Adorno: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture

Adorno: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture

Adorno: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture

Adorno: The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture

Synopsis

The Stars Down to Earth shows us a stunningly prescient Adorno. Haunted by the ugly side of American culture industries he used the different angles provided by each of these three essays to showcase the dangers inherent in modern obsessions with consumption. He engages with some of his most enduring themes in this seminal collection, focusing on the irrational in mass culture - from astrology to new age cults, from anti-semitism to the power of neo-fascist propaganda. He points out that the modern state and market forces serve the interest of capital in its basic form. Stephan Crook's introduction grounds Adorno's arguments firmly in the present where extreme religious and political organizations are commonplace - so commonplace in fact that often we deem them unworthy of our attention. Half a century ago Theodore Adorno not only recognised the dangers, but proclaimed them loudly. We did not listen then. Maybe it is not too late to listen now.

Excerpt

This volume brings together four texts written by Theodor Adorno between the late 1930s and the mid-1950s. The longest, "The Stars Down to Earth" is for the most part a content analysis of an astrology column in the Los Angeles Times which Adorno wrote in 1952-3 during a return visit to the United States from Germany. The shortest, "Theses Against Occultism," is on a related but more general theme and was written in 1947 as part of Minima Moralia. "Research Project on Anti-Semitism," a review of the dimensions and sources of modern anti-Semitism co-authored by Adorno, appeared in the journal of the Institute of Social Research in 1941. The title of the final piece, "Anti-Semitism and Fascist Propaganda," explains its topic clearly enough. Published in 1946, the paper draws extensively on a

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