Politics Literature and Arts Term Paper

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jazz and the culture industry? Is Adorno simply an elitist or is there something useful you can appropriate from his argument? What connections can you draw from Benjamin and the "Andalusia Dog?"

Theodor Adorno was clearly inspired by Walter Benjamin, from whom he founded his philosophy of modern art, versus fine or popular art. Adorno constructed a theory of the modern art movement, as embodied in such early surrealist films as "The Andulasian Dog," that stressed that fine art was primarily characterized by a sense of formal autonomy within its structures. This is unlike modern art, which was the social antithesis of society. Jazz, for example, in its ideal form, is atonal and improvisational in its nature. It is of the moment, and of the individual artist's creation, rather than a creation of formal structures purely and calculatedly designed to please the larger populace. In its purest form, jazz is not produced in a capitalist factory of music, or in a capitalist-driven recording session, in a studio with prefabricated sounds, stars, and lyrics.

Yet jazz can become a product of a cultural industry. Once jazz is commodified and rendered into standard structures of music, jazz can be sold, once it has escaped the margins of society and escaped the clubs and jazz joints that used to purvey it in improvisational form. It becomes recorded, and rendered into Christmas carols,
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funny records for the consumptions of children songs and teen love ditties, rather than something expressive of an individual artist.

Thus, for, Adorno the only authentic works of art are modern or non-consumer driven art. Art must be driven by the artist and a natural part of culture, not the marketplace. It is not the nature of the production, whether jazz or surrealism, bebop or cubism, songs about teen angst and pictures of puppies, but whether those works are rendered into standard and souless commodies, as opposed to sites of production that are used to express the individual artist and to challenge the ear and eye of the listener or viewer.

Thus, in contrast to modern art or music, the creation of popular art, regardless of the form or the media, invariably reflects and reveals itself to a mere asthetic product of capitalism and consumerism. It is fed to people with the intention of fueling the productive impulses of the 'culture industry,' the consumerist ideology that stands in opposition to an authentic vision of art that is truly embedded in the population's cultural consciousness. Popular art merely keeps the populace in a state of passive but false satiation of their desires, and rendered them into unthinking, politically apathetic beings.

The culture industries of movies, music, and popular photographic and graphic images merely churn out sentimental products, not real and thinking art.

If this argument sounds elitist, and overly damming of popular art --…

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