WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

"The way he speaks and lies and bombards voters..."

What makes Sunny sunny? Sometimes? Finding out interesting, thoughtful things. Ideas! Things to roll around in my over-charged little brain. For instance, this article from Vox: "If You Want to Understand the Age of Trump, Read the Frankfort School."

I just love the idea that there is a school of thought to draw upon. And to find out that it's a school made up of an "all-star crew of lefty theorists," well, it makes me think that some of my time spent nosing about in philosophical texts in college wasn't a total waste. I realize I actually did read some Walter Benjamin!

"Neo-Marxists hoping for a socialist revolution..." Oh those were the days... this is the gist of their critical theory, it seems totally unassailable today:

"A guiding belief of the Frankfurt School, notably among Adorno and Horkheimer, was that mass culture, in all its forms, was a prop for totalitarian capitalism. The idea was that art, in late-capitalist society, had been reduced to a cultural commodity. Critical theory sought to expose this by rigorously examining the products of popular culture. In particular, they tried to show how culture became a stealth vehicle for the inculcation of capitalist values."

Pop Culture has won the day! It is oh so shiny, oh so seductive. It permeates everything. And we willingly surrender ourselves, and submit to the apotheosis of Pop! And yes, it's a consumerist, capitalistic paradise. We willingly give up all of our freedoms and privacy in order to shop more efficiently!

Okay so right, so far... and then there's this, which, right about now, seems prophetic and profound:

"Adorno warned of an American “culture industry” that stunted critical inquiry and, over time, blurred the distinction between truth and fiction, between the commercial and the political."

Bingo! We are definitely in the time and place where fiction beats truth, and commercial beats political every time! Trump!

Anyway, I recommend the article and the interview with Stuart Jefferies.  It seems so smart and of the moment, and sort of helps you get your head around what's been happening. Here's Jefferies on Trump:

"From the perspective of critical theory, Trump is clearly a product of a mass media age. The way he speaks and lies and bombards voters — this is a way of controlling people, especially people who don't have a sense of history. I saw the same thing in the months leading up the Brexit vote earlier this year: the lying, the fear-mongering, the hysteria. Mass media allows for a kind of collective hypnosis, and to some extent that is what we’re seeing."

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