The Culture Industry

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« on: March 03, 2020, 04:24:41 pm »
The Culture Industry - Adorno, Horkheimer, Neomarxism and Ideology

I've touched on this elsewhere here, about how modern movies, shows, books and so on are products of "The Culture Industry" and less of "art."  The emphasis here on on products, that is, things made to make money, not really on things meant to express much of anything aside the perpetuation of the current paradigm.  The video does well to explain how this leads directly to "risk aversion" and also how this paradigm leads right to the subversion of subversion of that paradigm.  Even criticism of the dominant paradigm is recycled back though and sold as a product to be consumed.

To me, a recapitalization of "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," of course.  The video does all this much better than my writeup could be, and is relatively short (less than 20 minutes).  As always, I look forward to no one watching it,  :P
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2020, 07:44:16 pm »
I haven't finished watching it, about 11 minutes in - interesting discussion. I would say that there's some truth to this, but I don't see it the same way. The problem with statements ( bp ) like capitalism -> unacceptable income disparity -> pop culture quashes revolution is the subtext that it's by design. Our increase in our standard of living can account for that just as easily. Freedom of speech can as well ( we can freely see we all disagree - revolution requires cohesion to flame ). Plenty of "poor" kids in this country wearing brand new $1,000 shoes. Which came first - the demand for popular culture or the design/selling of popular culture. We're going to see all kinds of patterns in complex connected systems for which modern democracies have grown up to be. Patterns can be organic, circumstantial or simply perceived falsely - conspiracy is a common conclusion of the those "interested" but not interested enough to round out their research.

Anyways - I'm going to finish it and spend more time on my thinking, just wanted to jot this down so I don't forget my first impressions. It's good stuff, I'm not being "critical", just adding to the conversation that many observations on our culture/reality have some truth and interesting insights, but none seem to capture the whole picture - maybe because we honestly don't agree, honestly can't see the same things and the complexity of life is simply too much for any one "capture" to be accurate - and even if/when someone does "speak truth", change makes it harder still ( what's true today may not be tomorrow ). I think it would be a more powerful presentation without judgement ( don't use words like bleak, etc ).

Even if it's all true - maybe worth it to have a life with decreasing civil violence, stability, time for family, etc. I would happily throw all of this in the trash for time with my family, etc.

EDIT: aaah, now that I've finished it ( stupid of me to comment before doing so ), it's end point is excellent - the catharsis of watching social justice stymieing social justice. that is pretty good.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 08:19:00 pm by TaoHorror »
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 08:18:31 pm »
I haven't finished watching it, about 11 minutes in - interesting discussion. I would say that there's some truth to this, but I don't see it the same way. The problem with statements ( bp ) like capitalism -> unacceptable income disparity -> pop culture quashes revolution is the subtext that it's by design. Our increase in our standard of living can account for that just as easily. Freedom of speech can as well ( we can freely see we all disagree - revolution requires cohesion to flame ). Plenty of "poor" kids in this country wearing brand new $1,000 shoes. Which came first - the demand for popular culture or the design/selling of popular culture. We're going to see all kinds of patterns in complex connected systems for which modern democracies have grown up to be. Patterns can be organic, circumstantial or simply perceived falsely - conspiracy is a common conclusion of the those "interested" but not interested enough to round out their research.

Well, first, I think you need to place the concept within the frame they were looking at it in.  That is, within the frame that consumerism is a sort of "panacea" to the alienation of being sort of "estranged" to your labor.  So, (and I think he does cover this later in the video) capitalism requires that estrangement, that estrangement leads to alienation, consumerism (and a materialistic way of thinking) is what is "offered" in recompense.

I don't think it is incorrect to challenge Adorno and Horkheimer's notion of it being specifically counter-revolutionary (like you allude to, we don't need to assume everyone is revolutionary until dissuaded to be) however that doesn't mean that what they are sort of "documenting" with the concept of the culture industry isn't happening, it just might not be happening for the reason they thought it was.

Quote
Anyways - I'm going to finish it and spend more time on my thinking, just wanted to jot this down so I don't forget my first impressions. It's good stuff, I'm not being "critical", just adding to the conversation that many observations on our culture/reality have some truth and interesting insights, but none seem to capture the whole picture - maybe because we honestly don't agree, honestly can't see the same things and the complexity of life is simply too much for any one "capture" to be accurate - and even if/when someone does "speak truth", change makes it harder still ( what's true today may not be tomorrow ). I think it would be a more powerful presentation without judgement ( don't use words like bleak, etc ).

Even if it's all true - maybe worth it to have a life with decreasing civil violence, stability, time for family, etc. I would happily throw all of this in the trash for time with my family, etc.

First, I think we should always be critical.  In fact, to me, that is the whole point.  Second, of course, nothing can capture the complexity of the whole, minus the whole itself.  So, every philosophy, science, whatever, is always going to be a sort of heuristic attempting to make something sensible by looking only at certain particulars.

See, to me, it doesn't need to be some conspiracy theory, or a shadow plan by evil agents.  It is as simple as "good business."  Media conglomerates don't need to meet in dark rooms at odd hours, to simply perpetuate a system that does what was outlined above.  They don't need specifically counter-revolutionary ideas, or ideology.  All they need is profit motive.  It's not really media conglomerates who alienated labor, it isn't them who made it the case that consumerism is need as the amelioration to that.  No, they are just trying to make money.

The issue though, bottom line though, is, as you point out, you'd throw it all away for time with your family.  Why does the whole thing alienate us from them though, in the first place?  That is really where the critique starts, right?  Why do we lapse to consumerism at all, when what we really wanted was community/family/genuine interaction.  Does that make sense, in a way, to see why undertake the critique at all?

Far be it from me to think that the concept of Culture Industry is anything like an "answer."  To me, it is just an observation, one that rings true to me in a lot of ways.  But, like anything else, it is not perfect.  Not by a longshot
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 08:26:30 pm »
I updated my post - I should've finished it before responding, his final point is excellent. I think he's on to something with the catharsis experienced watching/buying revolution ( or whatever dissatisfaction of the day ) in lieu of acting on it. That is going on - all sorts of social issues are treated in popular culture which do not drive/inspire something be done about it. Just the awareness ( enjoyment? ) of the problem solves it.
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 08:28:45 pm »
This is more easily seen in politics - connect with dissatisfaction and you can get elected, you don't have to address the issue once elected, mission accomplished. And I say this as someone who enjoys politics. It's simply monumentally easier/more fun to raise hell and express that sentiment by supporting an election - much more work/not fun to get elected people to do something.
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2020, 08:36:50 pm »
I updated my post - I should've finished it before responding, his final point is excellent. I think he's on to something with the catharsis experienced watching/buying revolution ( or whatever dissatisfaction of the day ) in lieu of acting on it. That is going on - all sorts of social issues are treated in popular culture which do not drive/inspire something be done about it. Just the awareness ( enjoyment? ) of the problem solves it.

Right, now, maybe that is a "good" thing, in the sense of maintaining social order, but is it a "good thing" in rectifying what the issue itself is?

If you have time, you might want to see the video I posted the other day about the "gamification" of public discourse, which touches on the notion of "moral outrage" gaming for the sake of the same sort of catharsis.  That is, like porn, enjoyment from the superficial "engagement" with the topic, without the consequences of actual engagement.

This is more easily seen in politics - connect with dissatisfaction and you can get elected, you don't have to address the issue once elected, mission accomplished. And I say this as someone who enjoys politics. It's simply monumentally easier/more fun to raise hell and express that sentiment by supporting an election - much more work/not fun to get elected people to do something.

Yeah, which isn't surprising, since there is so much money in politics.  So, would it be any wonder that the same "rules" apply?  To me, no, not at all.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira