Hector Rottweiller


Bashing out notes for a lecture/text on the Culture Industry. Reading Adorno’s essay ‘National Socialism and the Arts’. He wrote this in 1946, but I think he might have meant it to be read today. When he talks about the social and political situation of popular music after the second imperialist world war – as the continuation/modification of the spirit that birthed Hitler – I can only think this resonates with the way commercialization has been totally operationalized in the situation of imperialism today. Or maybe worse, in a way, well, that might have made both Adorno and the Nazi’s blush. Sure, there is still a lot of examples where you can point to ‘oppositional’ elements in music, and the injunction that ‘nothing should be moist’ (Adorno) still has not taken hold absolutely everywhere, but sometimes even the moisture just tastes like a ‘sexual lozenge’ (Leiris) we are sold to keep us quiet. Adorno pointed out how it would be an error to think there ‘ever sprung to life a specifically musical Nazi culture’ but, rather, what was ‘profoundly changed by the system was the function of music which now openly became a means to an end, a propaganda device’ (Adorno 1945/2002:283 [Essays on Music]). The exponential exacerbation of this tendency today is not just the use of quaint guitar pop to introduce political leaders – Fleetwood Mac for Clinton, Oasis and Bliar, Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ for U.S. Gulf War Generals, but the all pervasive trivializing of music in every sphere of our lives as mere flavour and colour. No longer rhythm and sonorous life, just the clitter clutter of the new aural gadgetry. Should we be bothered (?) that: music on music-television has become mere jingles for lifestyle shows and fashion shoots; ring-tone downloads reduce melody to mechanical alarms; football games punctuate scoring moves with sampled pop refrains from the worst back lists; hip hop stars advertise acne creams: “I’m moisturizing my situation…” and do it on prime time. Role models yeah, I guess they gotta get paid… What then for creativity and listening, articulated in the market, killed at the store. Ready Mr Music please…

3 thoughts on “Hector Rottweiller

  1. John Hutnyk says:

    Rottweiler,Hektor (Adorno,Th.) Zeitschrift f.Sozialforschung,Jahrg.1/1936 (über JAzz),

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