Cultural Progress? It’s All the Same.

Theodor Adorno claims that “What parades as progress in the culture industry, as the incessantly new which it offers up, remains the disguise for an eternal sameness; everywhere the changes mask a skeleton which has changed just as little as the profit motive itself since the time it first gained predominance over culture” (100). Adorno is saying that everything that is produced as culture as “new,” is really the same thing it was before, just changed a little. The product has changed just as much as the desire for profit — very little — since everything “culture” became something to make a profit off of. Adorno says that everything we see around us can be traced back to something else, for example English novels of centuries past (100). The culture industry simply reproduces the same the same things in different ways.

Everything we see around us is the same. All the culture around us is regurgitated ideas just with different content. For example, new movies come out every month, yet what Hollywood is fascinated with right now (and doing a poor job of) is the making of novels as movies and remaking movies of the past. These movies are the same thing as the novels (Gnomeo and Juliet) and previous shows/movies (Winnie the Pooh), just done a slightly different way with perhaps different actors and more current settings and word choices that draw in the people/cash. Movies claim “new, new, new,” but the only thing “new” about it is that they have destroyed the original story by making it present day — full of cuss words, sex, things people pay to see. Even the movies that are not remakes have the same storyline as most other movies (two people falling in love, a fight or complication, they come back together again and have a happy ending), but with different situations. This is a very cynical point of view, but at the same time, I am starting to not want to watch movies anymore because it is the same thing over and over again; nothing new, nothing original is being presented. Remakes are swift and easy and bound to bring in a profit. This concept can be likened to a toothpaste or taco sauce container — “New Look! Same Great Product/Taste!” The change of appearance is supposed to draw new customers in (especially if the packaging has changed to reflect a more “green” society).

Work Cited
Adorno, Theodor. “Culture Industry Reconsidered.”  The Culture Industry:        Selected essays on Mass Culture. New York: Routledge, 1991. 98-106.

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About Allison L. Goodman

I am a stay-at-home wife and mother. I fill my days making taking care of my daughter, encouraging others, cooking meals for my family, managing my resources through DIY projects, and writing.
This entry was posted in Cinema, Criticism, Culture, Film, Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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