To Readers Of My Writing Over, Under, Within And From Theodor Adorno’s Minima Moralia: Reflections From Damaged Life (the Expensive Reproduction letter)

The organization of art and society encompasses even those who feud against it, and normalizes their consciousness. Even artists and intellectuals who have all the political arguments against bourgeois ideology handy, are subjected to a process of standardization which, whether in crassly contrasting content or through the readiness on their part to be comfortable, brings them closer to the prevailing ethos. What appears to them as subjectively radical, objectively belongs through and through to the compartment of a schema, reserved for them and their kind, so that radicalism is degraded to abstract prestige and material comforts, the legitimation of those who know what today’s intellectuals and artists should be for and against. The good things, for which they opt, have long since been acknowledged, their numbers accordingly limited, as fixed in the value-hierarchy as those in a student fraternity or company boardroom.
While they denounce the unprofessional, derivative and rigor-less, their sensibility is dependent, like obedient children, on nourishment already sought out in advance, on the cliches of hostility to cliches. The dwellings of young bohemians resemble their spiritual household. Every judgment is approved by friends, they know all the arguments in advance. That all cultural products, even the non-conformist ones, are incorporated into the mechanism of distribution of large-scale capital, that in the most developed lands a creation which does not bear the imprimatur of mass influence can scarcely reach any scrollers. These Not Sent Letters will never be turned into a piece of inventory in such a rented apartment.
Professional artists and intellectuals are already so firmly established, in their isolated spheres, in what is confirmed, that they can no longer desire anything which is not served to them. Their sole ambition consists of finding their way into accepted elites, of saying the right thing. The outsider status of initiates is an illusion and mere waiting-time. It would be giving them too much credit to call them renegades; they wear overlarge horn-rimmed glasses on their mediocre faces, or else imitate the appearance of acculturated idealists circa 1971 solely to better pass themselves off as “brilliant” to themselves and to others in the general competition. They are already exactly like them because the entirety of the world has become an art school, a corporate complex, a chattel house. The subjective precondition of opposition, the non-normalized judgment, goes extinct, while its trappings continue to be carried out as group rituals posted on the internet.
Walk away now and live.
jeremy