"The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception" - Horkheimer & Adorno
2. Describe what the "culture industry" is, according to H & A. Through what primary technologies is mass culture produced? Discuss the authors' example of the technological advance from telephone to radio. What are they saying about how this transformation changes the position of the consumer? (p. 386). Think about the title of this article-- "Enlightenment as Mass Deception." What happened to the "freedoms" of the Enlightenment in the mass culture industry of advanced capitalism, according to H & A? In other words, are we really "free" in the culture industry, or what kind of freedoms do we really have? Do you agree with this theory?
The influence of pop culture is undeniable. Attempting to stray from forms of mass media, therefore, proves to be a difficult task. Pop culture appears nothing more than a factory producing meagre culture goods in order to reduce the masses to a state of emotionlessness and indifference. And by means of film, television, music, and magazines the people at large are brained washed by their consumption of such simple pleasures, resulting in a more lethargic and easy to shape, mould and manage, general public. While members of society desperately seek avenues to stand out as individuals, they are continually led into the machine that the Culture Industry, which is theorized in depth by Adorno and Horkheimer. It is through this industry that a culture is produced and force-fed to a population and begins the process of manipulating their interests. As culture becomes standardized, people become passive and contented by continually consuming mass media. Adorno drives this point home when he says, "freedom to choose an ideology-since ideology always reflects economic coercion-everywhere proves to be freedom to choose what is always the same" (pg. 389) With the ever-growing advertising industry, this statement is becoming harder to deny. As members of society continues to seek in individuality, Adorno emphasizes the growing blurring between what is artificial and what is real. People are constantly being convinced that if they invest in a certain product, that they will achieve power, control, distinction, or some other grand prize that will boost them above others. This is witnessed today in celebrity culture, with that elite class of people being the ideal. The path to this ideal, unfortunately, is no more unique for one person than the next. the producers with the culture industry simply employ the pleasure-seeker as another customer and treat him like the rest. Ultimately, the consumer of the Culture Industry is doomed for a continually degenerating sense of individualism."Technology acquires power over society is the power of those whose economic hold over society is the greatest.The step from the telephone to the radio has clearly distinguished the roles" (pg.386), in this age we are losing our subjectivity and we are all the time judged by the market value exchanged system which makes different between appearance and reality. Enlightenment brought the ideology of utility of art and encouraged mass production which eventually turned out to be a mass deception. I don't think that we are really "free" when the mass media shapes and influences our reality. It's not easy to make rational decisions of their own, when the mass media takes over consumers powers of imagination. I do agree with this theory because it only makes sense. Capitalist and Culture Industry has enormous control over society and changed the mind thinking of many consumers. They produce what is ideal but not reality. And with that being said, consumers tend to believe such illusion and easily deceived in believing such deception. It exist in our society. It had changed many traditions over the past years and pretty much developed and illusionary tradition and reality of their own.