Market Penetration of VCRs and Other Technologies
The Home Theater and Cocooning
Main movie-going is by young people on dates.
Families are retreating to “home theaters.”
Cocooning is a general trend in the US.
Digital technology already used in film production and post-production.
Studios use the Internet to advertise products.
Digital technology will be used increasingly for distribution.
Main Members of the Frankfurt School
Need to see the school as an offshoot of Marxism, with key issues being the failure of the European masses to rise to support the revolution in Russia and the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s .
Key Ideas of Theodor Adorno
Popular culture in capitalist societies creates a false sense of “needs” in the public, thereby serving the dominant capitalist classes
Cultural goods become commodified and fetishized and judged on the basis of their exchange value and not their intrinsic value
Diddy Mercedes Commercial
The Creation of False Needs
“ Capitalist productive forces are capable, according to the [Frankfurt] School, of producing such vast amounts of wealth through waste production like military expenditure that ‘false needs’ can be created and met.”
Source: Dominic Strinati, An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture, p. 59.
Elements of Theodor Adorno’s Theory of Commodity Fetishism
Taking off from Marx’s distinction between exchange value and use value of commodities, Adorno says exchange value dominates use value in capitalist society via commodity fetishism = “the fantastic form of a relation” defined by a thing (money) and the value of objects in capitalist consumer societies
Source: Strinati, p. 57.
Adorno on the Culture Industry
“ The culture industry intentionally integrates its consumers from above.”
“ The customer is not king, as the culture industry would have us believe, not its subject but its object.”
“ .. The concepts of order which it hammers into human beings are always those of the status quo.”
Source: Strinati, pp. 62-63.
Theories of Walter Benjamin
Marginal member of the Frankfurt School
His major work, The Arcades project, was partially lost when Benjamin attempted to escape Nazi-occupied France by walking over the border to Spain.
Benjamin’s Ideas about Commodities
“ The dreams of the capitalist era are embodied in commodities. In their ensemble these constitute a phantasmagoria, constantly changing shape according to the tides of fashion, and offered to crowds of enchanted worshippers as the embodiment of their deepest desires.”
Source: Essay on Benjamin by J.M. Coetzee at http://lists.tamil.com/lists/it/2001-01/msg00053.html
The Origins of Postmodernism
Rejection of the ideologies of the 19th century in light of the two World Wars and the holocaust.
Rejection of objectivity as the sole criterion of truth.
Emphasis on the importance multiple perspectives.
Consumption rather than production
Growing importance of:
Meta-narratives are in decline along with class-based categories like family, neighborhood, religion, trade unions, and the nation-state. Strinati, pp. 238-9.
Postmodernism and Contemporary Cinema
“ From the postmodern point of view, contemporary cinema is seen to be indulging in nostalgia, living off its past, ransacking it for ideas, recycling its images and plots and cleverly citing it in self-conscious postmodern parodies.”
Strinati, p. 243.
Characteristics of Postmodernist Style
Emphasis on style, spectacle, special effects instead of character, substance, narrative and social commitment