Kitsch and homogenization have been two important techniques used in the reduction of the person to the mass man by the mass society of today.
Kitsch means that products of mass culture in which the aesthetic and intellectual work is done for the recipient, making him a passive recipient rather than an active discoverer. Homogenization is the steam-rollering of values to a fiat plane of sensationalism. Dwight Macdonald has an amusing yet significant study of the now defunct Life which clarifies what happens here. The same issue will contain a serious explanation of the dangers of atomic energy followed by a disquisition on Rita Hayworth’s love-life; an editorial on Bertrand Russell and photos of sleek models wearing adhesive brassieres; nine colour pages of Renoir paintings followed by a picture of a roller-skating horse. ‘Somehow these scramblings together seem to work all one way, degrading the serious. The final impression is that both Renoir and the horse were talented’.
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