Theodor Adorno on Mass Culture

The cultural philosopher Theodor Adorno was one of the Central figures in my attraction to philosophy and cinema – even though he was pessimistic about the cultural value of cinema. 

‘What is individual is no more than the generality’s power to stamp the accidental detail so firmly that it is accepted as such. The defiant reserve or elegant appearance of the individual on show is mass-produced like Yale locks, whose only difference can be measured in fractions of millimetres.’ (1)

An aspect of Hollywood is the adaption and capture of an individual trait and the use of it until it becomes cliche. The faces of many film stars are moulded to seem individual yet they are shockingly similar to either a contemporary or past film star. In the future I will write an article concerning Adorno and Horkheimer’s beliefs about the deceptive and degrading nature of cinema however i felt a tip-bit of their cynical outlook was interesting enough to post now.

 

(1) Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer ‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception’ in Simon During (ed), The Cultural Studies Reader, London: Routledge, (1994), pp. 29-43 p. 41.

Published by

A.R. Duckworth

South Yorkshire England

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