The Culture Industry and Society Today

The Culture Industry, according to Horkheimer and Adorno, stunts an individual’s ability to think and act for themselves. According to the authors, this Culture Industry that was created first through silent films and radio (and later TV and social media), is what is restricting members in society from being their own person.

I will admit, at first glance, this article was extremely difficult to read and comprehend. It took me a few different tries to make it through this reading, but in the end, I feel as though it opened my eyes to the electronic world that we live in today.

Horkheimer and Adorno stated two different types of media: Broadcast Media and Network Media. In their words, Broadcast Media is the process in which media is being presented from one source to many people. For example, the two authors had radio in mind when they discussed Broadcast Media. A radio is a single source; however, it broadcasts to many people at one time. On the other hand, Network Media also has multiple sources that present media to multiple people at a time. For example, this can now be compared to the Internet as well as the various forms of social media. Horkheimer and Adorno believed that nobody can escape the Culture Industry and even though this piece was written many years ago, this still holds true in society today.

While walking around Monmouth University’s campus, I would say that 90% of students are on their phones. Personally, I am guilty of this very action. However, it makes me think back to the authors statement about how no one is able to escape the Culture Industry. Not only the students at this university, but millions of people around the world are constantly glued to their cell phones or iPad’s, repeatedly refreshing various news sources involving the Culture Industry looking for the latest updates. However, many people in today’s society forget the here and now and do not even speak to the people around them. So like Horkheimer and Adorno, none of these people are able to escape the Culture Industry.

While their writing was extremely difficult to read through, Horkheimer and Adorno wrote words that still hold true today. I hope that soon, individuals in society (myself included) will not allow the Culture Industry to control their lives as frequently as it does now. Let’s actually enjoy the beautiful view in front of us as opposed to posting a picture of it on Instagram and wondering how many likes we will get.

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One Reply to “The Culture Industry and Society Today”

  1. Adorno and Horkheimer never addressed network media because they only knew broadcast media. That was just an example Professor Van Cleaf used to help us distinguish the two. However, I like how you pulled the idea of how people consume culture through their phones today similarly to how people consumed culture through films, radio, newspapers, and magazines in the 1940’s. I also liked how you connected the controlling nature the media has over consumers minds and ultimately actions. Next time, I would just include some quotations from the text to show what the authors said instead of generally mentioning what they talked about in the reading.

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