Within your breakout room, describe your interpretation of the quote from Adorno and Horkheimer’s essay. Assign someone in your room to discuss the interpretation when we rejoin the full class session.

Room 1

The step from telephone to radio has clearly distinguished the roles. The former still allowed the subscriber to play the role of subject, and was liberal. The latter is democratic: it turns all participants into listeners and authoritatively subjects them to broadcast programs which are all exactly the same. No machinery of rejoinder has been devised, and private broadcasters are denied any freedom (14).

Room 2

In a film, the outcome can be invariably predicted at the start—who will be rewarded, punished, forgotten—and in light music the prepared ear can always guess the continuation after the first bars of a hit song and is gratified when it actually occurs (15).

Room 3

The familiar experience of the moviegoer who perceives the street as a continuation of the film he has just left, because the film seeks to reproduce the world of everyday perception has become the guideline of production…Since the abrupt introduction of the sound film, mechanical duplication has been entirely subservient to this objective (16).

Room 4

Unending sameness also governs the relationship to the past… The machine is rotating on the spot. While it already determines consumption, it rejects anything untried as a risk. In film, any manuscript which is not reassuringly based on a best-seller is viewed with mistrust (17).

Room 5

To the extent that cartoons do more than accustom the senses to the new tempo, they hammer into every brain the old lesson that continuous attrition [friction], the breaking down of all individual resistance, is the condition of life in this society. Donald Duck in the cartoons and the unfortunate victims in real life receive their beatings so that the spectators can accustom themselves to theirs (19).

Room 6

In fascism radio becomes the universal mouthpiece of the Führer, in the loudspeakers on the street his voice merges with the howl of sirens proclaiming panic, from which modern propaganda is hard to distinguish in any case. The National Socialists knew that broadcasting gave their cause stature as the printing press did to the Reformation. The Führer’s metaphysical charisma, invented by the sociology of religion, turned out finally to be merely the omnipresence of his radio address (26).