The Culture Industry
Culture is a succession of human beliefs, knowledge and behavior that revolve around a certain social setting. In every society, they will have their own cultural norms that are practiced by the majority of the people. This, therefore, creates the idea of the popular culture where ideas, attitudes, and perspectives are preferred in a given culture (Adorno, & Horkheimer, 2002). Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer critically review culture in their topic “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” This paper discusses the relationship between Adorno and Horkheimer’s depiction of the culture industry and the argument advanced in the film Rip: A Remix Manifesto. It gives how this film conflicts Adorno and Horkheimer’s notion of the culture industry.
Adorno and Horkheimer argue that the media i.e. radio, films and magazines introduce popular culture to the masses as an enlightenment which in turn erodes people’s norms and cultures. The people continue emulating what is in the movies and what they hear on the radio and it is considered a pop culture. The authors’ state “Real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies… hence the film forces its victims to equate it directly with reality” (Adorno, & Horkheimer, 2002). The individuals already practice what the producers classify for them as fashionable and, hence, their artistic dreams are controlled by what they see rather than what they believe in or able to do.
The film Rip: A Remix Manifesto talks about the issue of using copyrights for free. This makes it easy for people to use the materials in any art work developed and create their own (Gaylor, 2009). The documentary calls for the change in the copyright laws to allow free use and Brett Gaylor supports the idea that other artists have the right to use other people’s work without restrictions. Though this is a campaign against the copyright laws it could be accepted by some people who would find it effortless to create work and benefit from already done art work.
In both Adorno and Horkheimer’s view and Brett Gaylor’s view they all give the idea of adopting people’s ideas and thoughts and implementing them. However, for Adorno and Horkheimer, they see it as a bad influence since the norms and culture of the people are eroded (Witkin, 2003). In addition, the good morals are replaced by the manipulative and biased culture which only reflects the ideas of few individuals. This includes issues such as fashion where it comes to replace existing cultures. This means that they oppose the issue of culture industry where they argue that it is used to exploit and manipulate the consumers and the masses. It is used by the companies to express compliance and pleasures that will make the masses passive and content notwithstanding their economic situation. This will never make them innovative or creative it kills their ambitions and originality since they want to be someone else and they will try to emulate them.
In Brett Gaylor’s case he supports the idea of pop culture in that he proposes the use of other people’s work especially if it pleases them. This makes it easy for the popular culture to circulate in that. People develop on the popular artwork and it makes people believe more in it. If the copyrights laws that Brett argues for are passed, then originality and creativity will be suppressed in that artists will not be driven to produce their own liking (Gaylor, 2009). Brett favors the idea of people using other people’s work but Adorno and Horkheimer do not support it. While Brett argues the idea will enhance creativity, Adorno and Horkheimer argue that it is used to erode culture and brainwash the masses to believe in different ideas.
According to Adorno and Horkheimer’s ideas language, pleasures, entertainment would be better with originality, while Brett proposes improving the already developed popular ideas. Each of these ideas has its advantages and disadvantages. However, Adorno and Horkheimer’s theory is convincing since it pushes for original and basic concepts that are developed to enhance society rather than exploit it.