Men beweert dat Chaplin in Modern Times kritiek levert op onze samenleving en veel mensen zullen wel weer de indruk hebben dat hij ook voor deze tijd nog belangwekkende dingen zegt. Maar als je goed kijkt, heeft hij het over een even abstracte maatschappij, over een even abstracte en decoratieve techniek als Fritz Lang in Metropolis.
People claim that, in Modern Times, Chaplin is criticising our society, and many people will no doubt have the impression that he is saying interesting things even for our times. But if you look closely, he is talking about a society as abstract, about a technique as abstract and decorative as Fritz Lang in Metropolis.
Few theorists have been as critical of cinema as T.W. Adorno. Critical in this context implies all of the following: methodical, negative and subtle. … For [Adorno], cinema and popular or popularised music … were emblematic of how works of art had become commodified cultural products. A cultural “commodity” represents simultaneously the means of a confiscation, a mode of corruption, a simulacrum, and a sort of formal joke. … [C]inema, which arose out of techniques of recording and whose primary goal is reproduction organised into an industry, appears from the start as a powerful instrument of domination, propaganda and falsification. Adorno’s achievement consists in his having furnished us with instruments for understanding ideology as much as for defining the concept of art.