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Theodor Adorno
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Philosopher
    (September 11, 1903-August 6, 1969)
    Born in Frankfurt, Germany
    Born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund
    Associated with The Institute for Social Research, or the Frankfurt School
    Devised the five components of recognition to divide and explain the experience of recognition: vague remembrance, actual identification, subsumption by label, self-reflection and act of recognition, and psychological transfer of recognition-authority to the object
    Proposed that civilization has a tendency to self-destruction, such as the Enlightenment, which he theorized led to the rise of Fascism through rationalization of human society
    Distinguished between 'apologetic music', which is pop music and keeps people obedient to the status quo, and 'critical music', which is higher in quality and is more than the sum of its parts
    Live in exile in the United Kingdom (June 1934-February 16, 1938), and then the United States (February 16, 1938-October 1949)
    Writings include 'Dialectic of Enlightenment' (with Max Horkheimer, 1947), 'Philosophy of New Music' (1949), 'The Authoritarian Personality' (1950), 'Minima Moralia: Reflections from Damaged Life' (1951), 'Critical Models: Interventions and Catchwords' (1963), 'Negative Dialectics' (1966), 'Aesthetic Theory' (1970)
    Died of a heart attack in Zermatt, <4357>Switzerland<4357/>
    German readers sometimes have a hard time understanding his work.
    His German idiom makes his work very hard to translate to English.
    He criticized jazz and popular music as part of the culture industry, which he claimed supports capitalism by making it look appealing.
    He also criticized popular culture for making people complacent and deluding them into thinking every product is unique despite the identical theme around them.
    He was criticized for exploiting Auschwitz for a group experiment on his essays on fascism.
    His reputation as a musicologist has declined since his death, with musicians and fellow philosophers criticizing his work as 'overrated' and 'preposterous'.
    He could play pieces by Beethoven on the piano by the age of twelve.
    Because of his half-Jewish background, he fled from the discrimination imposed on Jews and the eventual danger of becoming a victim of the Holocaust.
    He criticized fascism and warned of its potential comeback after studying its influence on democratized Germans.
    Like his fellow German exiles in America, he faced numerous restrictions on his movement as an exile.
    He wrote various opera or musical concert reviews and critiques of music composition.
    Upon returning from exile, he helped shape the political and intellectual culture of West Germany.

Credit: Big Lenny


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