Marcuse describes this as a process where addiction to media leads to absolute

Marcuse describes this as a process where addiction

This preview shows page 98 - 100 out of 183 pages.

Marcuse describes this as a process where addiction to media leads to absolute docility, and the public becomes "enchanted and transformed into a clientele by the suppliers of popular culture." Davis Reisman in Lonely Crowd claims that "Glamour in politics, the packaging of the leader, the treatment of events by the mass media, substitutes for the self-interest of the inner directed man the abandonment to society of the outer directed man." In other words, the creation of the public sphere implies a fundamental change in social relations and individuals' ability to model their self-image on some projected normality. Thus, according to the Frankfurt School, leisure has been industrialised. The production of culture had become standar- dised and dominated by the profit motive as in other industries. In a mass society leisure is constantly used to induce the appro- priate values and motives in the public. The modern media train the young for consumption. "Leisure had ceased to be the opposite of work, and had become a preparation for it." Marcuse points out the 'Bach in the kitchen' phenomenon: the fact that modern methods of reproduction have increased the quantity of music, art, and literature available to the public does not mean that culture spreads to the masses; rather that culture is destroyed in order to make entertainment. II At its worst mass
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90 : Concepts and Processes of Mass Communication culture threatens not merely to cretinise our taste", argues Rosen- berg, "but to bruta1ise our senses while paving the way to totalita- rianism". Lazarsfeld and Merton put the case succinctly: "Eco- nomic power seems to have reduced direct exploitation and to have turned to a subtler type of psychological exploitation" they wrote of the US in the 50s. Overt totalitarian force was increa- singly obsolescent. Radio, film and television seemed even more effective than terror in producing compliance. Marcuse notes a key part of this process is its sheer, relent- less omnipresence: "The preconditioning does not start with the mass production of radio or TV (at a given point in time). The people enter this stage as preconditioned receptacles of long stan- ding. In this more complex view the public do no abdicate rational consideration of their interest blindly. More subtly, the whole basis of rational calculation is undermined." Some argue that this is a highly pessimistic view of indivi- duals' cognitive and interpretative capaCities. Thompson thinks that individuals do not absorb information from the media passively. In his words: "Media messages are commonly discussed by individuals in the course of reception and subsequent to it ... (They) are transformed through an ongoing process of telling and retelling, interpretation and reinterpretation, commentary, laughter and criticism .... By taking hold of messages and routinely incorporating them into our lives .... we are cons- tantly shaping and reshaping our skills and stocks of knowledge, testing our feelings and tastes, and expanding the horizons of our experience." Unlike Baudrillard and others,
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