In Part II: The World In Turmoil (Reading #25), Max Horkheimer asserts the following: "What today is called popular entertainment is actually demands, evoked, manipulated and by implication deteriorated by the cultural industries. It has little to do with art, least of all where it pretends to be such" (p. 164).
I found this reading to be rather curious in its parallels to an article that was posted on Yahoo this weekend about the "underground" (slash everyone's favorite) Indie band, Bon Iver. (http://awards.music.yahoo.com/blog/158-indie-band-bon-iver-turns-down-offer-to-perform-at-the-grammys).
In it, frontman, Justin Vernon, basically states that he flipped the bird and gave a big "F you" to this year's Grammy producers when they wanted to pair the group with a more mainstream artist for a live performance during "music's biggest night." Similar to Horkheimer's critique of the movie industry's big machine, moneymaking tactics, Bon Iver was exposed to the politics of popular music and fitting in with the "common judgment" (p. 158) as to who is the best of the present.
While it's inevitable and great (biased fan) for the band become more recognizable with its continued success (they were even on SNL this weekend), it's nice to see a group of artists sticking to their roots as Horkheimer critiques. "Individuality, the true factor in artistic creation and judgment, consists not in idiosyncrasies and crotchets, but in the power to withstand the plastic surgery of the prevailing economic system which carves all men to one pattern" (p. 158).
The Yahoo article concludes with an interesting question, however, that rivals Horkheimer's criticism's of mass societal following. Does this "stick it to the man" mantra really do justice to a work of art, or does it merely foster the elitist/commoner environment of which we can't seem to escape?