The "younger generation"--the concept itself is merely an ideological catch-all--seems to be in conflict with its elders and their plush culture precisely through the new way of listening. In America, it is just the so-called liberals and progressives whom one finds among the advocates of light popular music, most of whom want to classify their activity as democratic. But if regressive hearing is progressive as opposed to the "individualistic" sort, it is only in the dialectical sense that it is better fitted to the advancing brutality than the latter. All possible mold has been rubbed off the baseness, and it is legitimate to criticize the esthetic residue of an individuality that was long since wrested from individuals. But this criticism comes with little force from the sphere of popular music, since it is just this sphere that mummifies the vulgarized and decaying remnants of romantic individualism. Its innovations are inseparably coupled with these remnants...
Machochism in hearing is not only defined by self-surrender and pseudo-pleasure through identification with power. Underlying it is the knowledge that the security of shelter under the ruling conditions is a provisional one, that it is only a respite, and that eventually everything must collapse. Even in self-surrender one is not good in his own eyes; in his enjoyment one feels that he is simultaneously betraying the possible and being betrayed by the existent. Regressive listening is always ready to degenerate into rage. If one knows that he is basically marking time, the rage is directed primarily against everything which could disavow the modernity of being with-it and up-to-date and reveal how little has in fact changed.
Adorno, Fetish Character in Music and Regression of Listening.
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Let's pause and given some attention to this phrase
This got me thinking of the corporate reality. Multi-nationals. The big guys. Big media, big pharm, big oil, big finance, big arms, big diamonds...that kind of thing.
Despite the fact that, oh, 99% of the population is on the shit side of the larger, multinational exploitation stick, there is a huge, gyrating segment of the population who see themselves, one day, on the non-shit-end of that stick.
Good luck with that.
That obviously unfulfilled hope has given rise to its own aesthetic. Equal parts despair and Stockholm syndrome. One day, it might have it's own DSM listing. Perhaps not until the DSM-V.
In the mean time, the corporate aesthetic:
Corporate clothes--mummified, vulgar, decaying remnants of fashion.
Corporate food--mummified, vulgar decaying remnants of cuisine.
Corporate golf events--mummified, vulgar decaying remnants of a good walk spoiled.
Corporate credit card--mummified, vulgar decaying remnants of capitalism.
Corporate report card--mummified, vulgar decaying remnants of feedback from master craftsmen.
Corporate Christmas Party--mummified, vulgar decaying remnants of the birth of Jesus Christ.
and so on.
This hopeful, corporate aesthetic informs (or is it informed by?) the corporate way of life. In that instance:
The Corporatists = the vulgar, decaying remains of mummified romantic individuals.
How exactly does one become a Corporatist? What is the incorporation processes?
- Kill the inner romantic individual
- Mummify the inner romantic individual it in such a way that only the vulgar remains
- Let the vulgar remains of the mummified inner romantic decay
- Stuff the remnants of decayed vulgarity into appropriate casing or file extension (embroidered polyester shirt, track suit, Brooks Brothers suit, .mp3 etc.)
Now that you have completed steps 1 through 4, please answer this questionnaire:
- Are you feeling pseudo-pleasure through your identification with power?
- Have you killed your inner romantic, mummified it, kept only the most vulgar aspects, let that decay, and stuffed those remnants in an embroidered polyester shirt in exchange for security of shelter under the ruling system?
- Do you have a nagging suspicion that for all the killing, mummification, and celebration of the vulgar, this "security of shelter under the ruling system" is merely a provisional one--a temporarily provisional one, no less?
- Do you feel like you are betraying the possible and being betrayed by the existent?
- Is rage far away or simmering under the surface? How about depression?
- Are you marking time?
- Do you like being reminded that the self surrender was optional, as was the murder of the inner romantic, which you then mummified, saving only the most vulgar aspects, only to let that decay?
- Do you love the pop songs of the day?
- Do you love the new coffee drinks at McDonalds?