Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
January 18, 2007
slave to the rhythm

No one at all sensitive to rhythm, for example, will doubt that the new pervasive, almost ceaseless, mutter or roar of modern transport, replacing the rhythm of the footstep or the horses' hoofs, is capable of interfering in many ways with our reading of verse.

[footnote: Mr. T.S. Eliot, than whom there could be no more qualified observer, has suggested that the internal combustion engine may already have altered our perception of rhythm.]
Thus it is no matter for surprise if we find ourselves often unable to respond in any relevant and coherent fashion.
from I.A. Richards' Practical Criticism (1929)

The cult of the machine which is represented by unabating jazz beats involves a self-renunciation that cannot but take root in the form of a fluctuating uneasiness somewhere in the personality of the obedient. For the machine is an end in itself only under given social conditions, -- where men are appendages of the machines on which they work.

The adaptation to machine music necessarily implies a renunciation of one's own human feelings and at the same time a fetishism of the machine such that its instrumental character becomes obscured thereby.
from Adorno's essay, "On Popular Music" (1941)