The culture industry: Manufactured Emotions and DemocracyIn the past section, I demonstrated how emotions play a significant role in viewing political satire by presenting a basic outline of the theory of emotion. In addition, I presented how humor could assist in encouraging the democratic process by showing both sides of the extreme points of view in an argument, and encourage political knowledge acquisition. Despite the amount of evidence that support this position, a clear disconnect arises between viewing these shows and the intent of these shows to spark discussion. In the next two sections, I hope to highlighq this disconnect between political viewing and political action. In this section, I will show how Max Horkheimer and Theodore Adorno’s work on the culture industry can highlight corporate interest in maintaining a apathetic demos.
In the next section, I will point out that political humor, like opinionated news reporting is subject to the same levels of confirmation bias. Though, it is understandable to connect both the culture industry and pre-cognitive bias together in the same breath, I will treat them separately, even though, I will tie everything together at the end. The culture industry, as I have defined in previous work is, “Art or any of its components as a commodity or a path to commodification.” For example, on South Park Studeo’s official website, they have a shop that contains South Park memorabilia including t-shirts, bobbleheads, hand towels, etc. So South Park is a path to commodification. Likewise, South Park airs on Comedy Central, which is owned by Viacom, so South Park in and of itself is a commodity of Viacom.
This is why Viacom needs to market shows like South Park to a particular audience. . .per, because of potential corporate interests from elsewhere as well as a cathartic moment that it is difficult to take on the American status quo, political humor serves as, “A mere dose of comedy and then we moved on about our business.”” In tying everything together, the influence of the culture industry, the effect of corporatism on the demos, as well as interpreting individuals and statements to bolster our political identity can be linked together into a political system known as, “Inverted Totalitarianism.” In which the mechanism used to establish this theoretical system is known as systematic democracy or as Sheldon Wolin calls it, “Managed democracy.
” This mechanism ties the culture industry’s influence on the demos and explains how corporate capitalism can subdue and manage democracy and democratic actions by rerouting us to false freedom and choices.