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The Stars Down to Earth and Other Essays on the Irrational in Culture (Routledge Classics)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  109 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The essays collected here offer an analysis of the irrational dimensions of modern culture which is both timely and disturbing in the 1990s. Adorno's ideas are relevant to the understanding of phenomena as apparently diverse as astrology and "New Age" cults, the power of neo-fascist propaganda and the re-emergence of anti-Semitism, and the psychological basis of popular cu ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published December 21st 1994 by Routledge (first published 1975)
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Or: Everything is Fascism and It All Hurts

Theodor Adorno was not a happy man. The most recognized fragments from his corpus of work include influential essays on the origins and nature of fascism and The Culture Industry. The former burned away his homeland, and when he fled to America he could see only the latter.

This collection of essays deals with these two threads of cultural criticism. The title essay is the meat of the book at 125 pages, with the next longest at 37. The Stars Down to Eart
I didn't finish this book, I just couldn't do it anymore. But nonetheless it deserves a "review" or a few brief reflections so other people can avoid it. I hadn't ever read anything by Adorno before, only hearing him talked about and quoted by others. Why exactly people read him over others makes little sense to me. Somehow he has a reputation for being important, and his name evokes a kind of status to me, seemingly essential for the identity of one who reads theory. I find myself increasingly ...more
ideology for dependence:

this is adorno's critique of ideology via an analysis of astrology columns in US newspapers, mainly Los Angeles Times. here, adorno studies the columns as mediators of a society that seeks recognition, mediation, and organization through zodiac signs. zodiac signs propagate a dichotomous life style where worktime, playtime and familytime are set apart from each other, which brings forth a temporal control of the individual. it is not only temporal control, but also provis
Three essays on irrational thought in modern culture, in the context of astrology, occultism, and anti-Semitism. Adorno's thesis is essentially that our modern capitalist/consumerist society creates weak, dependent personality types that are easily seduced by irrational worldviews that seem to provide easy, all-encompassing answers to life's problems. He warns us that fascist states such as Nazi Germany should not be considered an aberration in the modern age, a throw-back to barbarous pre-enlig ...more
Grumpy ol' Adorno is banished to Southern Cal and writes about astrology columns.

Also some articles on antisemitism which presage Dialectic of Enlightenment.
Who would have thought of comparing astrology and capitalism to authoritarian irrationalism, paranoia and fascist propaganda?
Although, he sometimes misses the fact that there are inadvertently people not completely suckered in to the dream of help from an overarching power-source, yet because of their place within the masses, are part of what the mass just happens to be doing at that point in time. I suppose in most cases in the West the source of spiritual/philosophical comfort comes from eith
For anyone who reads horoscopes, this is a brilliant Freudo-Marxist reading of the forces at work whenever we look to the newspaper for a hint at our future successes. While this is obviously a flawed work, there are some brilliant insights into the authority-audience relationship, the kinds of people who read the columns and how the whole thing works, going beyond the usual (but accurate) research into Barnum statements.

This volume also includes some excellent short essays on anti-Semitism and
Ben Hunt
I got at this book from a the Mike Davis book "City of Quartz", where he talks about these European critical intellectuals, who, during the rise of antisemitism, were given safe haven by the Hollywood studio system. Classical composers writing horror movie soundtracks, Schopenhauer being angry because Shirley Temple was on the Map to the Stars tour and he wasn't, etc. Funny stuff, but this book was an incredible crossover of the two forms of culture: Adorno basically argues that the "horoscope s ...more
Despite some massive holes in his method (which Bruce Lincoln says comes from Adorno's inborn arrogance, not his lack of realization, and I think he's right), Adorno is fascinating here. This is the first of his work I've read and, from what I hear, easily the most accessible and readable. Adorno uses newspaper horoscope columns to determine a wealth of things about the society that reads them (in this case, people in LA and, to some degree, the US as a whole). What we are essentially to know is ...more
I would love to say that this study is no longer relevant, but I can't. Adorno is caustic and unsparing but never elitist; a sterling instantiation of immanent critique.
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
An interesting and hard to read set of essays about certain aspects of American culture. It makes my head hurt. I really enjoyed Adorno's critique of astrology and his look at fascist propaganda. Scary.
Jul 10, 2009 Joe rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: theory
Occult, irrational, astrology, antisemitism, fascism, and how these artifacts are still prevalent in our society.
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Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno was one of the most important philosophers and social critics in Germany after World War II. Although less well known among anglophone philosophers than his contemporary Hans-Georg Gadamer, Adorno had even greater influence on scholars and intellectuals in postwar Germany. In the 1960s he was the most prominent challenger to both Sir Karl Popper's philosophy of science a ...more
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