the size of the guy she was pushing -- in all likelihood she wouldn't even have been successful at pushing Bernie if she tried!

Most magicians used mystical patter to explain effects that were ultimately slight of hand, Darren Brown does that with science and psuedo science, he performs magic tricks that are heavy on plants editing, and complete fabrication but his patter is grounded in often real scientific phenomenon to explain effects that those phenomenon could never actually accomplish. You've been had plain and simple.

I'm not sure if it matters if it is for a show. The BBC tried to replicate the Stanford Prison Experiment and all the guards were very submissive.

I know news orgs replicated Milgram, although looking at a description of the Milgram study now, I kind of wonder about it. After all it is amperage not voltage that matters in terms of harm of a shock.

This is a crap show, and that should have been obvious in the first five minutes when they mentioned evil social movements and showed.... the guy who kicked Hillary's ass in the 2016 election.

Sorry turd boy -- you lost fair and square.
Your hallucinatory rationalizations do not interest us.

Most academic psychologists and psychiatrists do not believe the Milgram “experiments” represent anything, as the data was fudged. A quick google search will lead to several critical articles.

". . . directing Jews to the ovens." I think you meant "to the 'showers'," or "to the gas chambers." The "ovens" (crematoria) only came into play after the people had been killed.

Before we all throw our hands up at the fallibility of the human condition, couldn't this just all be selection bias? I mean, if I was producing this, I would select 10 people to be in an episode based on some judgement that they were psychologically a little off. Then I would try to make 10 episodes, and then cull the ones where the people did not react as I wanted them to.

It would be cost effective, because if someone didn't fall for the first push, you just move on to the next. So you create an effective filter for psychopaths. Must see TV!

I watched the Netflix movie, The Push. I think the actors were in on it. If you watch the half-hearted way the other participants "push" the man at the end, something seems off. The real tragedy of the modern world is that as long as everyone is getting paid, nothing will change. Here, there is no incentive for anyone--the actors, the producers, the corporation, etc.--to admit they're engaging in anything other than a farce. And so it goes.

Fake fake fake fake, if you believe this crap you also think hillary is innocent

Come on. Is everyone this gullible? All of these “subjects” were ACTORS too. It will come out very soon. For God sakes, there were people who were convinced for weeks that “The Blair witch project” was real! Think this ‘Push’ was all real and that these people were not actors? Prove it. You cant can you? Just look at the reactions of the 4 people involved. No anger. No tears of frustration or relief. Just an “awe shucks, ya got me”. B.S. And btw…take a good close look at the 3 people who “murdered” the man. All 3 of them look like drug addicted degenerates. $50,000 and the signing of a non disclosure agreement looks like it would be mighty enticing to any of those three miscreants. No my friends; those 4 people were not had. For it was you who have been had. Thats the REAL manipulation

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