" Thus in today’s China one confronts the paradox of a communist regime that is at ideological loggerheads with left-leaning intellectuals, but which finds pro-Western, liberal intellectuals on the whole quite congenial." Richard Wolin is Dreaming In Chinese...
"The theories and opinions of the German philosopher Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno
(1903-1969) on popular music and the culture industry are still highly influential in the domain of media studies. His thoughts about these subjects were very critical
, pessimistic even. Adorno analysed the workings of the culture industry in terms of 'standardization
' and used the concept of 'pseudo-individualization
' to describe its effects on the listeners.
Vonnegut Weighs in on the State of the Union. As a writer and artist, have you noticed any difference between how the cultural leaders of the past and the cultural leaders of today view their responsibility to society?
Responsibility to which society? To Nazi Germany? To the Stalinist Soviet Union? What about responsibility to humanity in general? And leaders in what particular cultural activity? I guess you mean the fine arts. I hope you mean the fine arts. ... Anybody practicing the fine art of composing music, no matter how cynical or greedy or scared, still can't help serving all humanity. Music makes practically everybody fonder of life than he or she would be without it. Even military bands, although I am a pacifist, always cheer me up.
The Baffler offices have been destroyed in a fire.
From their frontpage: "[W]e have no computers, no contact lists, no rolodexes, no desks, and no desk lamps." Those of you familiar with The Baffler, or their book Commodify Your Dissent, know that they are a great source for acute cultural criticism. If this fire deals them a fatal blow, the world will have lost one of its finest publications. (Follow the link for information on where to send donations.)