The sound film, far surpassing the theater of illusion, leaves no room for imagination or reflection on the part of the audience, who is unable to respond within the structure of the film, yet deviate from its precise detail without losing the thread of the story.… [Sound films] are so designed that quickness, powers of observation, and experience are undeniably needed to apprehend them at all; yet sustained thought is out of the question if the spectator is not to miss the relentless rush of facts.
— Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment, 126
It seems like a bit of a cheap shot to characterize Adorno and Horkheimer’s analysis of the culture industry as the complaints of old men bewildered by modern culture. But I think there’s something to that, not just in the culture industry theory, but in the Frankfurt school’s theory more generally. Read more↴