Diet Soap Podcast Rerun: The Dialectical Imagination

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The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School is the subject of discussion with guest professor Martin Jay in this philosophy podcast. Professor Martin Jay is the author of The Dialectical Imagination, and this book written in 1968 was a philosophical history outlining the critical theories of the Frankfurt School philosophers. This is a repeat of episode #93. The conversation especially focuses on the ideas of Theodor Adorno. The music in this episode includes clips from the 1910 Fruitgum Factory’s Simon SaysSchoenberg’s String Quartet No 2, the Icelandic band Mum’s composition They Made Frogs Smoke Until They Exploded, and Theodor Adorno’s Streichquartet. Also featured is Miriam’s Titanic Factoid.

Here’s an excerpt from Adorno’s “The Culture Industry:Enlightenment as Mass Deception”

THE sociological theory that the loss of the support of objectively established religion, the dissolution of the last remnants of pre-capitalism, together with technological and social differentiation or specialisation, have led to cultural chaos is disproved every day; for culture now impresses the same stamp on everything.

Films, radio and magazines make up a system which is uniform as a whole and in every part. Even the aesthetic activities of political opposites are one in their enthusiastic obedience to the rhythm of the iron system. The decorative industrial management buildings and exhibition centers in authoritarian countries are much the same as anywhere else. The huge gleaming towers that shoot up everywhere are outward signs of the ingenious planning of international concerns, toward which the unleashed entrepreneurial system (whose monuments are a mass of gloomy houses and business premises in grimy, spiritless cities) was already hastening. Even now the older houses just outside the concrete city centres look like slums, and the new bungalows on the outskirts are at one with the flimsy structures of world fairs in their praise of technical progress and their built-in demand to be discarded after a short while like empty food cans.

 

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