6
Mass Art and Ideology

Introduction

There is perhaps no aspect of mass art that concerns scholars in the humanities today more than its relation to ideology.1 Randomly perusing academic journals of film, literature, and so on, one finds article after article devoted to revealing the classist, racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or militarist tendencies in this or that product of mass art. And most books in what is called cultural studies, I would dare to guess, concern the ideological operation of mass art, regarding mass art as either complicit with the interests of the hegemonic forces of society, or, at least, as a site of ideological struggle. At this time, one has the feeling that the study of mass art in the humanities nowadays is almost virtually co-extensive with the study of ideology. Thus, it would be remiss in a treatise of this sort not to address the topic of the ideological criticism of mass art directly. Moreover, the topic of ideology also follows quite naturally from the preceding chapter, since ideology raises moral issues.2 Therefore, a discussion of ideology seems a fitting way in which to conclude the line of inquiry that we have been pursuing so far.

Undoubtedly the reason that contemporary critics in the humanities are

____________________
1
speak of 'scholars in the humanities' here because the researchers concerned with mass art in the social sciences appear less obsessed with the topic of ideology than their peers in arts and letters.
2
Perhaps some old-time marxists might deny this, since they believe that marxism has nothing to do with morality. I think that this is false, but I will not argue the case now, since I believe that most contemporary critics in the humanities will have little problem with my claiming that the disclosure of ideology is concerned with morality. They might prefer to use the term 'politics' where I say 'morality', but perhaps we can all agree on the formulation that the concerns are ethical-political, since they would appear to presume background notions of justice.

-360-

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A Philosophy of Mass Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Philosophical Resistance to Mass Art: The Majority Tradition 15
  • 2 - Philosophical Celebrations of Mass Art: The Minority Tradition 110
  • 3 - The Nature of Mass Art 172
  • 4 - Mass Art and the Emotions 245
  • 5 - Mass Art and Morality 291
  • 6 - Mass Art and Ideology 360
  • Envoi 413
  • Index 419
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