Adorno argues that the cultural products produced by the culture industry are all equivalent. This is in part because all culture is reduced to profit, thus all culture is simply a number. Further, Adorno sets forth six characteristics (see your PowerPoint slides) that describe the cultural products produced by the culture industry as predictable, repetitive, standardized, formulaic and ubiquitous.
Additionally, Adorno argues that “real” or “proper” culture, which inherently cannot be produced by the culture industry, is a piece of art that induces conflict and contradiction. This type of culture or art will cause discomfort for the viewer and challenge their typical assumptions about the world. Perhaps most importantly, “real” or “proper” culture for Adorno is not standardized or formulaic.
For this assignment you are required to find and report on two specific cultural/media products: one that clearly demonstrates Adorno’s argument about standardized culture and one cultural product that is closer to Adorno’s “real culture” and thus, demonstrates that Adorno’s assessment of the culture industry’s products is not always accurate. For the purposes of this assignment the cultural products you choose need to be represented within either the movie, music, or television industries. That is, choose one movie, musician, album, song, or television program to demonstrate standardization and one to demonstrate “real” culture. At the end of the assignment please provide me with a link to a page that demonstrates the existence of the cultural products you are assessing. This could be a wiki page, a YouTube video, an article about the product, or even a link to purchase the product.
Once you have found and chosen these products you will need to argue and describe why these cultural products either support or contradict Adorno’s arguments. This will in part necessitate comparison to other cultural products with which you are familiar. I recommend going down the list of characteristics Adorno provides, one by one and assessing the cultural product you are investigating with regard to that characteristic. That is, in what ways is the product predictable, repetitive, formulaic, and standardized? Or, for your contradictory example of ‘good’ or ‘serious’ culture, explain how it is not predictable, repetitive, formulaic, and standardized but instead critical, contradictory, and challenging. Be very specific about how the cultural product highlights or contradicts each characteristic.
Be sure to answer every part of each of the questions; be clear and concise and you should be able to complete this assignment in around 2-3 pages. You are required to type up and submit a copy of this assignment on Blackboard by the due date. Be sure to follow the following format: double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 point Times New Roman font.
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