Thursday, October 13, 2005

culture as pleasure or pain

to analyze culture (as in movies and tv and advertisments) we could turn into little maxes and theos (adorno and horkeimer) and decide that the culture industry produces little more (or nothing more) than pleasure which is not real content, as in, pleasure has no substance, no thought. or we could think more rationally, read texts more thoughtfully and critically, teach others (in our classes) not that culture is bad, but that we should all think about what we are watching, how we are participating in media and visual culture in our lives today.

See Adorno and Horkeimer on the Cutlture Industry. See also pop culture critique (link to the right to Slayage) and know that it is possible to both critique (as in analyze critically for better or for worse) and to still love that favorite tv show. But is that even the point? Do we stay away from critique b/c we are afraid it will ruin the pleasure of our favorite movies and tv shows? I don't buy that. If the movie we love is reinforcing stereotypes that we are also buying into, than maybe that's something to challenge. There are plenty of other movies out there to 'love' right? But if we, as thinking people, learn to be aware of all sorts of social issues (inequality in pay, prejudices against service-sector workers who are subject to regular and random drug testing, race relation issues, immigration issues and treatment of mexican workers......) why are we not also encouraged to think about how the corporate media is pervasive and instrumental in forming culture around us whether we are aware of it or not? If we critique our politicians why not critique the media conglomerates as well as the movies and the advertisements themselves which probably have as much or more power over us, over our ideas about our places in society, etc. The process and representation of the presidential elections is a clear example that we need to read our media critically and learn more about what is going on in and around our lives daily.

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