The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture (Routledge Classics)

The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture (Routledge Classics)

Theodor W. Adorno

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0415253802

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The creation of the Frankfurt School of critical theory in the 1920s saw the birth of some of the most exciting and challenging writings of the twentieth century. It is out of this background that the great critic Theodor Adorno emerged. His finest essays are collected here, offering the reader unparalleled insights into Adorno's thoughts on culture. He argued that the culture industry commodified and standardized all art. In turn this suffocated individuality and destroyed critical thinking. At the time, Adorno was accused of everything from overreaction to deranged hysteria by his many detractors. In today's world, where even the least cynical of consumers is aware of the influence of the media, Adorno's work takes on a more immediate significance. The Culture Industry is an unrivalled indictment of the banality of mass culture.

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life, perpetuates the sublime’s violent repression of desire without the concomitant moment of release. By this route postmodernism’s presumptive affirmation, by offering what is repression as satisfaction, makes the moment of self-negation permanent and thus an unintended celebration of death.48 Because postmodernist practice alters the empirical world without transforming it, its abstract affirmations belie the despair that sustains it. That despair manifests itself in aggression and violence,

the latter and makes it disappear unnoticed behind the apparatus, just as certain swamp-drainings by labour detachments take place not for their own sake but for that of the work. Not for nothing does the rule of the established conductor remind one of that of the totalitarian Fuhrer. Like the latter, he reduces aura and organization to a common denominator. He is the real modern type of the virtuoso, as bandleader as well as in the Philharmonic. He has got to the point where he no longer has to

the word culture cannot be avoided; this proves to what a degree the category, correctly criticized hundreds of times, is both fitting for and dedicated to the world as it is - namely to the administrated world. Nonetheless, no half-way sensitive person can overcome the discomfort conditioned by his consciousness of a culture which is indeed administrated. As Eduard Steuermann once formulated it, the more that is done for culture, the worse it fares. This paradox could be developed as follows:

was neither so sharp nor so deep as it now is. Works of art did not, for example, reflect upon their own autonomy and upon the formal law unique to each of them; rather they had their place within given contexts, within which they fulfilled a function, no matter how immediate it was. They did not yet assert their existence as works of art to the degree which was later to seem almost a matter of course; it was precisely this factor from which the fullness and comprehensiveness of their success -

wholly disconnected from individual and collective ego aims. On the contrary, it is cases where rational self-interest as normally understood is pushed to extremes so as to become irrational, the historical fate of reason presented in Dialectic of Enlightenment, that are to be studied. The surface rationality of the common sense advice proffered by astrology columns corresponds to this premise. Such columns are far from esoteric in what they advise; for example, today is a good day to avoid

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