PAMELA VALFER
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Video
Sound: Adorno “Culture Industry Reconsidered”
11:32 (on loop)
2016
“In her book on Adorno, Culture Industry Revisited: Theodor W. Adorno on Mass Culture, Deborah Cook begins with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave and states, “Adorno transformed, in broad but clear strokes, the ancient allegory of the cave into an explosive critique of the culture industry.” The idea is that people prefer the cave and its shadows to the reality outside in the bright sunlight, but the real question is why? Why do people prefer the commodity to class equality? Why do people while away hours in a darkened theater? Marx, long before Freud, understood that the commodity was a “symptom” of a desire for something else, and Adorno connected Marx and Freud through the Culture Industry, the cave of the masses. As Adorno wrote, “This dreamless art for the people fulfills the dreamy idealism which went too far for idealism in its critical form.” Parenthetically, it should be pointed out that the “psychology” of the culture industry differed between Germany and America. In Germany, the culture industry, especially under the Nazis, led the citizens into regressive pleasures and towards a narcissistic worship of the “Leader,” Adolf Hitler. In America, the culture industry distracts the view of the people away from economic and social issues and points them towards the pleasure of escapism through entertainment. – Theodor Adorno and “The Culture Industry” by Jeanne Wilette, 2012, Art History Unstuffed http://arthistoryunstuffed.com/theodor-adorno-and-the-culture-industry/
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