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Adorno and the Weather

Adorno and the weather Critical theory in an era of climate change

Ackbar abbas

In Beckett’s Endgame – about which Adorno wrote an important essay – nature is in ruins (‘corpsed’, as Clov describes it), yet the weather is still important.* The pathetic story that Hamm tells (and he has to bribe Nagg to listen) about a man crawling to him on his belly to ask for help on one Christmas Eve is punctuated by incongruously precise weather reports.

The day was cold: ‘zero by the thermometer’; sunny, ‘fifty by the heliometer’; windy, ‘a hundred by the anemometer’; dry, ‘zero by the hydrometer’ – as if the only question we could ask come doomsday were:

How is the weather? [1] The weather may well be the last bastion of myth today, in so far as it is seen to be beyond our control, of concern to us all, and seemingly apolitical – hence a safe subject for dinner conversation. This view of the weather is clearly mythic, in that it serves to remind us of our impotence as individuals, and opens the way to a greater tolerance for state control and intervention, particularly when the state is allied with knowledge and know-how, with Hamm’s heliometers and hydrometers. One egregious example:

when important foreign dignitaries visit Beijing the Chinese authorities shoot rockets at the clouds to induce thunderstorms that will clean up the polluted atmosphere, to show that the state can control even the weather. However, such a means of control is doublesided. As has been pointed out many times, it is the indiscriminate use of science and technology in the industrial process by capitalist and socialist countries alike that started a series of events that has led to major changes in weather patterns, the most disastrous of which is the impending catastrophe of global warming facing us today.

What is currently happening to the weather can be taken as one example of the dialectic of Enlightenment, features of which include: reason reduced to instrumental reason; the overcoming of domination by nature becoming a domination of nature; hence, progress-asregress. Moving from nature to culture, Horkheimer and Adorno see the dialectic of progress-as-regress exemplified nowhere so clearly as in the appropriation of culture by the culture industry. In a later essay,

Adorno usefully points out that culture industry is not synonymous with ‘mass culture’ or ‘folk culture’, which emerges from below; rather, culture industry is administered from above, by the entertainment or educational industries. [2] It is manipulated culture whose overall goal is control and domination. Nietzsche had already presaged much of this in The Birth of Tragedy in the notion of Greek decadence not as decline, but as one-sided development.

These familiar arguments are bold, but also rather bald, giving us what might be called the dialectic of Enlightenment in its crude form. Its tenets can be made more precise – and also more paradoxical – only when Adorno reflects on the question of critique itself, questioning its effectiveness, durability and even its very possibility. This would mean, as I shall try to show, subjecting any critique, even dialectic of Enlightenment as critique, to further interrogation, instead of propagating it as truth. It is here that the weather is again a useful figure. It can serve not only as an instance of the dialectic of Enlightenment, but also as a challenge to critique. Let us return to the weather with this in mind and ask how the catastrophe of global warming has been critiqued.

So far, the most specific answers have come from the ecology movement in proposals such as less use of non-replenishable fossil fuels, organically grown foods, fair trade coffee, no use of animal experimentation, * This is the text of a talk to the workshop ‘Transdisciplinary Texts: Dialectic of Enlightenment and A Thousand Plateaus’, held at the French Institute, London, 22 –23 March 2012, organized by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University London, as part of the AHRC-funded project Transdisciplinarity and the Humanities, with additional support from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. and so on. The guidelines here are respect for the environment, for other human beings, for other species.

Admirable though these guidelines are, they are nevertheless not entirely unproblematic. For one thing, it could be argued that the ecology movement tends to take the moral high ground, which is both a strength and a weakness. Its critique of the catastrophe is a moral, and sometimes moralistic, critique. It tells us what we should do, and in this sense it is an external critique that stands outside the frame of what it is critiquing. This might lead to a second observation:

it is probably easier to take the moral high ground in affluent societies than in societies just emerging from poverty. The latter position is understandably more concerned with the immediate survival of oneself and one’s family than with the long-term survival of the planet, however shortsighted or indefensible this stance may be. This does not mean, however, that the poor care less about morality than the rich. What it means is that the priorities and temporalities of poor and rich are very different, even if we agree that the fate of the planet concerns us all.

The arguments of the ecology movement are, of course, much more complex and cogent than I seem to be suggesting; but then, so are Adorno’s on culture and critique. An equivalent to a moralistic ecological critique might be the argument of high art as a form of resistance to the domination of the culture industry because it stands outside its frame. This is a position sometimes attributed to Adorno, but it is a simplification. One of the chief legacies of Adorno, more relevant today than ever before, is that there is no outside; ‘outside of here is death’, as Endgame reminds us. Or, as Horkheimer and Adorno put it,

Since Odysseus’ successful–unsuccessful encounter with the Sirens all songs have been affected, and Western music as a whole suffers from the contradiction of song in civilization – song which nevertheless proclaims the emotional power of all art music. [3]

Hence, in Adorno’s critique, there is no search for a ‘third space’, or ‘alternative modernities’ or a special postcolonial subjectivity. These may be important counter-arguments against capitalism, but they are nevertheless arguments that do not address the main problem facing us today, namely ‘the total interconnectedness of the culture industry, omitting nothing. … Which is why it makes such light work of counter-arguments.’ [4] In this respect and not forgetting the important differences between them, Adorno can, perhaps surprisingly, be compared to Guy Debord: not the Debord of 1967 who saw the spectacle as ‘capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image’, and who believed that techniques like détournement, the dérive and the creation of situations were workable strategies for resisting the spectacle and escaping its control; but the Debord of 1988, theorist of the mutation of the spectacle into something much more sinister and elusive, the integrated spectacle – ‘When the spectacle was concentrated, the greater part of surrounding society escaped it; when diffuse, a small part; today, no part.’ [5] In the integrated spectacle, even critique itself can be appropriated as part of the spectacle: The empty debate on the spectacle – that is, on the activities of the world’s owners – is thus organized by the spectacle itself: everything is said about the extensive means at its disposal, to ensure that nothing is said about their extensive deployment. [6]

What the debate on the spectacle and the debate on ecology and culture challenge critique to do is to reflect on its own contradictions and incoherencies.

In Adorno, however, these negative attributes – which make the critic more an apostate than an apostle – become the starting points for rethinking the practice of critique. Responding to the problem of integration or ‘total interconnectedness’, critique in Adorno takes on two major characteristics: it operates under the sign of the impossible, on one hand, and under the sign of the false, on the other.

The impossible

If Adorno were prone to slogans and movements (of course he was not), he might have chosen a slogan from the Paris revolt of May ‘68: ‘Be reasonable.

Demand the impossible.’ The task Adorno had set himself, as he noted in Negative Dialectics, was the impossible one of using subjectivity, however damaged, against the illusions of subjectivity; or, in his words, ‘to use the strength of the subject to break through the fallacy of constitutive subjectivities’. [7] In aphorism after aphorism, we see that the objects of thought in Adorno are impossible objects, not unlike Escher’s graphic works: ‘Kafka: the solipsist without ipseity’; ‘it is part of morality not to be at home in one’s home’; ‘Wrong life cannot be lived rightly’; ‘Every work of art is an uncommitted crime’. [8] Unlike Benjamin’s,

Adorno’s thought strives to be that impossible thing, a thought without image. This is one reason for his hostility to photography and cinema. When Adorno says of Benjamin that ‘the rebus is the model of his philosophy’ or that ‘the glance of his philosophy is Medusan’, [9] he is paying his friend a left-handed compliment, not endorsing a method that is not his own. For himself, Adorno insists that ‘the innermost striving [of art is] towards an image of beauty free of appearance.’ [10] What gradually emerges under the sign of the impossible is not so much a method of critique as a critical ethics. An ethics is not what should be, or a clear-cut opposition between what is and what should be. An ethics is what has to be, especially if what has to be seems impossible under present conditions. Here we detect an echo of Kierkegaard that was the subject of Adorno’s first book (however critical Adorno may have been about his subject) and the notion of ethics as a ‘teleological suspension of the ethical’ set out in Fear and Trembling. With Kierkegaard in mind, we might note that ethics is the polar opposite of piety: specifically, piety in the sense of a fidelity to ready-made arguments and positions, however radical these positions may be. And nothing is as pious as radical pieties, all those hard-won truths learnt from Nietzsche, Marx and Freud, or from Saussure and Derrida. Yet no amount of postcolonial theory could have helped us understand Hong Kong in the lead-up to 1997, and no ‘critique’ of capitalism or socialism can help us understand China today. Pieties therefore are a kind of softening of the brain, a species of mad cow disease in the field of critical theory. Critique as an ethics of the impossible is a prophylactic against piety and the ‘jargon of authenticity’. It is also a prophylactic against hope as the carrot that is dangled in front of our eyes to persuade us that all might just possibly turn out well. Adorno quotes Kafka’s reply when asked by an earnest friend whether there was hope. ‘Yes, plenty of hope’, Kafka answered, ‘but not for us.’ It is not surprising, therefore, that Adorno should sooner or later gravitate towards Samuel Beckett’s texts. His essay ‘Trying to understand Endgame’ is less a critique of the play than an attempt to work together with it to understand critique and its salutary impossibilities. Beckett’s plays are inventive not in creating rich new meanings but in short-circuiting or killing them: an impossible task destined to fail, as meanings whether intended or not multiply like fleas. Hamm’s frantic attempt to kill the flea on Clov, because otherwise ‘humanity might start from there all over again’, 11 is an allusion to a demanding textual practice which takes the form of slapstick comedy; showing once again that nothing in Beckett is more serious than the joke. What Beckett marks is the decreative moment in modern art; his plays, like Adorno’s thought, are impossible objects. Hence any attempt to turn ‘meaninglessness’ into a theme, or to ally Beckett with philosophies like existentialism, Adorno observes, misses the point. Perhaps the quickest way to understand Adorno’s understanding of Beckett is to look at an example. In a letter to his American producer Alan Schneider on Endgame, Beckett famously wrote: ‘My work is a matter of fundamental sounds (no joke intended), made as fully as possible.’ [12] In spite of the words in parenthesis, which should serve as a warning sign, it is amazing how often this statement is misread. ‘Fundamental’ means ostensibly what is basic and foundational, so ‘fundamental sounds’ would point to an eschatology of ultimate sounds with Heideggerian overtones. But the joke, intended or not, is that ‘fundamental’ also refers in its etymology to the fundament or buttocks, so that ‘fundamental sounds’ means, literally, farting. In Beckett’s pun, eschatology and scatology are strange bedfellows joined at the hip by etymology. Significations negate each other, and the power of the text comes from this act of cancelling out. Beckett’s pun also gives, we might add, a whole new inflection to the term ‘fundamentalism’, another instance of meanings multiplying like fleas. The point here is that a Beckett text has to be read careful y before we can see how meaningless it is: otherwise existentialism ‘might start from there all over again’.

Beckett’s decreations are clearly the product of great erudition – Joyce once spoke of what he called Beckett’s ‘true scholastic stink’. However, it is erudition turned against itself: the learned pun is used against the pundit. In this regard, it is perhaps not so much wrong as misleading to speak of Beckett’s textual style as sparse or minimalist, because there is nothing ‘minimalist’ about the immense amount of textual labour involved, even though it is a labour of cancellation. Compared to Beckett’s, Adorno’s erudition is more obviously on display. Nevertheless, there is a definite affinity between the two, apparent in the fact that Adorno flirts with pedantry but never succumbs to it. What is striking about Adorno’s texts, besides the density of the argumentation, are those lapidary aphorisms that leap off the page. Each aphorism is a kind of thought-object that turns thought against itself, just as Beckett’s sentences turn language with its etymologies against itself. Each aphorism is the result not of an epiphany, a sudden understanding of the whole picture, but the result of a negative epiphany, an understanding about the impossibility of total understanding as well as about the incompleteness of the complete, as in the anti-Hegelian dictum ‘The whole is the false’. [13]

An aphorism like ‘All objectification [i.e. reification] is a forgetting’ [14] is a reminder not to forget either the impossibility of critique (in so far as any critique is in danger of reification) or its necessity. What I called Adorno’s critical ethics is this combination of impossibility and necessity. The co-author of Dialectic of Enlightenment never gave up on the necessity of knowledge and erudition; instead, he pursued them under the sign of the false.

The false

The second sign that critique in Adorno operates under is the sign of the false. The problem of the false for critique can be stated as follows: it is not just the lie that lies, it is the truth that lies. Perhaps the classic example of this point is the Jewish joke where one man says to another: ‘Why do you tell me you are going to Cracow, so that I would think you are going to Lindbergh, when in fact you are going to Cracow?

Why do you lie to me?’ Interestingly enough, Freud included this joke in his Jokes and their Relation to the Unconscious, but dropped it from consideration because he feared it would destroy the distinction between true and false, which, for Freud, is the foundation on which judgements are made. Macbeth, in Shakespeare’s play, is also deceived by the witches who ‘lie like truth’, who keep the word of promise to our ears, but break it to our hope. [15] It is along similar lines that Horkheimer and Adorno speak of deception ‘as a mode of exchange in which everything proceeds as it should, where the contract is fulfilled and yet the other party is deceived’; just as Ulysses’ escape from the sirens can be compared to finding ‘an escape clause in a contract, which enables him to fulfill it while eluding it’. [16] What I am suggesting is that running alongside the dialectic of Enlightenment is a dialectic of deception, which requires a radical rethinking of knowledge and epistemology.

For Adorno, epistemology, which concerns how we know, cannot just aim to rid deception and selfdeception from thought and so allow us to arrive at the truth. What Adorno in Minima Moralia calls ‘damaged life’ stems directly from the imbrication of truth and deception, the ungenuineness of the genuine, the inauthenticity of the authentic, the fact that wrong life cannot be lived rightly. This implies that it is not the lie that is resistant to critique, it is the truth; that is to say, it is the truth as all that we hold to be self-evident that blindsights us. It is important not to confuse the negative in Adorno with Hegel’s, as he makes clear in the Dedication to Minima Moralia. It is not just a question, as it is in Hegel, of ‘looking the negative in the face’ in order to overcome or sublate it, and to turn the negative into the positive. [17] Nor is it a question of looking to what Kracauer called ‘the mass ornament’ to produce a liberatory effect. ‘How nice it would be’, Adorno concludes in his essay ‘Transparencies on Film’, ‘if, under the present circumstances, one could claim that the less films appear to be works of art, the more they would be just that.’ Unfortunately, as Adorno notes in a sardonic final sentence, ‘in integrated culture, one cannot even depend on the dregs.’ [18] What Adorno is pointing to in such remarks is that ‘the truth as lie’ does not lead straight to ‘the lie as truth’. To draw on what Gilles Deleuze calls ‘the powers of the false’, [19] for critique, becomes for Adorno not a question of Hegel’s negativity or Kracauer’s mass ornament, but a question of asking what an epistemology of deception might be; a question that Adorno keeps returning to in subsequent work, most notably in his last book, Aesthetic Theory.

Of particular interest in this regard is an early section of Aesthetic Theory where Adorno discusses the ugly and the beautiful not as opposites but as related. The relation of ugly and beautiful provides some analogies to the imbrication of false and true. In an essay entitled ‘What National Socialism has done to the Arts’, he rejects out of hand the argument that since the world has become so ugly and terrifying, ‘art should no longer dwell upon distorted forms, discords and everything branded as being destructive, but should return to the realm of beauty and harmony.

The world of destruction, terror and sadism is the world of Hitler. And art should show its opposition to it by going back to its traditional ideals.’ [20] Such an argument he calls infantile.

Adorno’s own reasoning, set out in Aesthetic Theory, is very different. It runs roughly as follows. To begin with, the ugly is ‘historically older’ than the beautiful.

In ancient myth, the ugly was a way of representing the horror of the world; it was an expression of our unfreedom and lack of autonomy; an indication of the spell that evil had cast on us – ‘Archaic ugliness, the cannibalistically threatening cult masks and grimaces, was the substantive imitation of fear.’ Then, in a second moment, this mythical content of fear was sublimated in imagination and form; that is to say, in beauty. That is why Adorno says ‘beauty is not the platonically pure beginning but rather something that originated in the renunciation of what once was feared.’ This brings us to a third key point: if the ugly casts a spell on fear, by imitating it, then beauty, by sublimating the ugly, is ‘the spell over that spell’. This means, though, that beauty always has one foot still in fear – hence its ambivalence: turned towards imagination and form on one side, and towards fear and imitation on the other.

The ugly, connoting everything that is threatening and unmastered, is always there on the other side of beauty; and ‘this other – the antithesis to beauty, whose antithesis beauty was – gnaws away correctively on the affirmativeness of spiritualizing art.’ [21] This corrective gnawing away, this trace of ugliness and fear in beauty, is one powerful instance in the field of aesthetics of a dialectic of deception. Without it, there will only be beauty without ugliness; but when that happens, art becomes kitsch. Kitsch should not be confused with vulgarity or lack of sophistication: that is just a kitschy way of thinking about kitsch. Kitsch can show itself in the most exquisite refinement. It shows itself whenever nothing is at stake in an artwork.

Milan Kundera gave one of the most cogent definitions of kitsch when he calls it ‘the forgetting of shit’; and William Blake was thinking along the same lines when he made the figure of Urizen – another avatar of instrumental reason – wish for ‘a joy without pain’.

This is why Adorno insists on the imperative for art today to negate itself as art, and for beauty to be more than just beautiful. Or, as Ezra Pound put it in a great line from his poem Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, ‘Better mendacities than the classics in paraphrase.’ Adorno’s gloss on Pound’s line might be: ‘Rather no art than socialist realism.’ [22] In Adorno we find, then, not so much a critique of the impossible and the false, but critique itself as what an impossible or false situation elicits. What is valuable about Adorno’s thought is not so much the historically specific things he said (about the culture industry for example, which had its own blind spots) but a model of critique that mobilizes the negative to analyse new and unprecedented historical situations that challenge thought. Such a model of critique allows us to put the focus on the puzzling forms of the impossible and the false that are emerging, and to use these puzzling forms to interrogate the social and cultural changes taking place; changes that more pious thinking, however ‘radical’, might miss.

This would be critical theory in an era of climate change. Let me explore Adorno’s notion of critique by turning to two sites where the impossible and the false are very much in evidence: contemporary China and Beirut.

Sites: china and beirut

‘In psychoanalysis’, Adorno wrote, ‘nothing is true except the exaggerations.’ [23] This aphorism is even more apt for China today. Even China’s description of itself – as a ‘Socialist Market Economy’ – is a catachresis. What is the Socialist Market Economy?

Are we dealing with another phase of socialism? Or, as is often said in the West, is China today capitalist in everything else but name alone? Or, more paradoxically, are we dealing with neither the life nor the death of socialism, but with its afterlife? With a posthumous socialism, more than a post-socialism, whose emblem might be Mao’s embalmed body lying in state in Beijing, like a preserved building? Socialism in posthumous form can have a vitality stronger than ever before. A spectre is haunting China today, we might say, and it is the spectre of socialism.

And in its wake, we find an impossible social space so contradictory and dense that, like a black hole, it cannot be observed directly, only deduced from the effects it produces; effects that we call art, cinema and music, or economics and politics.

For example, we see on the one hand a great deal of creative vitality in the arts, which is even actively encouraged by the state. On the other hand, however, we see the palpable presence of censorship, which can be both crude and irrational. What is disturbing and confusing, therefore, in China today, is not so much lack of freedom: there is in fact ostensibly much more freedom now than during the pre-Tiananmen era.

What is disturbing is this constant oscillation, this constant going back and forth, between permissiveness and prohibition, free agency and control, at all levels of social and cultural life. No wonder that waves of nostalgia for the Cultural Revolution sometimes seize the country: at least we knew where we were during the Cultural Revolution – in hell; but hell can be preferable to the air-conditioned nightmare of a globalizing China.

It is in this climate that the case of Ai Weiwei, recently put under house arrest by the authorities, can be understood. Ai Weiwei is among Chinese artists the one most outspokenly critical of the state and its abuse or neglect of human rights. He has also been called an entrepreneur and self-promoter, and he is certainly one of the richest artists in China.

The official reason for his recent house arrest is tax evasion. His position is a curious one. He is by turns beaten up or arrested by the authorities, and tolerated or even deferred to: when the police arrest him, they apologize. At times, his work is banned in China; at other times, he is the country’s unofficial artistic emissary on the international stage. The state plays a game with Ai Weiwei, and he plays a game with the state: the high-stakes game of control and defiance. However, the figure he cuts is not just that of a defender of human rights, but the more anomalous figure of someone who can live off toxic waste, like those organisms that microbiologists have recently discovered that thrive under toxic conditions. Ai Weiwei’s gamesmanship consists in making censorship itself, so toxic and negative for art production, not just something to overcome but something positively enabling. If he left China, which he can easily do, his source of creativity would probably dry up. Let me discuss one example of Ai Weiwei’s work, his design of a shopping bag for Muji, a recent minor but nevertheless representative work.

At first sight the design seems to show nothing more than a cutesy image of a fleecy animal; until we realize that the vernacular term for this animal ‘grass mud horse’ (caonima) is a close homophone for ‘fuck your mother’ (cào nĭ mā), where the accents fall differently. The image, which seems like a juvenile joke, is a way of swearing at the government while bypassing censorship; which suggests that the ‘grass mud horse’ is also a Trojan Horse designed to slip an expletive past the authorities.

The second site I want briefly to discuss is Beirut.

Last year, a group of us from the University of California visited Beirut to set up a workshop there for August 2012, one of a series of annual workshops on Experimental Critical Theory run by the University of California’s Humanities Research Institute. We were there for just over a week, so we were basically tourists, though tourists with some important connections that allowed us access to sites that would otherwise have been closed to us. The much-maligned ‘tourist gaze’ is not entirely without merit – unless you are the kind of tourist who says ‘I don’t want to be just a tourist.’ Provided with a military escort, our group was able to visit the border area between Israel and Lebanon. We were shown the Museum of War run by the Hezbollah, where the exhibits were captured enemy weapons. But what was much more surprising and harder to grasp were two other sites on the Israel–Lebanon border. In the first, a Lebanese businessman who made his money in Sierra Leone decided to build, of all things, a grandiose holiday resort in what is very much a militarized zone patrolled by three armies:

Israeli, Lebanese and UNIFIL.

The architecture is rather fantastic, a version of some kind of African mud architecture transplanted to Lebanon. There is a big swimming pool, a cable car is being planned, and there is a picnic spot for families in an area by the river, a mere 20 yards away from Israeli guards with sub-machine guns and patrol cars.

How to grasp such a space? Perhaps the adjectives that come most readily to mind are bizarre, grotesque, mad.

However, it is not the site that is bizarre; rather, it is the space it occupies that is warped, a space that produces monstrous-looking anamorphic images. What we need, therefore, is a study of space, a spatial history, rather than a teratology, a study of monstrosities.

This point about warping and anamorphosis can be developed a little further if we turn now to the second surprising site, the village of El-Ghajar at the foot of the Golan Heights and only a couple of kilometres away from the resort hotel. El-Ghajar is situated at multiple crossroads, bordering as it does Lebanon, Syria, Palestine’s West Bank and Israel. It is subject, therefore, to multiple militias, jurisdictions and sovereignties. The village is surrounded by barbed wire and UNIFIL troops. Syrian migrant workers pass through the village every day to do manual work in north Israel. Furthermore, because it is at a crossroads, the village is also the gateway for the drug trade from Lebanon to Israel, and hence relatively well off.

What is really incredible, though, is how the UN, in a gesture of neutrality, drew the borderline between Israel and Lebanon right through the middle of the village. I will leave you to imagine the problems that ensued. My point is this: in a space where every square inch is contested, there can be no neutrality, no ‘objective’ position. In such a space, it is the UN gesture of neutrality, however well-intentioned, that is monstrous and a cause of spatial violence. It is like trying to force an anamorphic space to fit into a regular flat grid.

Coda: on disappointment

China and Beirut provide us with more than just a set of facts. As William Burroughs so cogently said, paranoia is knowing the facts; that is to say, the need to know can be a form of paranoia. What is so suggestive for critical theory of sites like China and Beirut is that they raise the possibility of another framework: the possibility that knowledge and deception do not form a simple opposition, that deception can be a form of knowing, that there can be an epistemology of deception, besides an epistemology of truth. An epistemology of deception is possible if we do not understand deception in too literal-minded a way. In French, deception translates as disappointment. China and Beirut, I have tried to suggest, provide a course of historical lessons on deception and disappointment; think of the latter term as hyphenated – dis-appointment – in the sense that things are not in their appointed places.

Understood in this way, disappointment is not the same as giving in to despair or political apathy, rather their opposite, just as Adorno’s ‘melancholy science’ is not a mode of political disengagement. The hard and elusive lesson of Adorno for today, more urgent now than ever before, is that a politics of disappointment is the necessary complement to a politics of hope.


1. ^ Samuel Beckett, Endgame, Faber & Faber, London, 1958, pp. 35–7.

2. ^ ‘Culture Industry Reconsidered’, in Theodor W. Adorno, The Culture Industry, Routledge, London and New York, 1991, pp. 98–9.

3. ^ Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, trans. John Cumming, Continuum, New York, 1994, pp. 59–60.

4. ^ Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia, trans E.F.N. Jephcott, New Left Books, London, 1974, p. 206.

5. ^ Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, trans. Malcolm Imrie, Verso, London and New York, 1990, p. 9.

6. ^ Ibid., 6.

7. ^ Theodor Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E.B.

Ashton, Seabury Press, New York, 1979, Preface, p. xx.

8. ^ Adorno, Minima Moralia, pp. 223, 39, 39, 111.

9. ^ Theodor Adorno, Prisms, trans. Samuel and Shierry Weber, Neville Spearman, London, 1967, pp. 230, 233.

10. ^ Adorno, Minima Moralia, p. 75.

11. ^ Beckett, Endgame, p. 27.

12. ^ Letter to Alan Schneider, 20 April 1957.

13. ^ Adorno, Minima Moralia, p. 50.

14. ^ Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, p. 230.

15. ^ William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene

8. ^

16. ^ Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, pp. 60–61, 59.

17. ^ Adorno, Minima Moralia, p. 16.

18. ^ Adorno, The Culture Industry, p. 186.

19. ^ In Negotiations (trans. Martin Joughlin, Columbia University Press, New York, 1995), Deleuze writes: ‘you get falsity when the distinction between real and unreal becomes indiscernible. But then, where there’s falsity, truth itself becomes undecidable. Falsity isn’t a mistake or confusion, but a power that makes truth undecidable’ (pp. 65–6).

20. ^ ‘What National Socialism Has Done to the Arts’, in Theodor Adorno, Essays on Music, trans. Susan H.

Gillespie, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 2002, p. 381.

21. ^ Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert HullotKentor, University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis, p. 47.

22. ^ Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, p. 53.

23. ^ Adorno, Minima Moralia, p. 49.

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